Silver Cat-Friendly Status

We know that taking a cat to the vet can be a stressful experience. You can’t explain to your cat that visiting the practice will be safe, and not to worry about it! All your cat knows is that being bundled into a small dark box and put into a moving vehicle, then sitting in a strange room filled with the hustle and bustle of people, unfamiliar noises and dogs barking is overwhelmingly unsettling. Never mind what happens in the consult room!

It’s also stressful for you, as their owner – trying to get the uncooperative cat into a box, their legs stretched out grabbing onto anything outside the box, feeling bad for them while listening to their distressed meowing all the way to the vet practice. If they are really stressed, there may even be vomit and faeces in the carrier when you get to the vets. In the consult room, your usually mild-mannered kitty may hiss or swipe at the vet during the examination and, to top it off, the vet asks you to give your stressed and angry cat some tablets when you get home!

How can I improve vet visits for myself and my cat?

There are many things that can be done to help both of your experiences, your first point of call should be to find a Cat-Friendly Clinic and see if you can take your cat there. We have cat-friendly status after working hard to make our practice less stressful for our feline patients, and their owners, when they visit.

What is a cat-friendly clinic?

The Cat-Friendly Clinic status was developed by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) to reduce stress for cats and their owners, making treating and handling cats easier for vets and nurses. A cat-friendly clinic is a vet practice that has met certain standards set by ISFM to ensure that each cat has a better experience at the vet. An assessment is made of the clinic, and it is visited for checks every three years to ensure that standards are being maintained.

What should you expect from a cat-friendly clinic?

The ISFM set out expectations for each practice in terms of practice design, the resources available to cats, and how cats are handled by veterinary staff. The ISFM also provides resources and training for veterinary staff to ensure that they are providing the best care for cats, with the most relevant information available.

There are three tiers for cat-friendly status; bronze, silver and gold, with specific requirements at each level. These include; how the practice is laid out, what facilities are available, what equipment is available, and the level of knowledge of the veterinary staff. We have recently achieved silver status due to the extra measures we have put in place for our feline patients.

What is required for silver status?

All of the requirements for bronze status should be met, these include:

  • All veterinary staff need to have up-to-date knowledge about caring for cats.
  • A named Cat Advocate at the practice who ensures that the standards are being maintained.
  • Handling all cats in a low-stress way.
  • A cat-only waiting area, or consulting times separate from dogs should be available.

Additional requirements for silver status include:

  • A cat-only waiting area, including measures to prevent cats from seeing or hearing dogs.
  • A dedicated cat hospitalisation ward must be available and there are specific requirements for the sizes of kennels and facilities provided.
  • More equipment for performing surgery and diagnostics is required.

How can you improve your cat’s experience of going to the vet?

Using our cat-friendly clinic can improve your cat’s experience of vet appointments considerably, but improvements can be made at home before the visit.

These include:

  • Using an appropriate carrier and getting your cat used to it before the day.
  • Use calming sprays such as Pet Remedy or pheromones like Feliway on the carrier and in the car.
  • Putting familiar blankets and toys into the basket.
  • Allowing plenty of time to get your cat ready and travel to the practice.
  • Asking your vet for medication to calm or mildly sedate your cat if necessary.

Our veterinary staff are able to provide you with other tips and suggestions to ensure that you and your cat have the least stressful experience possible – get in touch with us if you need further advice for your feline friend.