The American Association of Feline Practitioners Welcomes the Cat Clinic of Cobb to the Cat Friendly Practice Program at the GOLD Level
Cat Friendly Practices Are the Cat’s Meow
Cats are purring their way into the hearts and homes of the American public. The cat is king, with more than 86 million cats loved as pets, compared to 78 million dogs. With the number of people choosing cats steadily increasing, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has initiated a program to improve the health care and overall well-being of the growing feline population. A Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) is committed to learning ways to make the visit more pleasant for your cats and to help you learn ways that you can contribute also. A Cat Friendly Practice has adapted an environment that is less stressful to cats and meets the cat’s unique needs. A Cat Friendly Practice also values your contribution to your cat’s healthcare plan and will make every effort to help you understand your cats’ needs and help you learn what you can do at home to ensure that they get the care they need.
Cats may be number one in the hearts of their owners, but dogs seem to receive more consistent and regular health care. A 2011 study revealed that almost twice as many cats that dogs never visit the veterinarian. Of the cats that do visit the veterinarian, they average 26% fewer visits than dogs. Cat owners report that the stress of transporting their cats to the veterinarian, along with the cat’s reluctance to enter a new and unfamiliar environment, causes anxiety for both cats and owners. Both often feel anxiety and stress before they even set foot in the office.
The AAFP Promotes Quality Care
The AAFP Cat Friendly Practice program was created to improve the standards of veterinary care for cats in practice settings. Cat Friendly Practices are sensitive to cats’ distinct needs and equipped to address their physical and behavioral needs, thereby increasing cat owner knowledge, veterinary visits, and ultimately improving the healthcare of cats by educating on the importance of wellness visits and preventive care. The program standards are designed to encourage and facilitate high-quality feline veterinary care while addressing the unique challenges and difficulties associated with bringing cats into the veterinary practice.
Veterinarians and their team members who have achieved Cat Friendly Practice status regard the practice with an entirely new perspective. By adopting a feline perspective in all areas that contribute to care, including the practice environment, staff training, client education and more, the practice culture becomes one in which every person is mindful of constantly improving the experience and care of the feline patient.
Cat Friendly Practices have completed a self-assessment checklist that shows they have incorporated the standard criteria for their practice to be cat friendly. Topic areas addressed in the program include:
Staff training and client communication
Waiting room design
Examination rooms and clinical records
Operating room, anesthesia, and surgical equipment
- Diagnostic imaging and lab facilities
- Treatment and safety
- Preventive care by life stages
The Cat Clinic of Cobb is proud to announce that we have met the increased criteria to qualify as a Cat Friendly Practice at the GOLD level!
What to Expect From a Cat Friendly Practice
Cat Friendly Practices are sensitive to the needs of both cats and their owners. They consider the unique needs of cats in the waiting and examination rooms, handling of feline patients, attitude and knowledge of staff, and the comfort and concern for cats and the owners.
Staff training and continuing education are key. Within a Cat Friendly Practice, clients will find that the staff is well versed in feline handling techniques and can expertly deal with frightened cats. Furthermore, the staff is well trained in alternate techniques to calm an anxious cat and ensure that exams and procedures do not escalate anxiety.
Staff training focuses on being knowledgeable about the complete life stage issues that require special care and attention. As with humans, health issues change as aging occurs. The frequency of health care visits may need to increase and the course of treatment will be adjusted according to the cat’s individual healthcare plan.
One obvious advantage of a Cat Friendly Practice is a physical environment that is all about the cat including special waiting accommodations, feline-sensitive examination rooms and hospital, and equipment appropriate for cats.