AAFP and AAHA release Feline Life Stage Guidelines

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The American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association are releasing the new AAFP/AAHA Feline Life Stage Guidelines this month.

The guidelines, which provide information about wellness care for cats, appear in the January issues of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery and the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

The AVMA's 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook found that pet cats outnumber pet dogs in the United States but receive less veterinary care. Responding to these statistics, a coalition of organizations—including the AAFP, AAHA, and AVMA—formed the CATalyst Council in 2008 to improve the well-being of cats. The council identified a need for the Feline Life Stage Guidelines.

The new guidelines provide health care recommendations specific to the various life stages of feline patients and emphasize the idea of educating cat owners about behavioral and environmental factors in a healthy feline lifestyle.

One deterrent to veterinary visits for cats can be concerns about the stresses on cats and their owners. The guidelines offer practical strategies that veterinary practices can integrate into daily routines to help alleviate common stressors and work more successfully with anxious cats.

Boehringer Ingelheim, Merial, Pfizer Animal Health, and IDEXX Laboratories sponsored development of the guidelines.

The Feline Life State Guidelines are available through the AAFP Web site at www.catvets.com and the AAHA Web site at www.aahanet.org.