As a former veterinary practice manager, the American Association of Feline Practitioners‘ Cat Friendly Practice® program is near and dear to my heart. In my years in working in veterinary practices, I’ve seen far too many cats who didn’t get the care they deserved because veterinary staff didn’t have the resources, training and tools to truly understand that cats are not small dogs, and that they need to be treated differently.
I’ve been a member of the Cat Friendly Practice Advisory Council for the past year, and it’s been wonderful to watch this initiative grow with more and more veterinary clinics getting the Cat Friendly Practice® certification: to date, 1,190 practices have been certified. The AAFP recently surveyed member practices, and the results mean good news for cats and their humans:
- 98% would recommend the CFP program to other veterinary professionals.
- 92% state the CFP program has positively impacted their team morale when handling, treating, and caring for cats. An overwhelming number of practices commented they are now more confident when working with cats, and their whole team has adopted the use of cat-friendly techniques to reduce stress during the visit.
- 91% reported an improvement in feline knowledge and care among practice team members. Many practices noticed a great improvement in staff understanding of feline behavior, feline-friendly handling, and ability to read a cat’s body language.
- 80% received positive feedback from clients on implementing the program.
- 80% have increased visits because they are a Cat Friendly Practice®.
The responses to questions about the top benefits practices experience from the Cat Friendly Practice® Program were even more encouraging:
- Less stress for feline patients
- Increased attention and time with staff at each feline patient visit
- Higher satisfaction among current clients
- More frequent visits by existing cat clients
What all of this means is that cats are getting more of the veterinary care they need and deserve, and that these clinics are working toward making vet visits less stressful for both cat and human.
Visit Catfriendly.com for more information.
Is your vet clinic a Cat Friendly Practice®? Do you work at one? We want to hear about your experience!
Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice® program is a worldwide collaboration of feline experts who provide guidelines with recommendations specifically for cats. The AAFP was the first major veterinary organization in North America to implement a coordinated approach to minimize stress associated with veterinary visits for cats, caregivers, and the veterinary team. By creating a supportive environment of veterinary staff who understand cats’ unique needs and behaviors, and acknowledging the essential role of the cat caregiver before and during the visit, cats can have a more positive veterinary experience. As of January 17, 2018, the AAFP has designated 1,190 Cat Friendly Practices®. Visit Catfriendly.com for
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.