For many cat owners, taking their cat to the veterinarian is a nerve-racking experience. For some, it is downright traumatic: the struggle to get the cat into the carrier, the unrelenting yowling on the car-ride over, urinary accidents in the carrier and car, and the seemingly inevitable hisses and swats when it is finally time for the vet exam. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, this experience has led many cat owners to avoid taking their cat to the vet altogether. In fact, less than half the cats in America were seen by a veterinarian last year! Since cat's are known to hide signs of illness, regular examinations by a veterinarian are vital to your cat's health. So, how do we make the vet experience better for everyone involved?
Here at the Cat Clinic of Asheville, we are proud to have fostered a Fear Free and Cat Friendly environment to lessen the stress of the vet visit for both you and your cat. But what is Fear Free and how will it improve the veterinary experience?
Fear Free is a program whose mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. As Fear Free certified veterinary professionals, our staff has gone through extensive training to evaluate your cat's comfort at every step of their vet visit. Simply put, we put our patient's welfare first. We focus on both their emotional and physical well-being throughout their visit. This often allows us to provide for patients that in the past may have received insufficient care due to behavior related to fear and anxiety.
But what does that look like and how is that different from other veterinary experiences?
You will notice a difference as soon as you walk into our doors. Our hospital is designed to lessen your cat's stress by providing a quiet, calm, and safe environment for our feline patients. Our staff is trained to recognize even subtle signs of stress and anxiety in your cat and institute measures to alleviate the fear guiding this reaction. For some patients, it may be as simple as using gentle handling and restraint techniques and providing distraction with a tasty treat. For others that have severe fear and anxiety related to their visit, medications may be instituted to improve their experience and lessen their fear. The approach is tailored to each individual patient.
But Fear Free is not just for us veterinary professionals! In fact, Fear Free starts at home. Stay tuned for our next post, where we will delve into what you as a cat owner can do to improve your cat's next veterinary visit.