APBC Feline Conference 2012

APBC feline conference 2012


Review of the APBC October 2012 cat conference
Helping a problem cat isn’t a quick fix. It requires careful study of the cat’s environment, health, and sometime’s owner’s part in the problem. That was the underlying message from the APBC’s second annual Feline conference October 2012.
Fractious felines, for instance, may be suffering from medical or physical disorders, according to Caroline Bower, a Plymouth vet who has contributed to several behaviour manuals and books. Rehoming should be considered if there is severe aggression and owner vulnerability.
Helping a nervous cat cope with its environment was the subject of a talk by Jon Bowen, a vet who runs the behaviour referral service at the Royal Veterinary College. Predictability and control, with a secure base, are features that will be help the nervous cat grow in confidence.
The pros and cons of an indoor-only life versus access to the great outdoors were outlined by Francesca Riccomini, specialist in behavioural medicine and author of several cat books. Indoor cats may live longer lives but outdoor cats generally get to enjoy a more natural life.
Helping owners better understand their fat cats is essential for the treatment of feline obesity the second topic tackled by Jon Bowen. Progressive activity increase and micro-exercise (if only sitting up rather than lying down!) are part of a successful slimming programme.
Feline lower urinary tract disease was Francesca Riccomini’s second talk. Stress, inactivity, and an indoor-only lifestyle are some of the risk factors. Anne Seawright, a vet in the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science at Bristol University, reported a trial that showed behaviour therapy was an important aspect of treatment for feline idiopathic cystitis.
Meanwhile Evelyn-Rose Mays, reported on her research into whether cats used their nose or eyes when tested in a T-maze. The eyes had it! Rachael King, who is studying for a PhD outlined her research into the possible influences on kitten development.If we knew how to help a kitten grow up to be a happy cat, there would be fewer feline behaviour problems.
Celia Haddon
Provisional Member, APBC