Here at Cave we are aiming to achieve a Cat Friendly Clinic silver award accreditation. This means we will have reached a higher standard of cat care in our practice.
To launch Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, our focus is ‘feline friendly’ and the attention to detail our nurses have in making improvements for our feline patients, plus the plan to gain silver accreditation with ISFM.
To gain the silver accreditation, we were required to:
- Understand the needs of cats and have made visits to the vet clinic more cat friendly
- Understand how to approach and handle cats gently and with care
- Have good knowledge and equipment to manage the care of cats
Cat Friendly Clinic is an accreditation programme run by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), which has been developed to raise the standards of care and welfare of cats and to provide veterinarians with practical solutions to problems that they often face when dealing with their feline patients.
We have three nurses – Leigh-Anne Buse, Kim Kendall and Laura James – who have achieved a distinction in the ISFM Feline Friendly Nursing certificate.
Cats are very sensitive creatures. They are bonded to their environment and territorial and for this reason they find it stressful adapting to change and unfamiliar surroundings. To help reduce the stress, pre-treated Feliway blankets are used for cats needing to be handled, which ensures the cat’s own odour is embedded in the blanket too.
We understand our feline friends can be very sensitive to change and are often poorly and not at their best when they come to see us here at Cave. We spend a massive amount of time caring for our patients and nursing them back to health and as cat-friendly advocates we have introduced a number of initiatives to ensure we minimise stress for our feline patients. We have a ‘less is more’ approach when handling cats and time is taken when working with them. They are restrained in a gentle and empathetic manner, while ensuring stress is kept to a minimum during handling, examinations and procedures.
We have increased our use of Feliway spray in the practice, which is a synthetic form of the ‘happy’ pheromone that cats naturally produce. Feliway helps to reduce anxiety and provide a feeling of safety and security. This is sprayed on blankets and bedding prior to the patients arriving and we also have plug in diffusers in our cattery. The blankets are used to cover their carrier and provide a dark and quiet safe place as they are transported through the practice. Our cat kennels are also furnished with a hideaway that can be covered with a blanket to provide a safe retreat or, for the more confident cat, the perfect perching place!