Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness
The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) have very specific criteria for cat friendly Hospital waiting areas and wards in Veterinary practices and they award Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards for clinics that provide these standards for their cat patients. An ISFM accreditation proves that high standards have been met.
The ISFM encourages cat friendly handling and restraint and separate cat waiting room areas for cat owners to sit quietly with their pet, well away from the often noisy dog patients. To meet the required ISFM Cat Friendly award status and standards the practice hospital wards have to have spacious hospital cages large enough to allow plenty of clean soft comfortable bedding in a quiet, relaxing resting area, a feeding area for food and water bowls and a litter tray area, ideally with these areas placed as far apart as possible within the patient’s cage. The cages should be made from a hygienic, easily cleaned and well insulated material. Ideally cats should not be able to see each other, so their cages should be placed on one wall in a room with no cages opposite and full solid barriers placed between cat cages, this also aids in avoiding any cat -to- cat spread of any potential infection. Also it is advised to ensure that the cats are prevented from seeing the dog patients and vice-versa, ideally with the cat and dog wards housed in separate rooms to allow for this. Noise should be kept to a minimum where possible and bright, harsh lighting avoided, unless there is a need for this for patient examination. Making provision for a hospitalised cat patient to choose to hide away quietly to avoid stress is also very important. A sack or igloo bed, or even a cardboard box of an appropriate size is good examples of this and the provision of a safe hiding area definitely does reduce patient stress and enhances their welfare. Some cats like to sit up and survey their surroundings from a height, so a cat box, small step up stool or shelf that they can sit on can allow for this. Also Cat Protection League has created "Feline Forts" to encompass all these requirements. Cages spacious enough to allow caging the patient’s own cat carrier can provide a hiding place and also something to sit on and provides familiar smells from home.
The ultimate aim here is to provide a quiet, relaxed, comfortable and stress- free environment for all the cat patients.
For information on ISFM cat friendly clinics refer to: www.catfriendlyclinic.org
Also, many practices run clinics for wellness health checks for our senior cats. The Vet Nurses run these senior cat clinics and will perform a full top- to- toe clinical examination, check your cat’s blood pressure and test a provided urine sample. Blood pressure screening is encouraged for our senior cat patients to check for high blood pressure (hypertension) often caused by kidney disease, as an early diagnosis and treatment here can make a big difference to these cases. A Vet check appointment will be advised if there are any concerns and from there further tests and hopefully treatments given to your pet from there as may be required.
Every effort is made now to ensure that cat patients are kept as stress free and comfortable as possible. At Crown Vets we are proud to say that we have now attained the Gold Standard ISFM Award at our Crown Surgery and Silver at our Culloden Surgery.