With more than 86 million cats in American households, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has initiated a program to improve the health care and overall well-being of the growing feline population. A Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) is committed to learning ways to make visits more pleasant for your cat and to help you learn ways that you can contribute also. A Cat Friendly Practice has adapted an environment that is less stressful to cats and meets the cat’s unique needs. The staff at the UF Small Animal Hospital is aware of ways they can interact and handle your cat so that examinations and procedures will be less stressful. A Cat Friendly Practice also values your contribution to your cat’s healthcare plan and will make every effort to help you understand your cats’ needs and help you learn what you can do at home to ensure your cats get the care they need. The UF Small Animal Hospital is recognized by the AAFP as a Gold Level Cat Friendly Practice. The Gold Standard status is the highest level available, only awarded to practices that have incorporated the optimum level of Cat Friendly Criteria. See video with tips on how to make your cat’s veterinary visit easier on both you and your cat. See Cat Friendly Practice Benefits brochure.
Becoming a Cat Friendly Practice
Our veterinarians and team members regard the UF Small Animal Hospital with an entirely new perspective. By adopting a feline perspective in all areas that contribute to care, including the hospital environment, staff training, client education, and more, the hospital’s culture is one in which every person is mindful of constantly improving the experience and care of the feline patient.
Cat Friendly Practices have completed a self-assessment checklist that shows they have incorporated the standard criteria for their practice to be cat friendly. Program standards for the delivery of care to the feline population are research-based and represent the highest standards of feline medical care. To be considered for approval into the program, the practice has met the criteria on the checklist, attended special training, reviewed educational materials, and designated a Cat Advocate.
Topics addressed in the program include staff training and client communication; waiting room design; feline handling; examination rooms and clinical records; facilities; pain management, operating room, and anesthesia; surgical equipment and dentistry; diagnostic, imaging, and lab facilities; treatment, health and safety; and preventive care by life states. The Cat Advocate will ensure that the high standards of feline care in the hospital are maintained as well as act as the point person for information.
Our Cat Friendly Practice is sensitive to the needs of both cats and their owners. The Small Animal Hospital considers the unique needs of cats in waiting and examination rooms, handling of feline patients, attitude and knowledge of our staff, and in our comfort and concern for cats and their owners.
Cat Friendly Practice Education
Staff training and continuing education are key parts of the Cat Friendly Designation. Within our Cat Friendly Small Animal Hospital, our staff is well versed in feline handling techniques and can expertly deal with frightened cats. Furthermore, our staff is well trained in alternate techniques to calm an anxious cat and ensure that exams and procedures do not escalate anxiety.
Staff training focuses on being knowledgeable about the complete cycle of feline life stage issues that require special care and attention. As with humans, health issues change as aging occurs. The frequency of health care visits may need adjustment and the course of treatment will be tailored according to the cat’s individual healthcare plan.
One obvious advantage of a Cat Friendly Practice is a physical environment that is all about the cat, including special waiting rooms and waiting accommodations, feline-sensitive examination rooms and ward facilities, and equipment appropriate for cats. Other areas that are vetted for cat safety and comfort include the operating room and anesthesia, diagnostic imaging, laboratory facilities and dentistry practices.
The decision to seek out a Cat Friendly Practice is an important step in finding a veterinary practice that is expertly suited to address your pet’s unique needs and to provide you with advice and information that is critical to your cat’s health. The UF Small Animal Hospital is a Gold Level Cat Friendly Practice. For more information or to speak with our Cat Advocate, please contact us at (352) 392-2235.