Your clients (and your patients) have probably made this fact clear: Cats don’t like trips to the vet. The very concept of being subject to any sort of examination is probably grossly unappealing to our starkly independent feline friends, so it’s easy for veterinarians to understand their hesitation, and even to forgive the occasional scratch.
But that’s all about to change. This year, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) followed on the heels of the CATalyst connection to begin a campaign for cat friendly practices. By introducing standard criteria that can earn practices a silver or gold “cat friendly” rating, the AAFP is attempting to help practice managers take this effort into their own hands, while simultaneously introducing a measure of perceived accountability.
Cat Friendly Practices: Available Programs
The requirements? Practices participating must have one AAFP member on staff. The need? The AAFP details the very real need for this type of program by simply citing statistics:
The AAFP’s data tell us that though cat ownership has surpassed dog ownership in the United States, cats average roughly 50 percent fewer veterinary visits per year. (Of course, the number of visits is influenced by owners’ misunderstanding of feline health needs as well as by the practice’s performance.)
Because the initiative, called the Cat Friendly Practice program, is built completely on an online platform, practices can really use the tools available to better themselves, rather than to draw direct comparisons (though this can be useful as well).
As the initiative gets into full swing (the AAFP announced its arrival in January), we’re curious about steps you have taken to make your practice cat friendly. Have you rerouted dogs through another practice area so that cats can stay away from unfamiliar canines?
Have you added a practitioner who specifically deals with feline health to treat nervous cats? Tell us about your efforts in a comment!