November 01, 2010


 Calling all CATalystas

By Susan C. Kahler 
Posted Oct, 18, 2010

Are you a CATalysta? Attendees at a CATalyst Council reception Aug. 1 at the AVMA Annual Convention were asked that question by the council's executive director. Dr. Jane Brunt said CATalystas are individuals who champion and celebrate cats, acting as catalysts to improve their lives.

The CATalyst Council is a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, nonprofits, industry, and animal welfare organizations. The permanently seated board members are representatives from the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the AVMA, the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, and the American Animal Hospital Association.

Dr. Brunt said that organizations, corporations, and individuals who care about providing for and promoting "more cats finding forever homes and receiving better care" are welcome to join as colleagues, contributors, supporters, and partners. Merial is CATalyst's 2010 corporate partner, and Pfizer Animal Health continues to be a supporter since sponsoring the initial CATalyst Summit in 2008.

The council's purpose is to champion the feline species. CATalyst Council Chair Diane Eigner said she's a true CATalysta who adores working with cats. She said she is acutely aware that America's most populous pets, cats, lag behind dogs in receiving veterinary care.

Dr. Eigner said she and the AAFP are helping spread the word about AAFP/CATalyst Council resources and are working toward even more collaborative efforts.

Dr. Eigner said clients should be a springboard to help veterinarians embrace CATalyst's newest initiative—developing cat-friendly practices (see article).

"We want to try to convince (clients) that they can get their cat in a carrier, they can get them in the door, and that once they're there, that everything will work very well," Dr. Eigner said.

Dr. Alexis Nahama, CATalyst executive secretary, offered some good news—the same percentage of cat owners do senior wellness testing as do dog owners.

AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven offered remarks during the CATalyst reception.

"We think this is a perfect partnership between AVMA and CATalyst and the other partners here, so we applaud what's being done," Dr. DeHaven said.

Dr. DeHaven said the AVMA has found that practice profitability is one of the largest concerns currently in the profession, and increasing veterinary care for cats is an area of potential economic growth.

Referring to Dr. DeHaven's comments that working together is good for veterinarians, industry partners, and cats, Bob Rohde, president of the Denver Dumb Friends League, added, "It's also good for those of us who work in animal shelters. … With cats, it's sheer numbers, and the more we work together, everybody's going to benefit."

Dr. Christine Jenkins, CATalyst board member from Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., a corporate sponsor, said, "My vision is that we will not as cat owners have the anxiety associated with taking our cats in for proper health care. The other vision I have is … that we will help eliminate the overpopulation."

In closing, Dr. Brunt said that the American Humane Association already has started enhancing the relationship between veterinarians and shelters.

Veterinarians and their health care teams can learn how to become cat-friendly practices involved in spreading the CATalyst message that "It's all about the cat!" by visiting