Cats with joint conditions need to be handled gently to minimise pain and discomfort, this can be especially difficult if they are not comfortable using a cat carrier. For International Cat Day (ICD) 2021, leading cat charity International Cat Care (iCatCare) chose the theme of ‘#BeCatCurious Training for Cats and their Humans’ to encourage cat owners to train their cats to voluntarily enter a carrier and limit the stress of veterinary visits.
Nathalie Dowgray, Head of ISFM, commented: “Regular visits to the vet are important for maintaining a cat’s physical health but getting them into a cat carrier isn’t always easy. Training cats to be happy and comfortable with entering and traveling in a cat carrier is key to helping both cats and their owners reduce the stress of transport to the vets.”
As well as the welfare benefits for cats with these conditions, the theme was chosen in response to a wider desire for training advice among cat owners. In a poll conducted by iCatCare, 95% of respondents said they would like more advice on training their cat, with more than half stating they struggle to persuade their cat to enter a cat carrier.
Led by iCatCare behavioural experts, Dr Sarah Ellis and Linda Ryan, and veterinarian and Head of ISFM, Nathalie Dowgray, easy to follow, engaging training advice and content from iCatCare as well as ICD partners, Zoetis, Royal Canin and Purina, will be freely available for cat owners.
Dr Sarah Ellis, iCatCare Head of Cat Advocacy, explains: “Cats are not born loving the things we do to look after their health and wellbeing, for example, taking them to the vets for annual check-ups. They need to be taught that these activities can be positive through gentle exposure and association with rewards. I believe, positive reinforcement training to teach cats to cope and even better, enjoy these things, is a compulsory part of cat ownership if we are committed to protecting their welfare.”
Owners can sign up to receive emails with tips and advice on how to positively train their cat and receive invitations to free online events, Q&As, podcasts and easy to follow short training videos with cat behaviour experts. Cat companions can join in anytime from 19 July until International Cat Day on 8 August 2021. A range of useful material, including simple infographics and easy-to-understand information on cat carriers, will also be available to download for free for vet professionals to use in clinics and to help advise clients.
Follow @iCatCare for announcements and more information as the programme is released and visit: https://bit.ly/3waYcHF