Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Declaration of Responsibilities to Cats

cat, rest, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Cats. They're complex.

The world seems divided between those who care about the welfare of cats and those who would rather see them gone. Welfare of cat populations – owned, semi-owned and feral – is a complex, emotive issue.

What is beyond doubt is that cats are sentient beings, capable of suffering. In the words of Professor John Webster, they have “feelings that matter”. And if we are going to address problems associated with cats – particularly semi-owned and feral – responsibility needs to be taken by Governments, NGO, cat owners, cat breeders and sellers, those who feed cats and veterinarians.
International Cat Care has released an “International Declaration of Responsibilities to Cats”.

I was interested in all of it, but as a veterinarian particularly interested in my responsibilities to cats. These include ensuring cats in my care have their welfare needs met, refusal of declawing (fortunately not an issue as declawing for non-medical reasons is not legal in Australia), stress-minimising veterinary facilities and handling, encouraging them to microchip and desex cats, providing pain relief when required, providing humane euthanasia, striving to keep up to date about cat welfare and working constructively with local authorities and NGOs on cat welfare issues. All of which I am happy to continue to do. 

You can read the full declaration here.

If you agree, you can sign the declaration here.

Here is a message from International Cat Care:

We’d be really grateful it you would read and sign the Declaration. You can also support this initiative by posing for a photo using one of our signs and sharing this photo on social media. If you do this, please use the hashtag #catdeclaration, as we’d love to see your photos!

At present, after a ‘soft launch’ of the document, we have just under 6,000 signatures from 80 different countries.

In addition, we need help in translating the Declaration into other languages, so it can be used worldwide. Can you help? Currently we volunteers for Hebrew and Portuguese translations, but would be very grateful if anyone could help with others – it would make a big difference.