Industry Focuses on Feline Health

The CATalyst Summit, a meeting of about 50 professionals held Feb. 5-6, 2008, in Palm Springs, Calif., harnessed industry resources to improve feline health. Data released by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) justifies a need for this effort, said Jim Flannigan, director of marketing for the AVMA. Statistics show cats go to the veterinarian half as often as dogs and represent a small fraction of the money spent on pet health, yet they outnumber canines.

Quoting numbers from the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, Flannigan said that out of the $23.2 billion spent on veterinary care in 2006, 7.1 percent was spent on cats. 

While some speculate that the aloof nature of cats prompts an assumption they need little attention and less medical care, Jane Brunt, DVM, Summit chair, wants to focus on finding solutions to the issue instead of contributing factors. 

“We can’t get bogged down in the ‘what’s the cause,’” she said. “We have to address the issue. Our goal is to champion the cat and raise the stature of cats.” 

The summit was held in conjunction with the American Association of Feline Practitioners meeting and is supported by many industry partners including AAHA and Pfizer Animal Health. The meeting provided manufacturers, humane professionals, academics, and private practitioners with a venue to find ways to get more cats in front of more doctors more often. 

Proposed action items include boosting wellness visits to emphasize preventive care for dental disease, breast cancer, and hypertension as well as early identification and treatment of disease. A report from the meeting will be posted on Trends online as soon as information is available.