Veterinary clinics are choosing to become accredited under the Cat Friendly Clinic (CFC) scheme for many reasons; be it to offer improved service to clients, enhance staff expertise in cat handling techniques and behaviour or simply because it makes good business sense. Over the past 10 years or so, the experience for cats visiting any of the 288 accredited Cat Friendly Clinics has been improved. However, with 5,606 registered veterinary premises* CFC status is yet to become the norm, but with cat owners starting to take the lead and “genning up” on cat care from the internet and through consumer magazines, isn’t it time for the profession to sit up and take notice?
Word of mouth is a powerful thing; personal recommendation plays a big part in an owner’s choice of veterinary clinic. It could be that you’ve already lost some cat clients to a clinic that has taken steps to become cat friendly, even if not yet accredited. It’s the small things that really can make a big difference with cat clients.
Even more extreme, cat owners report that a visit to the vets can be so stressful – from the appearance of the dreaded cat carrier through to being tipped out onto the vet’s consult table – that some will not to visit the vets at all.
Since the CFC scheme started, 3,934 clinics have expressed an interest in becoming accredited and, out of those, 288 are now either Bronze, Silver or Gold Cat Friendly Clinics. So perhaps the time has come to make your clinic the cat’s whiskers when it comes to feline expertise and start meeting your clients and your cats’ specific needs?
Once you express an interest in the CFC scheme (via the iCatCare website) you will be sent the following information to help you get started:
- Guide to Creating a Cat Friendly Clinic
A comprehensive and detailed look at cats, cat behaviour and what it means for a clinic to become Cat Friendly
- ISFM and AAFP Guidelines on Feline Friendly Nursing
- ISFM and AAFP Guidelines on Feline Friendly Handling
If you are one of those who have received all the information but, for whatever reason, have not progressed any further with the CFC scheme, there is an opportunity to find out more at BSAVA Congress. iCatCare will be talking all about Cat Friendly Clinics and addressing some common misconceptions, such as not having space for separate waiting areas and a lack of time to complete the process. There will be the chance to ask whatever questions you like! Come along to stand 1000 to talk to us about the first steps to becoming cat friendly.
*Vet Futures report (2015): http://vetfutures.org.uk