The term 'cat friendly practice' was formed back in 2005 by the International Society of Feline Medicine. Now the idea has grown and has come of age with a new and robust cat friendly clinic standard put together by ISFM. It is a worldwide initiative. The ISFM recognised people can find bringing their cat to the vet a difficult experience so the Cat Friendly Clinic scheme was designed to help and encourage vet clinics to make cats' visits much less stressful.
We recognise that there are unique challenges and difficulties in bringing a cat to a veterinary clinic:
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
Most cats are highly stressed by dogs being nearby in a veterinary clinic
Cats need to be handled gently, with care and respect in the clinic
When cats are hospitalised, considerable attention is needed to their unique requirements
Recognising the wide-ranging needs of cats in a veterinary clinical setting was the reason the ISFM set up the Cat Friendly Clinic Standard. This is a rigorous accreditation scheme designed to demonstrate that certified clinics:
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 good standards of equipment needed to investigate and treat feline diseases
Have a good standard of facilities and care for hospitalised cats
We are happy to show you around our clinic and explain the 'Cat Friendly' measures that we are taking with all our patient.
Under the scheme, clinics can be awarded Silver or Gold level status, and last week, I am proud to say that we have achieved Gold status.
The Cat Friendly Clinic programme is open to any veterinary practice that cares for feline patients. There are certain requirements regarding design, equipment and facilities within the clinic, which must be met to achieve the standard. After the first year a reaccreditation form is sent out anually and the Practice must become an ISFM Practice member to retain their status of Cat Friendly Clinic. The clinic must also demonstrate that a high quality of care is provided to cats and that all staff understand cats and their needs in a clinic. The benefit to the clinic is that not only will the scheme help to improve the clinical care of feline patients but may also increase the number of clients who are actively seeking a cat friendly clinic for their pet.