More than 1,000 veterinary clinics worldwide have earned or are on track to receive the Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) designation awarded by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the organization reported today. AAFP Cat Friendly Practice program aims to make practices more accommodating to the needs of cats and improve the animals’ treatment, handling and overall health.
The initiative, unveiled in February 2012, aims to make practices more accommodating to the needs of cats and improve the animals’ treatment, handling and overall health.
Deserving practices receive either Silver Standard or Gold Standard certification. Silver means a practice meets the essential criteria for a Cat Friendly Practice. Gold confirms that a practice incorporates an optimum level of criteria.
A certified practice must have at least one veterinarian who is an AAFP member.
"We are very proud of each approved veterinary clinic for their dedication to the CFP program in striving for improved excellence in feline care,” said AAFP spokeswoman Elizabeth J. Colleran, DVM, MS. "The feedback has been incredible. … Veterinarians report very positive results and benefits for cats, clients and also the veterinary team.”
The Hillsborough, N.J.-based AAFP launched the program in an attempt to reverse a decline in clinic visits by cat owners. The initiative addresses barriers to feline veterinary visits, including an aversion to cat carriers, sensitivity to new sights and smells, and the stress of an unfamiliar location or experience.
"Understanding these obstacles helped to shape the CFP program and its dedication to putting the needs of cats first,” AAFP stated. "At a CFP-designated clinic, the veterinary staff incorporates cat-friendly features into the physical layout of the practice, as well as the way in which care is delivered.”
Cat Friendly Practices are expected to have:
- Staff members who are knowledgeable about and understand cats.
- Staff members who have a gentle, caring and empathetic approach to handling cats.
- Waiting and examination rooms appropriate for cats.
- Suitable equipment, including anesthesia and X-ray machines.
AAFP is redesigning its website—CatVets.com—to provide best practices for feline care and other information.
"As the program continues to gain momentum, we are committed to providing clinics with access to a suite of tools and resources to help them develop and implement a cat-friendly culture, environment and way of practicing of medicine,” Dr. Colleran said. "From educational resources to marketing tools, everything will be at their fingertips.”
The program’s sponsors include Bayer HealthCare, Zoetis Inc., Ceva Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.