The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has created a program called the Cat Friendly Practice in order to assist veterinary practices in providing the highest quality of care for their feline patients. Feline visits to the clinic are few and far between, especially when compared to canine clinic visits. The AAFP came up with this program in order to provide clinics with guidelines to shape their attitudes, continuing education focuses, and facilities towards a more feline friendly environment. This allows the clinics in turn to provide better health care for cats and a more efficient, relaxing, and less stressful visit to the clinic.
What changes will you see at Sheabel pertaining to the Cat Friendly Practice Program?
When you walk into the lobby you will notice we now have a separate waiting area for cats so that they don’t have dogs walking by them while they wait to go into the exam room. We have one exam room that is dedicated to our feline patients, complete with a window that many cats are already utilizing! We strive to put all of our feline patients directly into this room to decrease stress from noises and smells out in the waiting room. In the exam room, we try to keep your cat as comfortable as possible by either leaving them in their own carrier with the lid off, or placing them on a towel for the exam.
The Sheabel staff have been watching videos on low-stress handling and restraint in order to learn how to keep your cat as comfortable as possible while they are in the clinic. If they notice your cat becoming stressed out or uncomfortable, they may try a different method of restraint or a different surface for the cat to sit/stand on. The same applies for procedures performed in the treatment area, such as obtaining blood samples, urine samples, and taking x-rays.
There are very few cats who enjoy staying in the hospital, so we try to make it as pleasant of an experience as possible. Our feline hospital cages now contain a one level cat tower so that cats may either lay on top of the tower or hide behind a draped towel underneath the tower. Our most recent feline patients have been much more comfortable having a place to hide from the daily activities of the hospital area.
Aside from the specifics mentioned above, there are many requirements for a practice to achieve the Cat Friendly Status, including a 7 page checklist of items , including topics like continuing education and pain management protocols. Sheabel had already met most of these requirements before we started the Cat Friendly Practice Program application, because we have been accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Sheabel is committed to providing the highest quality care and treatment for your four-legged family members, and we are constantly looking for ways we can improve. The Cat Friendly Practice Program has allowed us to remain active in this commitment to our clients and patients. Thank you for your continued support of Sheabel Veterinary Hospital.
Michelle Arnold, DVM
*Don’t forget, Sheabel offers house calls for cat wellness visits!