In 2012, International Cat Care launched a project to raise the standard of feline care in the veterinary clinic: the ‘Cat Friendly Clinic’ programme. One of the main aims of this accreditation scheme is to reduce the stress experienced by many cats (and consequently their owners) when visiting clinics. In order to be accredited as a Cat Friendly Clinic, a clinic must not only meet high standards of cat care in terms of facilities and equipment, but staff must also demonstrate an understanding of the needs and behaviour of cats and put in place measures to ensure that visits to the clinic are more cat-friendly.
The programme, run by the charity’s veterinary division, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), quickly became a well-recognised, award winning global standard in feline veterinary care, with accredited clinics all over the world. The scheme is supported by six official partners: Boehringer Ingelheim, Ceva, Elanco, Idexx, Merial and Royal Canin.
Just 6 years after its inception, the programme has reached a landmark in the form of accrediting its 1000th clinic. The 1000th clinic is the Classic Animal Medical Center in South Korea, which achieved Gold status, the highest level of accreditation in the programme.
Classic Animal Medical Center was founded in September 2017 and consists of three vets, eight nurses and three receptionists. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the clinic’s goal is to ‘provide outstanding veterinary care using the most advanced medical techniques and equipment in an environment that is both comfortable and welcoming for owners and their loved companions’. Currently, about 30% of the clinic’s clients are cats, and this percentage is continuing to grow.
Park Sungwon, owner of the clinic and Chief of Surgery, told ISFM, ‘Since more and more Koreans are having cats as their companion animals, there is growing interest in the Cat Friendly Clinic programme. So many veterinarians who have just started or want to start their own clinic share information about becoming a Cat Friendly Clinic. I also found out about the Cat Friendly Clinic scheme on the vet internet community. When I decided to open my clinic, I planned to become a Cat Friendly Clinic. So I took ISFM’s requirements into consideration when I designed my clinic.’
When asked what cat owners think of the clinic’s Cat Friendly status, Park said, ‘They are very satisfied with our separated, quiet, cat-only waiting area and large hospitalisation facilities. They think that their cats definitely feel more comfortable at my clinic than they feel at other clinics in my town.’
About becoming the 1000th clinic, Park says, ‘We all are greatly surprised. Because we have been running this clinic only for 5 months, it seems that it’s good luck for us to become the 1000th Cat Friendly Clinic.’
Sarah Endersby, International Cat Care’s Veterinary Development Manager, says ‘We are delighted to have accredited the 1000th Cat Friendly Clinic. It is fabulous to know that many veterinary clinics around the world are thinking about how they can make feline visits less stressful, benefitting not only the cats themselves, but their owners and the veterinary team. We have many clinics looking to become a Cat Friendly Clinic, so the community is growing quickly - hopefully we will be welcoming the 2000th clinic in the not too distant future!’
To find out more about the Cat Friendly Clinic Programme, visit catfriendlyclinic.org.