Cat Friendly Practice

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What is a Cat Friendly Practice®?

CFPThe AAFP seeks to encourage and facilitate good quality veterinary care for cats. However, we recognize that there are unique challenges and difficulties in bringing your cat to a veterinary practice, including:

  • 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 and anxiety.
  • Most cats are highly stressed by dogs and other cats being in close proximity at the practice.
  • Cats need to be handled gently, with care and respect in the practice.
  • Cats have unique medical requirements that Cat Friendly Practices are capable of providing.

The AAFP established the Cat Friendly Practice® program to help veterinary practices meet the wide range of unique needs of cats in a veterinary practice setting. An extensive self-assessment checklist was designed to demonstrate that Cat Friendly Practices®:

  • 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 an appropriate standard of equipment needed to investigate and treat feline patients.
  • Meets a standard for the facilities and care for hospitalized cats.

How Can I Benefit from Visiting a Cat Friendly Practice®?

Below are some specific ways in which cat owners can benefit from visiting a Cat Friendly Practice®:

  • They make an effort to have a calming environment.
  • They have incorporated a waiting room/area that reduces stress associated with noise, other pets or unfamiliar smells (methods can include feline-only area, separate space with barrier blocking visual contact, cat-only appointment times, going directly into the exam room, etc.).
  • Staff are trained to understand the individualized needs of cats including feline specific facial and behavior cues.
  • They implement the Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines to facilitate a more positive experience.
  • They use a slow approach to achieve positive results.
  • They develop an individual plan based on your cat’s specific needs, preferences and behaviors.
  • They implement ways to make you and your cat be as comfortable as possible.
  • Staff continually obtain education on the most current feline research and guidelines.
  • They will help ensure that you are a valuable member of your cat’s healthcare team and help you understand your cat’s needs and what you can do at home to ensure they get the care they need.
  • Many use synthetic feline facial pheromones for a calming effect.
  • Many have a feline-only examination room that provides a safe, non-threatening area where cats can be examined calmly and effectively.
  • They have experience to recognize subtle, early signs of fear or anxiety and adapt appropriately.
  • Their cat ward, hospitalization area and operating room have been assessed to include appropriate feline equipment, tools and procedures.

Each practice also has at least one “Cat Advocate” who is a knowledgeable professional that ensures your cat’s care is guided by feline-focused standards. Cat Advocates are chosen for their experience, understanding, empathetic manner and willingness to help answer any of your questions.

When designated as a Cat Friendly Practice®, selected veterinary clinics have proven they have taken specific extra steps to assure they understand a cat’s unique needs and have implemented feline-friendly standards. You can search online for a Cat Friendly Practice® in your area.

Click the video below to see a testimonial from an owner who takes her cat to a Cat Friendly Practice®:

Location Hours
Monday8:00am – 8:00pm
Tuesday8:00am – 8:00pm
Wednesday8:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday8:00am – 8:00pm
Friday8:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday8:00am – 2:00pm
SundayClosed