Do you dread taking your cat to the vet? You’re not the only one. Your vet might dread that visit as much as you and your cat do. But the American Association of Feline Practitioners is trying to change that with its Cat Friendly Practice program. And, according to a recent AAFP survey, catering to cats doesn’t just eliminate the dread. It’s good for business.
In the survey, 83 percent of the vets with a Cat Friendly Practice designation reported increased cat visits. And 61 percent said their practice revenue has grown since earning the designation.
Heck No, I Won’t Go
Inside The Cat Friendly Practice — Your Vet Can Do This, Too
- Provide separate waiting areas for dogs and cats. If the clinic is too small for separate waiting areas, other suggestions include taking cats into an exam room as soon as they arrive or letting cats and their people wait in the car until the vet is ready to see them.
- Set aside an exam room that’s used only for cats.
- Put a soft mat or fluffy towel on the exam table. In addition to a towel, my vet has wicker cat beds on hers.
- Expect and demand gentle handling with no restraints.
- Insist on medication your cat will take without a major struggle. Liquid medicine is usually easier to disguise and give than pills. And many medications can be compounded into a gel you’d rub inside the cat’s ear tip.
- If your cat has a chronic illness, learn all you can about it in Facebook groups and on email lists and use your knowledge as talking points with your vet. Vets treat many conditions and species, and they can’t be experts on everything. It’s up to you to become an expert so your cat will get the best possible care.
While a designated cat advocate may be helpful, the real advocate for your cat’s health is you. If your cat and you will be more comfortable waiting in the car until the vet is ready to see you, let the clinic staff know that’s your plan.
Looking for a vet with the Cat Friendly Practice designation? There’s a list on AAFP’s website.