The Need For Cat Friendly Practices
In the United States, there are millions more pet owners with cats than dogs, yet cats are brought to the veterinarian far less frequently than dogs. There are two main reasons cat owners don't bring their cat to the vet:
- It is very stressful to take the cats to the vet.
- Many cat owners believe their cat doesn't need routine check ups.
The Cat Friendly Practice, (CFP), program provides solutions to these potential obstacles by implementing stress reducing techniques and promoting better client education.
What is a Cat Friendly Practice?
The AAFP, (American Association of Feline Practioners), seeks to encourage and facilitate good quality care for cats. However, we recognize that there are unique challenges and difficulties in bringing your cat to a veterinarian including:
- Cats often do not travel well.
- Cats do not feel safe when they are away from their normal home territory.
- Cats are highly sensitive to unusual sights, sounds and smells.
- Most cats prefer quiet and solitude.
- Most cats are highly susceptible to stress and anxiety.
- Most cats are highly stressed by dogs and other cats being in close proximity at the practice.
- Cats need to be handled gently, with care and respect in the practice.
- Cats have unique medical requirements that Cat Friendly Practices are capable of providing.
The AAFP established the Cat Friendly Practice program to help veterinary practices meet the wide range of unique needs of cats in a veterinary practice setting. An extensive self-assessment checklist was designed to demonstrate that Cat Friendly Practices:
- Understand the unique needs of cats and have made veterinary visits more cat friendly.
- Understand how to approach and handle cats in a gentle, empathetic and caring manner.
- Have an appropriate standard of equipment needed to investigate and treat feline patients.
- Meets a standard for the facilities and care for hospitalized cats.
Apache Animal Hospital is in the process of becoming a Cat Friendly Certified Veterinary Practice. Although this process can take up to 2 years to complete, we are well on our way with several key standards already in place including:
Traveling With Your Cat To The Veterinarian
- We have a video on our website on how to get your cat acclimated to their carrier.
- Don't have a carrier for your cat? We have carriers you can borrow.
- We also have pheromone wipes you can pick up and use on the carrier to make the car ride less stressful.
- Still can't get your cat in the carrier without you or your cat getting hurt? Our staff has many more suggestions to make this easier for both of you.
Cats Only Exam Room
- This exam room is for cats only. No dogs allowed means no doggy smells to upset your cat.
- Upon your arrival, you and your cat are taken directly into the Cats Only exam room so your cat has time to acclimate to the surrounding and doesn't have to worry about meetings any dogs in the lobby.
- Our Cats Only exam room also has a pheromone diffuser that helps comfort and calm cats.
- All Staff members have received specialized training to help better understand cats and their special needs.
- Special cat friendly handling techniques are used to create a more positive experience for your cat.
- Apache's staff has also received training to recognize subtle, early signs of fear and anxiety in your cat so we can adopt our plans accordingly and ease your pet's fears.