The carrier, the car, an unfamiliar setting with unknown people and probably some canines to contend with – for territory-loving cats who like routine, a visit to the vets comes way down on their list of favourite things to do. However, regular vet visits are a vital part of ensuring your favourite feline’s health and wellbeing is being properly looked after.
Making visits to the vets a less stressful experience is the driving force behind feline welfare charity International Cat Care’s new initiative – Cat Care for Life. This programme is all about providing a partnership of care between owners and their veterinary clinic to benefit the lifelong health of pet cats.
So how does Cat Care for Life work in practice? The charity has broken it down into three key elements:
1. The role of the cat owner
As an owner, you have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of your cat. By undertaking routine preventive healthcare, through all stages – from kittenhood through to old age – you can ensure your cat stays as healthy as possible. You can also prevent problems arising or maximise the chance of early detection of any illness, when much more can be done. The Cat Care for Life website will guide you through the healthcare your cat should be receiving based on their life stage >>
2. The role of vets and nurses
The charity is also providing online resources for veterinary clinics with recommended best practice guides for health checks, plus advice on when health problems are likely to occur. The information has been put together following many years of treating cats and gathering information on disease.
3. A partnership of care
The Cat Care for Life programme encourages owners to work with their veterinary clinic to maintain their cat in the peak of health through all his or her life stages.
Increasing the number of cat friendly clinics
The charity is also on a mission to boost the number of veterinary practices that cater especially for cats. Cat Friendly Clinic is a worldwide programme from the International Society of Feline Medicine, the veterinary division of International Cat Care. The charity states: “We recognise that because of their unique nature and needs, taking cats to visit a veterinary clinic can be very stressful, both for cats and owners. The Cat Friendly Clinic programme is designed to help address these issues by creating more cat friendly veterinary clinics and so reducing the stress for cats and making veterinary visits easier for cat owners as well. There are now cat-friendly clinics registered across the world, which have been awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze status.”
You can find a Cat Friendly Clinic near you here
If your veterinary practice is not on board yet, International Cat Care would love you to encourage them to become accredited. Tell your vet about the Cat Care for Life initiative and share this blog post with them! There’s also an online form you can fill in here so that the charity can send them details of the programme.
Vet trip top tips
- Use a sturdy cat carrier for transportation – one that opens at the top is much easier to use as the cat can be gently lifted in or out.
- Put bedding in the carrier that the cat normally sleeps on or curls up on at home. Also place an article of clothing belonging to the cat’s favourite person in the carrier.
- Spray the carrier with Feliway® (a calming synthetic pheromone), at least 15 minutes before putting your cat in it.
- Secure the carrier in the car in a footwell or on a seat with a seatbelt so it cannot move.
- Cover the carrier with a cloth or towel during the journey to keep the cat calm.
- In the waiting room, look for shelves or raised areas where the cat carrier can be placed above floor level – cats feel more secure when they’re up high.
- Choose a quiet location and keep the cat carrier covered to avoid visual contact with others.
- Talk to your cat in a quiet, reassuring voice.
International Cat Care has more advice on reducing the stress of taking your cat to the vet here >>
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