APGOCATS to hold AGM on 18th May

APGOCATS to hold AGM on 18th May

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats will be holding its AGM on the 18th May at 10am.

The meeting will also be an oppertunity for members to reflect on the previous roundtable on Cats and Rental Properties.

This meeting with be held virtually, the zoom link will be provided to those who register attendance – please RSVP to info@apgocats.org.uk.

APGOCATS to hold virtual EGM to elect new co-chair

APGOCATS to hold virtual EGM to elect new co-chair

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats will be holding an Extraordinary General Meeting. This meeting is required to elect a new co-chair for the group. APGOCATs are very grateful for all the work our previous co-chair, Steve Reed MP, did with the group over the years.

The meeting will also be an oppertunity for members to discuss the publication of the loneliness report and the next steps for the group.

This meeting with be held virtually on the 10th September at 1.30pm – please RSVP to info@apgocats.org.uk.

 

NEW REPORT FROM APGOCATS REVEALS THAT TIME WITH CATS CAN COMBAT LONELINESS

NEW REPORT FROM APGOCATS REVEALS THAT TIME WITH CATS CAN COMBAT LONELINESS

Spending time with cats may be a useful way to combat loneliness and its damaging effects, a new report from a cross-party group of MPs has revealed.

New research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats (APGOCATS), published today, found cat ownership and interaction is one of a number of measures with the potential to tackle loneliness across all age groups in specific social situations.

The report is supported by some of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities – Battersea, Cats Protection and Blue Cross. It makes a series of recommendations for care providers, welfare charities and the Government to explore allowing and encouraging people who are struggling with loneliness to interact with cats.

Recommendations include prescribing spending social time with cats – whether this is volunteering or fostering felines for animal rescues or, if appropriate for the individual, getting a cat as a pet. At all times, cat welfare should be protected alongside human wellbeing.

The report calls on the Government to commission specific research on the benefits of cat ownership to those experiencing loneliness, working alongside animal rescue charities.

Sheryll Murray MP, Chair of APGOCATS, said: “As a cat owner I have always found great pleasure and happiness from having cats in my life and can testify to how they can be great companions and provide love, support and enjoyment. I am delighted, as Chair of APGOCATS, to present this report to Government and professional organisations working in this field.

“Tackling loneliness is a priority health issue facing many across the UK. The role cats and other pets can play to help tackle the problem is under-researched and merits further attention. I very much look forward to taking forward the report recommendations.”

Loneliness has been identified as one of the most pressing public health issues facing the UK, leading to the publication of the Government’s Strategy to deal with the issue.

The Minister responsible for tackling loneliness, Baroness Barran MBE, said: “As the Minister for Loneliness, I think a lot about the different ways we can help people who feel lonely, from befriending to community groups. I personally believe that pets, including cats, can be a welcome source of support and can bring real joy to people’s lives.”

Currently, companion animal ownership or interaction is not widely promoted by health and social welfare professionals. APGOCATS took evidence from mental health and social care charities, academics, housing and healthcare providers on the benefits cats provide in terms of companionship. The group also took evidence on the complexities involved with tackling individual loneliness. The report makes clear that interaction with cats needs to be seen as just one measure that may help, alongside others such as social interaction.

Robin Hewings, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at the Campaign to End Loneliness said: “I very much welcome this report by APGOCATS which has been compiled by organisations and experts that care about both cats and people. It is clear that the role of cats in combating loneliness is under-explored and this report goes a long way to highlighting the many ways they can help. There is no simple cure for loneliness, but there is clearly real potential for cats to have a more beneficial role in people’s lives, and I urge the Government to consider the findings of this report.”

The full report sets out a ‘paw print’ for future work on the potential for cats to help combat loneliness. Alongside plans for piloting new social prescribing activities, other recommendations include practical measures for the Government to take through research alongside academics; encouraging housing providers to allow more renters to own or foster cats; health care providers to be able to access information on cat care and animal welfare organisations to widely share advice about owning and caring for cats. To read the full report, click here

The inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats

The inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats

‘The inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats is taking place on Tuesday 11 February at 5pm in Room T, Portcullis House. The meeting will see the election of officers and reflect on the group’s priorities for the year ahead. Please RSVP to info@apgocats.org.uk

DEFRA Minister sets out a plan to give felines a voice at first business meeting of the all-party parliamentary group on cats

DEFRA Minister sets out a plan to give felines a voice at first business meeting of the all-party parliamentary group on cats

Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Minister Lord Gardiner made a keynote speech at the first business meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats (APGOCATS) last week at Westminster, setting out a vision for tackling cat welfare issues and promoting the positive contribution cats make to society.

APGOCATS is the first Parliamentary group devoted specifically to cats and is made up of MPs and Peers. It is supported by two of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities – Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Cats Protection.

At the meeting, Lord Gardiner congratulated the group on creating a voice for cat welfare at Westminster. He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ensuring high welfare standards for cats and all other animals and spoke about the importance of responsible cat ownership.

APGOCATS outlined their plans for the year ahead which will focus on developing animal welfare policies with cats in mind. There was support within the group to explore how cat ownership can benefit human wellbeing and tackle issues such as social isolation.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Gardiner said: “This Government is committed to improving the welfare of all animals.”

“To help deliver this ambition, we have enhanced the Code of Practice for cats to provide better protection. We have also completed a Call for Evidence about commercial third-party sale of puppies and kittens and are currently considering the responses.

“Given these animals give so much to us, it is important that we give back to them by ensuring they have the highest welfare standards possible.”

APGOCATS also plans to champion cat-related issues such as the importance of education around neutering and microchipping owned cats.

APGOCATS Co-Chair, Steve Reed MP, said: “Cats are beloved pets in millions of homes across the UK, yet they are often forgotten in making public policy.

“Tackling issues like cruelty to cats, genetic problems in breeding and highlighting the benefits cats can bring to their owners now has cross-party support; and it’s to be welcomed that cats now have a unique voice in Parliament through APGOCATS.”