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Cat Friendly Handling: Your Cat Deserves a Positive Experience at the Veterinary Clinic



Visitor submit by Ellen Carozza, LVT

Because of the web, cats are the preferred pet, but they obtain much less medical care than their canine counterparts. Be a part of me and the Acutely aware Cat on this two half collection on what truly occurs when your cat is dealt with within the veterinary clinic, and the way you and your cat can have that constructive expertise you’ve all the time needed.

However first I have to take a step again and clarify a number of issues…

Dealing with practices for cats

One of many prime feedback I see in lots of my pet associated posts on THE CAT LVT is how so many individuals don’t like how their cat is dealt with on the veterinary clinic.

In my 20+ years of being in veterinary drugs, I’ve seen fairly the evolution of animal restraint in apply. So why are our dealing with practices for cats nonetheless so primitive? Is it as a result of we don’t care to realize additional information and transfer ahead in our requirements of care? Is it worry of the animal itself? Or is it as a result of “we’ve all the time accomplished it this manner?”

As pet guardians need to be extra concerned of their pets’ care, and as we deal with the newer era of pets, our business must make a lot wanted modifications each when it comes to treating sufferers and to maintain a follow thriving. Whereas these modifications are occurring, it seems like they’re occurring at a snail’s tempo.

As veterinary professionals, we’re devoted to offering wonderful care: care and compassion that’s paid for by you, the shopper.

Veterinary drugs is categorized as a “for revenue” business, as pets by regulation are thought-about private property for which you choose us to offer medical care. But I see on many Fb boards for veterinary professionals how anti-cat they are often. How is that this potential? All of us work on this subject for numerous causes. To see the adverse feedback about our feline sufferers might be disheartening and downright embarrassing at occasions.

How can we as caregivers boast of our love for animals after which converse of them in a adverse method? I see cats labeled as “demons”, “aggressive”, “terrible”, and lots of four-letter phrases that don’t must be repeated. This isn’t solely unprofessional and abhorrent conduct on the professionals’ half, it additionally signifies that they both don’t perceive the language of the cat, or they actually don’t need to study and work with them.

I’m not a fan of working with canine. I by no means have been and I’m not afraid of admitting it. I don’t perceive their language, and their presence may be an excessive amount of for me to deal with bodily. I grew up with canine. My household nonetheless has them as pets. I simply want to not work with them. So what did I do? I discovered a follow that was unique to the species I needed to work with: cats. There’s nothing fallacious with admitting that you simply don’t choose to work with a specific species, however when you have made the selection to work at a combined apply, you’re anticipated to be type, compassionate, and understanding no matter what species your affected person is.

Understanding cats units up a extra profitable vet go to

Studying how a affected person acts and reacts in a medical setting will help arrange a extra profitable go to. We as professionals want to ensure we’re ready prematurely to make it possible for occurs. You as a shopper have to be trustworthy about how your cat has behaved at earlier veterinary visits so we will anticipate your and your cat’s wants accordingly.

The feline affected person has a singular physique language and may arrive on the clinic already stressed. These of us working the veterinary area have to discover ways to perceive the clear alerts cats give us, and regulate our conduct accordingly to have the ability to work with them safely. In actuality, these cats are scared, and are appearing out in a fashion utterly applicable to a state of affairs they didn’t willingly put themselves in. As soon as that’s understood, talking their language will get simpler, and they’re fairly rewarding to work with.

Nevertheless, we do want your assist. We have to know in case your cat prefers sure employees members. We have to know in case your cat wants or has been given an anxiolytic (treatment to ease nervousness earlier than the go to) up to now or may profit from such medicine, or in case your cat must be sedated to deal with.

Outdated restraint and anesthesia methods

Sadly, the American Veterinary Medical Affiliation (AVMA) nonetheless requires the veterinary skilled to study outdated restraint/anesthesia methods for companion animals. Restraint strategies reminiscent of scruffing, and even worse “tanking” or “boxing”, (placing the cat into an oxygen tank and operating anesthetic fuel into the tank to sedate them) are usually not solely unsafe, however are thought-about outdated, merciless and pointless dealing with strategies. They’re additionally unsafe for the employees performing the duty.

Not solely does scruffing put harmful stress on the cervical vertebrae, it may be painful for cats with arthritis and pores and skin illnesses. It additionally heightens the stress response.

Tanking and boxing is among the worst anesthetic practices, because the affected person can’t be precisely monitored. It causes extreme cardiac melancholy. The cat’s fur turns into supersaturated with an anesthetic fuel that the employees dealing with the cats are then going to inhale. A scavenging system shouldn’t be designed to guard employees from fuel inhalation when used with a tank, and is definitely a violation of OSHA (Occupational Well being and Security Administration) requirements. If a hospital doesn’t care to replace their anesthetic protocol to safer strategies for pets and employees, it speaks volumes concerning the medical care offered and the way employees are handled.

The AVMA must evolve in supporting safer, higher strategies of restraint and anesthesia methods for cats, and eradicating the unsafe and outdated methods taught in veterinary packages, in order that our subsequent era of veterinary professionals are ready to offer a extra constructive expertise on the vet workplace!

There are higher, safer strategies of restraint for the feline affected person.

The Worldwide Society of Feline Drugs (ISFM) presently has a “scruff free” marketing campaign which advocates for respectful feline dealing with in a veterinary clinic. Take a look at their pledge and set of hyperlinks right here: for additional info. The AAFP additionally has a set of apply tips for dealing with the feline affected person and may be discovered right here:, and as a bonus they’ve a search engine that will help you discover the purrfect feline vet in your space:


Our aim in a Cat Pleasant Follow®

Our objective within the cat pleasant apply is to ensure your cat will get the medical care she or he wants and deserves, and that you simply perceive what we’re doing each step of the best way. There isn’t a have to be embarrassed at how your cat reacts on the vet workplace! It’s regular, anticipated conduct – we perceive they’re stressed. We need to ensure that stress degree is stored to a minimal for you and your cat(s) by being ready prematurely.

I wrote an article for In the present day’s Veterinary Nurse on understanding feline conduct within the medical setting. It may well present detailed perception on how we categorize and work with, not towards our feline sufferers. This will help you perceive how we practice to be higher ready for working with quite a lot of feline sufferers. You will discover it right here:


It’s encouraging that many clinics have gotten Cat Pleasant or Worry Free. The employees at these clinics is particularly educated to have protocols in place to ease the stress of the animals which are introduced for care. Search for the Cat Pleasant Apply® emblem by the American Affiliation of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) on a clinic’s web site or entrance door, or search for the Worry Free Licensed® emblem, as many combined practices are coaching in that technique as a result of they deal with extra than simply cats.

You need the individuals who you deliver your pet in for medical consideration enthusiastic about caring for them! In case you don’t see that, it’s your proper as a shopper to hunt care at a clinic the place these strategies are practiced. It’s OK to get a second opinion.

Presently, there are over 26,000 animal hospitals in the USA. Should you don’t just like the apply you’re with, discover a apply that matches you and your cat’s wants.

When in search of a feline centric clinic, at a minimal verify for the next:

● Cat Pleasant Apply© or Worry Free Licensed® emblem
● Employees bios on an internet site that state they LOVE working with cats
● Does the apply have a quiet environment, or separate canine and feline foyer areas and separate examination/hospital ward that cater to your cat’s emotional wants?
● Is the clinic prepared to get your cat in for an appointment no matter his or her stress degree and former unfavourable experiences?
● A spot that may truthfully inform you who’s working together with your pet, what anesthetics are used, how, and who they’re administered by
● Do they apply up to date feline drugs and work with you and your cat’s way of life through the use of follow tips created by the AAFP?
● Do they carry out all mandatory duties similar to lab work in entrance of you or take away the cat from the room?
● Are they utilizing cat pleasant strategies of dealing with and restraint?
● Are there credentialed veterinary technicians on employees?

Upon getting your questions answered to your satisfaction, make an appointment.

A notice from Ingrid: I feel it’s a good suggestion to make an appointment with out your cat if you find yourself evaluating a veterinary clinic.  By going to see potential vets with out your cat, you may be extra relaxed.  Ask for a tour of the hospital.  If you wish to converse with a veterinarian, supply to pay for an workplace go to.  Most vets gained’t cost you for this introductory go to, however providing to pay for his or her time units the best tone for a future relationship of mutual respect.  Come ready with an inventory of questions. For extra particulars on how to decide on a cat pleasant vet, watch this video.

Keep tuned for Half Two:
How one can make your cat’s go to to the vet much less demanding
on your cat and what to anticipate throughout your go to.


Ellen Carozza, LVT is a technician at Nova Cat Clinic in Arlington, VA. You’ll be able to study extra about Ellen on the NOVA Cat Clinic web site, and yow will discover her on Instagram and Fb.

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