Loving Family Animal Hospital was recently designated as a Cat Friendly Practice® by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). Over several months, our cat-loving team has worked hard to gain additional feline behavior and medical training, and our veterinarians have created new protocols designed specifically for cats. The AAFP has determined we demonstrate an exceptional level of feline medicine and surgery, and rewarded our hard work with a Cat Friendly Practice® designation.
How is a Cat Friendly Practice® different from other veterinary hospitals?
Although we can practice these skills and methods without a Cat Friendly Practice® certification, we’ve gone the extra mile to gain this designation to offer feline-friendly care to more cats. Based on the AAFP’s guidelines, we’ve implemented many changes to ensure our feline patients receive the best of care, and you and your cat will enjoy the following benefits when visiting Loving Family Animal Hospital:
- Your cat will experience more pleasant veterinary visits — Cats are notorious for not appreciating their veterinary visits, or really any place outside their home. But, with the techniques we use to promote a calm, relaxed atmosphere, your cat will have the most enjoyable veterinary visit ever. Cozy blankets on exam tables, soothing pheromone therapy, and separate feline and canine areas will help reduce the stress and anxiety your cat commonly experiences during a trip outside your home.
- We will use feline-appropriate handling methods — Most animals respond to a “less-is-more” method regarding restraint. Cats in particular prefer a hands-off approach, and are less stressed and fearful when proper handling techniques are used. To help your cat feel comfortable during handling for necessary procedures, we use towels sprayed with Feliway, a synthetic calming pheromone, to lightly wrap your pet, rather than the scruff technique. Recent studies have shown that scruffing is highly detrimental to a cat’s mental health and well-being, especially in a stressful situation. We’ve eliminated scruffing from our cat-handling repertoire, and instead use low-stress towel wraps, and pre-visit pharmaceutical options, to alleviate your cat’s anxiety.
- With our extensive training, we are more knowledgeable about feline care — It’s no secret that cats are a unique, mysterious species. They respond in unusual ways to medications, surgeries, and disease processes, which makes veterinary care challenging. For example, a cat who becomes stressed because of an environmental change, such as a new litter brand, can develop idiopathic cystitis, which appears similar to a urinary tract infection, but is caused by an unknown inflammatory response in the bladder lining triggered by stress. With additional training and continuing education geared toward feline medicine and behavior, we can offer your furry friend the best in cat care.
- We have taken steps to implement a feline-friendly environment — Your cat may not appreciate cohabiting with your dog at home, so the added stress of an unknown environment, strange dogs, weird smells, and loud noises, is the perfect recipe for a freaked-out feline. To help your cat cope with the variations from her normal routine during a veterinary visit, we have taken steps to reduce anxiety. One of our most noticeable improvements is separate feline and canine reception areas, to ensure our more rambunctious canine patients do not cause cats undue stress with their barking or sniffing of carriers.
- We have the appropriate equipment and facilities to diagnose and treat our feline patients — Cats who are visibly ill have often been sick for quite some time, because cats are masters at hiding illness. Detecting a disease process in the early stages can be challenging if your cat shows no signs, but by performing baseline testing during each wellness visit, we can monitor your cat’s health and record her normal values, paying close attention to a variation. Without the proper in-house equipment, we could not monitor your pet’s health as closely, or treat her immediately if she presented with an illness.
Because we have taken steps to learn new methods for treating cats as the unique creatures they are, we can ensure your cat’s trip to our hospital will be as stress-free as possible. Here’s a fun fact—cats love whipped cream. During procedures that can cause stress, such as blood draws and vaccinations, we use a dollop of whipped cream to distract our kitties, to create a smoother experience for our patients, clients, and our team.
By choosing a Cat Friendly Practice® for your cat’s veterinary care, you can rest assured that your feline friend will receive the most innovative diagnostic testing and treatment available in feline medicine, along with gentle, low-stress handling that caters to your pet’s emotional and mental health, as well as her physical needs. See the difference a Cat Friendly Practice® makes for your cat by calling us to schedule her next wellness visit.