Last Updated on: December 19, 2017 by Ingrid King
Going to the vet’s could soon become a little less stressful for cats. The American Association of Feline Practitioners unveiled its “Cat Friendly Practice” initiative last week at the North American Veterinary Conference in Florida.
According to Veterinary Practice News, the initiative provides strategies to help practices become more accommodating to the needs of cats and certifies practices as “Cat Friendly Practices.” The AAFP launched the program in response to declining clinic visits by cat owners and intends to help clinics increase veterinary visits for felines and boost the level of healthcare cats receive.
Studies show the number of feline veterinary visits is declining steadily each year. For example, a recent industry survey revealed that compared with dogs, almost three times as many cats hadn’t received veterinary care in the past year.
Making a practice cat-friendly can be challenging, especially if the practice is a multi-species practice. The goals of the initiative are to
- Lay the groundwork for the delivery of care to the underserved feline population.
- Identify trends and baseline species information essential for understanding cats.
- Acknowledge the essential role of the cat owner in the veterinary visit.
- Provide support to veterinarians and their teams to create a cat friendly practice environment.
- Outline strategies for introducing changes in the delivery of care that incorporate a better understanding of the cat’s distinct needs and behaviors.
Certification requires a practice to have at least one staff member who belongs to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, though a practice does not need to specialize specifically in cats. Practices must comply with a 10-item checklist and send it to the AAFP for review. If approved, the clinic earns the “Cat Friendly Practice” designation and is listed in the “Cat Friendly Practice” online database.
These are a lot of big words that all amount to the same thing: let’s make sure that the excuse that “taking my cat to the vet is too stressful” gets eliminated for cat guardians, and that more cats receive the veterinary care they need.
While a feline-only practice will often be the optimal solution for cat guardians, looking for a certified “feline friendly” practice can now present another option.
Is your veterinary hospital cat friendly? What do they do that makes it easier for your cat to visit?
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.