The CATalyst Council has announced the Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities for 2009—with the No. 1 spot going to Tampa, Fla.
CATalyst is a coalition of organizations that came together last year to promote feline health and welfare. Participants include the American Association of Feline Practitioners, AVMA, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, American Animal Hospital Association, and industry partners.
By highlighting cities that provide the best care for cats in the annual rankings, CATalyst hopes to set the bar for other cities to follow.
"Cats are the most popular pets in the United States, and yet the frequency of veterinary visits for cats is less than that for dogs," said Dr. James O. Cook, president of the AVMA. "By identifying the cities in America in which cats receive the best care and attention, I hope CATalyst will inspire every cat owner, nationwide, to give their pets the respect and attention they've earned."
The council announced this year's top cat-friendly cities at the recent AAHA meeting in Phoenix, and Phoenix just happens to be the second city on the list. The Top 10 list continues with San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Denver, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. An honorable mention went to Ithaca, N.Y., as home of the Cornell Feline Health Center.
CATalyst compiled the list of cat-friendly cities by evaluating the top 25 metropolitan areas on the basis of cat ownership per capita, the percentage of cats with microchips, numbers of Cat Fancy subscribers and Cat Fanciers' Association shows, and caliber of veterinary care. Criteria for veterinary care included numbers of AAFP members, AVMA members, and AAHA-accredited hospitals as well as specialists in veterinary internal medicine, behavior, and emergency and critical care.
Cities received extra points for having cat-friendly ordinances, a mayor who owned a cat, and animal shelters administered by SAWA members. CATalyst hopes to consider additional data about animal shelters in choosing the top cat-friendly cities for 2010.
The council also continues outreach through the It's All About the Cat campaign. The AAFP and AAHA are partnering to develop feline life-stage wellness guidelines for veterinary professionals. The Winn Feline Foundation will help write a consumer version of the guidelines.
"We are reaching out to all parties—the pet health care community, shelter and welfare organizations, government, and the public—to ensure that cats receive the proper care and attention they need and deserve," said Dr. Jane E. Brunt, the executive director of CATalyst. "It truly is all about the cat."
Additional information about CATalyst is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.