In veterinary school, my professors often said “cats are not just small dogs” and we would all laugh along with them as we stuffed our heads full of the many medical differences between cats and dogs. As I’ve been in practice, the truth of this little aphorism has really come home. Not to be funny, but cats are a whole different animal. Getting them in to see the vet is often a harrowing experience, for both cat and owner. We have dedicated ourselves to becoming a Cat Friendly practice so we can ease this fear for both our feline patients and their owners. Making cats, and their owners, more comfortable with coming in to see us improves the long term health of our kitty friends.
What is a “Cat Friendly Practice?”
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) is a group of veterinarians dedicated to providing top notch health care to cats. They recognized the unique challenges of providing veterinary care to cats and in response, developed the Cat Friendly Practice Program, which is an extensive check list of items designed to promote an environment that helps to reduce the stress of a cat’s vet visit.
What does this mean for my cat?
At the bottom line, what this means is that TotalBond cares deeply about the health and happiness of all our patients and we recognize that cats require a different approach than dogs.
Practically, this means that we strive to keep cats and dogs separated in our clinic- we try to keep them apart in our lobbies, each clinic has a designated feline room, we use feline friendly handling techniques. Some of these handling techniques include using a feline pheromone that has been proven to decrease stress, approaching cats slowly and letting them warm up to us, using minimal restraint techniques like the kitty-burrito and the clip-nosis and using scruffing (holding a cat by the scruff of it’s neck) as a last resort.
Overall, by decreasing the stress of the visit, we hope to make it less scary for owners to bring their cats to see us, thereby helping us to do better preventative medicine for our cat patients. Detecting and treating diseases, like kidney disease and diabetes, early is much more successful than addressing these diseases once they’ve reached a critical point and your pet is acting sick.
For more information about Cat Friendly Practices, please visit the AAFP’s website about the Cat Friendly Practice program: http://www.catvets.com/cfp