By Langley Cornwell
I know, I know. Not many of us actually travel with our cats. Still, we read so much about dog-friendly cities, restaurants and parks, etc., that I thought it was time to study up on cat-friendly cities. And besides, I’m not really writing about cat-friendly cities to visit with your feline friend; I’m writing about cities that have a high-quality level of veterinary care and have strong local, cat-friendly laws and regulations.
Because as omnipresent as dogs may be, my cat never misses an opportunity to remind me that cats rule the world. If sheer numbers were the deciding factor, then my cat would be right: in America, cats outnumber dogs by over 10 million. That’s nearly 89 million cats sharing our homes and hearts in the United States.
The CATalyst Council is a newly-formed coalition that is singly focused on feline issues. In fact, their vision and mission, as stated on their website, is to ensure all cats are valued and cared for as pets. They go on to say: This will be accomplished by raising the level of care and welfare of cats, supported by the highest quality veterinary care, preventative medicine and cat specific products. That’s a noble and cat-approved undertaking.
This council is made up of academics, nonprofits, doctors from the veterinary community, and industry and animal welfare organizations. In an effort to shine a light on cat healthcare and establish a higher level of standardized feline care nationwide, the CATalyst Council assembled a list of cat-friendly cities.
Dan Kramer, senior marketing manager of industry relations for Pfizer Animal Health and chair of the CATalyst Council says “Cats really are America’s number one companion. Our goal is to recognize and celebrate why cats are such popular companions. We applaud the efforts of these major metropolitan areas for providing a wealth of resources for cats and their owners along with their earned accolade of being one of America’s Top Cat-Friendly Cities.”
The council studied the top 25 standard metropolitan areas carefully. Even though they were seriously looking for the best cat-friendly cities, they kept a light-hearted attitude about the analysis. For instance, they based their measures for the contest on the following: cities that had the largest cat population, the number of veterinarians that are members of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the percentage of the cities’ felines that have been micro-chipped, and the number of subscribers to a popular cat magazine. Extra points were given to cities with cat-friendly laws and if the city’s mayor owned a cat. They should have given bonus points if a majority of the cities’ cats are fed a healthy and nutritious cat food like FELIDAE.
Out of these 25 areas, they selected the top 10 cities for America’s (most?) popular and beloved pet companion.
The highest honor went to Tampa, Florida, and the city was recognized in a ceremony at the American Animal Hospital Association. The other top cities, listed in order, are: Phoenix, San Francisco, Portland (Oregon), Denver, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta and Minneapolis. An honorable mention award was also given to Ithaca, NY because of their commitment to cat education.
Steve Dale, a journalist and board member for the Council said, “Cats outnumber dogs by nearly 10 million among the pet-owning public. However, in my work as a journalist, I’ve spoken with animal control officials, welfare organizations and veterinarians across the country and often hear that cats are more likely to be neglected than dogs, more likely to wind up in shelters and less likely to be seen by veterinarians.”
The CATalyst Council hopes the contest will educate the general public and animal shelters about cat welfare, and help raise awareness of cat healthcare so our felines are properly protected and cared for.
Top photo by Jay Greinsky
Bottom photo by William J. Sisti
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell
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