As a Cat Friendly Practice®, the staff at 1st Pet strives to make vet visits less stressful for cats and their owners. What exactly does this mean the next time you bring your cat to the vet? Here’s what you need to know about Cat Friendly certified vet visits.
One important way to lessen stress for our feline companions is to change environmental stressors that cause fear and anxiety. For a veterinary practice, this means the creation of spaces that are geared toward cats and their needs.
Often a space is more accommodating to cats when it’s free of distractions that other animals traditionally present at the vet. One such stressor is dogs. Because cats are smaller than many dogs, some cats view strange dogs as predators. When cats cannot see, smell, or hear dogs or other animals, they often feel less fearful.
As a Cat Friendly Practice, 1st Pet designates waiting space for cats and their owners. We offer cat only exam suites to ensure our feline patients are not stressed by the smells and signs of our canine patients. Our cat suites are calm and quiet, and are stocked with treats, wet food, blankets, and toys. These accommodations are designed to make cats feel more at home when they visit us. For our hospitalized patients, we offer a feline ward where cats are housed separate from dogs during their stay. We play calm music in our feline wards to reduce the sounds of the hospital, and use pheromone diffusors that are soothing to cats.
In addition to offering cat-friendly spaces free of stressful distractions, 1st Pet increases the comfort level of the environment in a couple of ways.
We utilize cats’ sensitive sense of smell to help create a more comfortable environment. Various products such as Feliway mimic natural cat pheromones to help cats feel calm and safe. Synthetic pheromone scent products come in spray form or as a room diffusor, and are safe to use around animals. We use Feliway in our cat suites, and in our cat wards.
Cats feel safest in soft, warm places. 1st Pet believes this help create a more comfortable space for our patients. Exam room tables are cold and hard, the perfect place to put soft bedding. We use towels and blankets to keep our feline patients comfortable. Some cats prefer being covered with a towel for a portion of the exam.
Educated Veterinarian Staff
Our staff is trained in cat behavior to better help cats feel more comfortable and less afraid. During your visit, members of staff look for signs a cat is particularly stressed or anxious. If your cat struggles, vocalizes, or show other signs of stress, the vet will stop an exam and allow the cat time to calm down. Exams are not rushed.
As members of a Cat Friendly Practice®, we understand how our behavior around cats can lessen stress during an exam. For example, we avoid direct eye contact, move slowly, and speak gently and calmly. Additionally, staff avoid using heavy restraint or forcing a cat to submit. We are trained in a variety of safe cat handling techniques to help keep cats calm during exams and procedures. For cats that are especially stressed at the vet, our vets may be able to prescribe sedation to make the visit more comfortable.
Finally, as a Cat Friendly Practice®, 1st Pet staff are ready to educate cat owners. We may offer special advice with regards to how to lessen stress during the drive to the vet, or which cat carrier feels safer for your cat. We are willing to discuss topics relevant to your cat, like nutrition or behavior.
1st Pet Veterinary Centers is a Cat Friendly Practice® and is ready to show you how much better a visit can be for you and your cat. Call us and ask how we take special measures to help your cat feel calm and safe while they’re in our care.