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Creating a Cat-Friendly Practice

By Tracy Ann Raef

At the 2016 IVMA winter meeting, Dr. Joyce Carnevale, Dipl. ABVP (Canine/Feline), shared some tips to create a more cat-friendly practice based on the AAFP’s Cat-Friendly Practice Program.

One of the reasons most cats may not receive regular veterinary care is due to the stress (to the cat and owner) of getting the cat from the sofa into the carrier. “The AAFP has a handout that your practice staff can email the client when they make the appointment that offers pointers for getting their cat to the veterinarian,” Dr. Carnevale said. “Also, your staff might offer
consults to help clients learn how to train cats to walk into a carrier.”

Most practices aren’t “cat-only hospitals,” but there are ways that practitioners can create a less stressful environment for feline patients. If possible, says Dr. Carnevale, practitioners can provide appointment times that are for cats only. Or, offer times when the clinic isn’t as busy or noisy.

In most practices, a cat-only exam room isn’t possible so Dr. Carnevale suggests arranging those appointments when the client can go directly into an exam room. “If they do need to stay in the waiting room, it’s best to have the cat in a covered carrier and placed on a table, rather than the floor,” she said.

“Anything that lowers the stress of getting the cat into the carrier and lowers the stress of the veterinary visit once the cat is at the clinic will ultimately result in improved healthcare longterm.”

Resources
>> For additional suggestions and ideas, the AAFP has a wealth of tips and brochures for practitioners.