The Cat Friendly Clinic

Cat Friendly Vet Clinic

Cat Friendly Vet Clinic

 

Many cat owners dread the thought of bringing their cat to the vet for its Annual Health Check as they feel their cat “hates the vet” and the whole visit is often a terribly stressful event. First of all, Moggy sees the cat carrier come out and makes a beeline for the back door, or under the largest bed and all manner of paws and claws come out to prevent the cat getting into the carrier.

Then the car trip – with Moggy yowling the whole way, sometimes toileting in distress somewhere between the driveway and the vet clinic making the rest of the trip extremely odourous and cold as all windows are swiftly wound down.

The vet clinic is the next experience as, wedged between an exuberant young Staffy and a senior Labrador, Moggy sits in utter terror – eye to eye with the dog he expects will try to taste him any moment, still surrounded by the smell of his fearful toilet from which he wishes he could escape. Is it any wonder that by the time the vet drags the terrified cat from the carrier by the scruff of the neck and wraps him in a towel to “better restrain him” that Moggy has had enough and is going home….. NOW!

Cat only waiting room

Cat Only Waiting Room

The likelihood of this type of experience is high and is a reason that many of our pet cats do not receive the veterinary treatment they need and deserve. Many cats endure chronic illnesses for months to years before the debilitation of the disease gets to the point that it is now “worth the hassle” of the visit to the vet. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if the vet visit was not stressful and Moggy could have access to veterinary treatment at the first sign of disease or better yet, for the annual health check, ensuring he remains in peak health and condition?

The aim of the cat friendly clinic is to understand this whole experience from the cat’s perspective and respect this difference between dogs and cats. It is sometimes easy to “win over” a dog with dried liver and a scratch behind the ear; not so a cat. Their respect and affection is much harder to gain and must be earned, not bought. Cats are not small dogs!

To ease the distress of the cat carrier and car trip:

  • Ensure your carrier is sturdy. Cats feel more secure in sturdy carriers. A fearful cat may try and escape and if they get out in an unfamiliar environment, they may run away and become lost.
  • Do not feed your cat before the vet visit. This lessens the risk of vomiting in the car and the cat is more likely to be interested in treats offered by the vet or nurse.
  • Keep the cat carrier in the house where the cat can have constant access to it. Allow your cat to sleep in the carrier, put comfortable bedding in and offer food or treats in the carrier. The carrier will no longer induce fear simply by appearing and the cat will feel more content in a known enclosure.
  • Spray your carrier and car with Feliway – a synthetic pheromone that reduces anxiety in cats.
  • Cover your cat carrier with a towel or blanket to allow your cat to hide.

We have designed the waiting and consultation rooms at Bentons Road Veterinary Clinic to further ease their anxiety:

  • Cats are able to wait in a cat-only waiting room, out of the line of sight of dogs.
  • Elevated shelves are provided for putting cat carriers on as cats dislike being at floor level.
  • Cover throws are supplied to provide cats with a dark hiding place while they are waiting.
  • The cat-only consultation room is free from the smells of that eager Staffy sniffing under the door.
  • Feliway – a feline calming pheromone is present in the consult room, further alleviating anxiety.
  • The reception desk has an elevated space for placing cat carriers, preventing cats feeling vulnerable on the floor.
  • If cats are admitted to hospital or are recovering from a procedure, they are housed out of sight and separated from dogs in the recovery ward.
  • We appreciate that cats like to hide and provisions have been provided for cats to hide while recovering.

Reducing stress for feline patients has a direct impact on their healing and rehabilitation times and is therefore extremely important to take into consideration.

The vets and nurses at Bentons Road Vet Clinic are experienced in behavioural handling techniques and will treat your cat with the respect it deserves. Minimal restraint works well for many cats if given the time to adapt to the situation at hand. We aim not to rush any procedure with a cat and to do as much as possible in the cat examination room.

Please bring your cat to us at Bentons Road and allow us to make friends with Moggy. We would love the chance to create a lasting relationship that benefits your cat’s health and sees your cat return willingly to see us again and again.