Section One - Non-Negotiables for Cats
To be in any way affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild, all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild Feline Professional Members understand Force-Free to mean that:
No shock, no choke, no pain, no physical force, no fear or no compulsion-based methods are ever used to train or care for a cat.
Definition of Force
Any definition can never be so expansive and explicit that every possible situation is addressed. This is seen everywhere in life and most obviously in the US legal system, where very often courts cannot agree on a single interpretation of what terms and definitions mean, including physical force.
Recognizing this, we understand, in the context of our Guiding Principles and as a general framework, physical force to mean any intentional act against a cat that causes psychological or physical stress, pain, harm, or damage to the cat. All cat behavior modification and training should have as its foundation a thorough understanding of the scientific principles of animal behavior and learning theory, and the natural history and species-specific behaviors of cats. All training and care should seek to accommodate the species-specific and individual needs of the cat.
Clearly the use of most harnesses, collars (non-choking) and leashes would not be considered physical force under this guiding definition if 1) they are used consistent with our guiding principles, 2) they are used as intended and designed, and 3) they are not used in a way that is contrary to their design and intent, i.e. not used in a manner which would cause psychological or physical pain, harm or damage to a cat.
Section Two - PPG Members’ Professional Ethics1. We always hold the cat’s welfare as our top priority. The cat is the vulnerable component in the consultation process as they cannot offer informed consent.
2. The professional’s role is one that is beneficial to the cat and never to his or her detriment. Always seek to do no harm.
3. Do not condone or endorse any treatment by a cat’s owner that is physically or mentally cruel. We will opt out of a consulting agreement rather than attempt to manage an unethical course of action.
4. We only consult with clients who offer cases that we have the professional competence to deal with.
5. We only use procedures, protocols and training tools that are empirically based and have a proven track record with cats
6. We always consider communications with our clients privileged. We will only break that confidentiality if a cat is being abused and the client cannot be dissuaded from using their current approach. We always act according to local and state laws in terms of reporting animal cruelty.
7. We recognize that the cat’s owner is responsible for their cat and has the right to make decisions about the professional treatment of their pet.
8. Ensure all communications are professional and based in fact. When discussing industry practices, trends or issues, members will limit discussion to practices and consequences rather than the individuals using them thereby ensuring informed, professional and civil exchanges that enrich members and the industry of force-free pet professionals.
9. Apply the following ethical principles to each situation we encounter: