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Animal Welfare Cats

International Cat Day: UK Cats are Stressed and Obese, Vets Report

Vets are encouraging all cat owners to check that they are meeting their pets’ welfare needs as we reveal the most pressing welfare issues affecting cats, according to UK vets.

According to a recent British Veterinary Association (BVA) survey, one in four cats (24%) seen in practices are not having all of their welfare needs met.

The most pressing health and welfare issues affecting cats in the UK are:

  • Obesity
  • Behavioral problems/stress from living in a multi-cat household
  • Dental issues
  • Health issues linked to extreme conformation
  • Owners not accessing preventative veterinary care

The figures, from the BVA Spring 2022 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, have prompted BVA to ask that all cat owners mark International Cat Day (Monday 8th August) this year by checking that they are definitely meeting all of their cats’ needs.

BVA President Justine Shotton said: “Cats are among the nation’s favorite pets and we know that the vast majority of owners want to provide the best possible home for their much-loved felines. Cats have a reputation for being easy to care for and unfortunately, we know that that can sometimes lead to important welfare needs being overlooked.

“To mark International Cat Day 2022 we are asking all cat owners to consider whether they might be inadvertently missing something that is key to their cats’ health and wellbeing. If you think there may be an issue please seek advice from you vet, who can help you to ensure your pet is getting the best care possible to reduce stress and stay healthy.”

Vets were asked to identify the three most pressing health and welfare issues affecting cats in the UK. Obesity is the biggest problem facing cats in the UK. 43% of vets highlighted excessive weight as the most pressing issue they are seeing with cats in their practices. Two fifths (41%) cited behavioral problems and stress associated with living in a multi-cat household compared with just 7 per cent citing similar stress as a result of living with other companion animals, mostly dogs. 34% mentioned dental issues, while 26% cited issues relating to extreme conformation, such as flat faces, and 19% referred to lack of preventative veterinary care.

International Cat Day is a celebration which takes place on 8 August of every year. Run by International Cat Care, it’s a day to raise awareness for cats and learn about ways to help and protect them. For more information visit https://icatcare.org/international-cat-day/