Friday, March 27, 2009

CATalyst Council Names Top Ten Cat-Friendly Cities

By Daniel Quagliozzi

This week, The San Francisco SPCA celebrated the naming of the City of San Francisco as one of the Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities in the nation by the recently formed CATalyst Council. In an age when the popularity of cats is increasing due to their adaptability to "apartment style" city living and the growing acceptance of kind hearted landlords that don't mind adding a four legged tenant or two to their buildings, cats are a huge part of both pop culture, social networking and the everyday lives of us humans. The cats are taking over!!! It's been their master plan for thousands of years. Obey their wishes and everything will be just fine.


Cats have overtaken dogs as the number one owned companion animal in the United States – 88.3 million, compared 74.8 million dogs. Nevertheless, cats are more likely to be neglected or abandoned, more likely to end up in shelters, and less likely to receive veterinary care than dogs.


“There is a higher number of cats than dogs surrendered to shelters nationwide, and increasingly so in these economic times of financial strain and home foreclosures,” said Jan McHugh-Smith, President or The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF/SPCA), CATalyst Council Board Member and Secretary of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA).

The CATalyst Council, a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, non-profits, industry and animal welfare organizations, hopes to call attention to level of care cats receive in these 10 cities, and to set the bar for other cities to follow in the annual ranking. The overall goal is to improve the health of felines nationwide. The cities named, as well as San Francisco, include Tampa, Phoenix, Portland, Denver and Boston. The list was compiled after reviewing the top 25 metropolitan areas for such data as cat ownership per capita, level of veterinary care, microchipping and cat-friendly local ordinances.

“The SF/SPCA is uniquely positioned to address the needs of cats in our community,” McHugh-Smith said. “Cats comprise almost 75 percent of our adoptions. In addition, with the opening this year of our new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center we have an expanded capacity to provide medical, spay/neuter, feral cat assistance, foster, and rehabilitation services for felines. Our non-profit Hospital and Spay/Neuter Clinic provide free, low-cost or subsidized support for cats. And in these difficult economic times, The SF/SPCA is responding to increased need in our community for services for cats and dogs.”


As lovers, guardians, fans, fanciers and in some cases staff (lets face it, they make us work for them) to the cats across this country, it's extremely reassuring to know there is a council willing to give them the spotlight they so richly deserve. The SFSPCA Cat Behavior Program is proud to be a small part in the big picture, contributing to San Francisco's success as a cat-friendly city. Now, if we could just get the people on the Muni buses to be in a better mood..... Maybe they need a cat in their life?

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