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The International Cat Care Cat Welfare Award is part of the Ceva Animal Welfare Awards which take place annually in Birmingham, UK.

Our Welfare Award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the development of feline welfare, working on all levels, from hands-on welfare to collaborative work with governments and non-government organisations, to try and bring a cohesive approach to cat welfare.

The winner of the award is selected by International Cat Care and is not open to nominations.


Award Winners


Ian MacFarlaine, SPCA, Bermuda

International Cat Care was delighted to award Ian MacFarlaine with its Cat Animal Welfare Award for 2019.

Ian has volunteered or worked in animal welfare for 30 years (including previously two years with International Cat Care) and continues to strive to improve quality of life for unowned cats through TNR, improving homing practices or working with authorities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to bring a collaborative approach to improved cat welfare.

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of International Cat Care said, ‘Ian’s enthusiasm to learn and to teach others remains undaunted by the size of the task, and his professionalism and knowledgeable approach is credible and practical in the many different situations in which he has worked, from well-off charities to small struggling NGOs. Congratulations to Ian and thank you from the cats you have helped directly or indirectly over the years and will continue to help for some time to come.’

Ian is a qualified veterinary nurse and has wide experience in animal welfare, from running shelters to training, inspectorate, neutering manager, animal welfare officer, community engagement, population management, TNR training, project management, dealing with hoarding cases, supporting local groups and building relationships with multiple stakeholders, including government ministries. He has contributed to conferences, workshops and training of students where his dry wit and humour make his lectures memorable.

Over the years he has worked with major charities both in and outside the UK including Cats Protection, Mayhew, Wood Green and PDSA and has established a joint municipal/NGO cat neutering facility in Portugal, and undertaken projects in the Sudan, Lithuania, Ireland, Tanzania and India.

Ian is currently working in Bermuda, but before that, he made major changes at the animal centre at the Malta SPCA which was suffering increasing poor rehoming rates – cat homing increased more than 100% under his management.


Maria Pinto Teixeira, Animais de Rua, Portugal

Maria Pinto Teixeira, founder and CEO of the animal welfare organisation Animais de Rua, in Portugal, received the iCatCare’s award. Maria has worked tirelessly to help cats (and dogs) in her home country of Portugal for the past decade. Her determination to improve the lives of cats through hands-on welfare work, training, sharing knowledge and informing regulations and legislation, made her the obvious choice for this year’s award.

Maria began her career as a lawyer. However, from an early age her passion had always been animal welfare. In 2005, Maria became especially focused on the plight of unowned cat colonies. Upon realising that the local authorities were not offering a solution to help these cats, Maria took it upon herself to go and train in the UK and the USA to be able to carry out Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) work, and brought this humane solution to overpopulation back to Portugal.

In 2008, Maria left her legal practice to found Associação Animais de Rua. What began as a TNR operation in Maria’s hometown of Oporto, soon grew to one of the most recognised and respected animal welfare organisations in Portugal.

Animais de Rua prides itself on its comprehensive work with local authorities, veterinarians, communities and NGOs to address Portugal’s cat and dog overpopulation problem. In addition to TNR work, Animais de Rua works closely with local and central governments in Portugal, offering legal and scientific input to companion animal regulations and legislation. Examples of the organisation’s influence include changes in the law to regulate the sale of companion animals both in shops and online, and on the rights of tenants who own companion animals; the regulation of the law that forbids the killing of companion animals for population control, and the establishment of TNR as the method to control feral cat colonies. The organisation collaborates with expertise overseas for advice and technical support, including International Cat Care.

International Cat Care is absolutely delighted to commend Maria’s astounding dedication to feline welfare. Congratulations to Maria, and to all the staff and volunteers at Animais de Rua who work so hard to help cats all over Portugal.


Pei Su, ACTAsia

Pei Su founded ACTAsia in 2006, a registered non-profit organisation with staff and volunteers working from offices in China and other parts of the world. Many of its staff, advisors and volunteers have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of animal welfare and humane education and benefit from training by leading international animal advocacy organisations.

Asia is vast and not understood by many western welfare organisations. In many places, animal welfare is in its infancy, but in others, it is growing fast. There are numerous issues which can be raised and attract much media attention, such as the dog and cat meat trade and bear bile farms. However, Pei Su, chief executive of ACTAsia understands that to make a lasting and widespread change, education is key. The challenge for an educational charity is to make its voice heard in among those that work directly in the field. However, in the short time that ACTAsia has been in existence, this small charity has introduced a ‘iCare’ programme which teaches children not just compassion for animals, but integrates the ethos into compassion and empathy for humans and the environment, making it more acceptable in schools and encouraging individuals in Asia to take action through compassionate lifestyle choices. The charity also has a ‘iCare’ programme which is raising standards in veterinary care in China through training, and teaching neutering to help vets control numbers of unwanted companion animals and also protecting against rabies. These programmes are well thought out and are laying the foundations for better welfare in Asia.

International Cat Care has supported some of ACTAsia’s veterinary training work in the past and also recognises the thought and determination required to get welfare included in some school curriculums. Congratulations to Pei and her team for the work of ACTAsia.

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