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10 years of Cat Friendly

10 years of Cat Friendly
November 16, 2022

Published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery November 2022 issue
Written by: Dr. Kathi Gruss, DVM

Earlysville Animal Hospital is proud to have been a Cat Friendly Practice for 10 years.

When Cat Friendly Practice was initiated, we were already fans of AAFP and by becoming one of their recognized Cat Friendly Practices we have learned how to better serve our feline patients.

We continue to evolve to be better feline caretakers and the bonus is everyone is happier and safer - the patient, the client, and the veterinarians and staff.

We have learned how to all be on a team that focuses on what is best for the cat. Doing this may not be the quickest way to get things done, but it is the best for the client, the staff and the hospital. We have clients drive past many other animal hospitals to bring their cat to us because of the care we give and Cat Friendly Practice has helped shape how we do things.

One of the first changes we made was putting portals in all our cages so each cat had a separate space for their litter pan.

We made a cat only space in our waiting room and trained the clients how to use it. We added Feliway sprayed towels and a table for the cat carrier. Now, we skip the waiting room completely for cats and send them straight to a cat only exam room from the parking lot.

Next we learned what kind and gentle handling meant for cats. Feliway, a towel to hide under, staying in their carriers are all helpful. We quit scruffing cats. We try to make them as comfortable as possible all the time. We try to listen to the cat and do their exams in the best way for each individual.

We teach our clients and staff about the benefits of premedications, appropriate cat carriers and how to get to the clinic with their feline patients. We educate the clients about how we do things and that the cat is ultimately in charge of what we can get done today. If the cat says “no” we change what we are doing or come back another day.

We have Cat Friendly information on our website and in the hospital. We are proud to be a Cat Friendly Practice and let clients know why we do things the way we do. They appreciate the extra effort.

I love having the information at Cat Friendly Homes available for our clients. What a fabulous resource of excellent advice so Cat Friendly becomes a way of life.

Becoming a Cat Friendly Practice takes time, effort, and training for veterinarians, staff and clients. I honestly think every practice that cares for any cats should make this effort so they offer the best care to every cat. It improves every aspect of cat care.