How to make your practice feline friendly (Proceedings)
There is no question that feline medicine has grown steadily in popularity since the 1970s when the first feline-only practices were established. Today, organizations such as the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP; http://www.catvets.com/), the Cornell Feline Health Center ( http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/), the International Society of Feline Medicine ( http://www.isfm.net/), the Winn Feline Foundation ( http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/) and the Feline Advisory Bureau ( http://www.fabcats.org/) provide funding for feline health research and continuing education for veterinarians and cat owners. Cats have now surpassed dogs as the most popular companion animal in many countries. In the United States, there are over 93 million pet cats compared with over 77 million pet dogs. One-third of households own at least 1 cat, and the average number of cats per household is 2.45. Canadians own 8.5 million cats compared with 6 million pet dogs. About 35% of Canadian households own at least 1 cat and the average number of cats per household is 1.76. However, some alarming statistics about feline veterinary care have been published in the United States. In 2006, only 64% of cats visited a veterinarian compared with 83% of dogs. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of feline veterinary visits declined by over 10% despite an increase in the number of owned cats. In addition, pet owners spend half as much on veterinary care for cats compared with dogs.
The reasons for the decline in feline veterinary care are multiple and complex. They include issues such as: