Cat Groups Join Forces to Promote Feline Health
Dog owners are much more likely to take their furry friends to the veterinarian than cat owners. A consortium of feline-related associations and a major pet food company launched a campaign to change that.
People love cats—just not enough to regularly take them to the veterinarian.
That’s why a clowder of feline-focused associations partnered with pet food giant Royal Canin to launch the “Curiosity Saved the Cat” campaign to encourage animal owners to take their furry companions to the vet. Medical visits for cats have dropped by 30 percent since 2001, according to the consortium.
“There are multiple answers” as to why people don’t take their cats to the vet regularly, said Jane Brunt, a veterinarian and executive director of the CATalyst Council, one of four associations joining the effort. “The foundational answer is that people think that cats take care of themselves. But they need human interaction; they need us for their healthcare needs.”
It’s a problem the veterinarian community has known about, Brunt said. But it was backed up in a June 2016 Royal Canin-commissioned survey of pet owners, which found that, compared to dog owners, cat owners were six times less likely to have taken their companion to a vet this year.
The campaign—which coincides with this week’s Take Your Cat to the Vet Day—encourages cat owners to pledge to go to the vet. For every pledge made through August 26, Royal Canin committed to donate food to animal shelters.
To draw further attention, the groups posted a PSA on YouTube featuring some of the internet’s more famous feline stars. Even though cats have taken the internet by storm, being featured in videos, memes, and viral GIFs, Brunt said they don’t receive real-life attention.
“There are more [cats] than dogs, yet they receive a lower level of care,” Brunt said. “There’s all this data—it’s irrefutable. The question is, ‘OK, how do we make change?’”
The consortium—which also includes the American Association of Feline Practitioners, The International Cat Association, and Cat Fanciers’ Association—will keep the ball rolling through September, which CATalyst previously named “Happy Cat Month.” The groups also plan to leverage traditional and social media to keep pet owners engaged, Brunt said.
Each organization brings different tools and focus to the cause, she said, and all are are committed to engaging pet owners through any channel available.
“How do we get pet owners engaged?” she said. “There are people who come to me and, by and large, are really committed to cats. … For other people, they approach it as ‘I got her spayed and he had a shot,’ and that’s all it is. How do we celebrate what cats bring to us?”