Cat Friendly Practice
Rolling out the Welcome Mat for an Under-served Pet Population
It’s a question that has been asked for many years: Are you a dog person, or are you a cat person? If pet ownership is any indication of allegiance, then the public has clearly spoken. Cats are the pet of choice, making up the greater number of home companion animals. It is apparent that more people are realizing what great pets cats can be.
In 2011, more than 86 million cats were owned as pets, compared to 78 million dogs. In the past, cats had the reputation of being independent, aloof, and solitary. Anyone that has had a cat for a pet can tell you that this is far from the truth. Cats make great companions. They are playful, funny, loyal, and affectionate.
Cats Need Veterinary Care
A study performed in 2011 revealed that almost twice as many cats than dogs never visit the Veterinarian. Of the cats that do visit the veterinarian, they are coming in much less often than they should be. Why aren’t cats getting the care that they need? It isn’t that cat owners don’t love their cat companions dearly. On the contrary, they fear subjecting their felines to the trip; the carrier, the car ride, the vomit, the poop, the barking dogs, the needles and the thermometer. Cats are also very good at hiding disease, so the importance of the annual examination and disease prevention planning is often not completely appreciated.
We are Cat Friendly
In order to improve the health and well-being of cats, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has initiated the Cat Friendly Practice Program. The Androscoggin Animal Hospital has gone through the rigorous certification process in order to improve the experience and the care that our feline patients receive. We created a cat only exam room, we are trained in Feline Friendly examination practices, and we have focused continuing education on the medical and behavioral needs of cats.
What Makes us Cat Friendly?
Cat owners report that the stress of transporting their pets to the Veterinarian, along with the cat’s reluctance to enter a new and unfamiliar environment, causes anxiety for both cats and owners. Both feel anxiety before they even enter the office lobby. Once in the office, there are other potential stressors including dogs or other cats in the waiting area, staff who do not know how to handle cats, and a dog-focused environment. Cats are not small dogs! Our certification as a Cat Friendly Practice means that we understand these stresses, and we have taken steps to avoid them.
Stay tuned for our next blog on Cat Friendly Practice where we will explain exactly what it means to be a Cat Friendly Practice, and why the Androscoggin Animal Hospital has chosen to become Cat Friendly.