Cat-friendly animal clinic aims to reduce pet, human stress
New Perth Animal Hospital has cat-only examination rooms, appointment times
New Perth Animal Hospital has been certified as cat friendly by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
"We're trying to make it less stressful for the owners and the pets. We're trying to do everything we can to make that visit a little bit more comfortable, said Dr. Claudia Lister.
"Cats can be a certain challenge to treat and also to make feel comfortable."
Clinic staff received training on methods to make cats more comfortable. Specific times are blocked just for cat appointments.
Lister said the clinic has cat-only examination rooms. Pheromone diffusers are used so the cats don't have to smell dogs.
Bringing the cats right into the exam room and then doing all tests from there can avoid the stress of moving the animal around the clinic, Lister said.
The veterinarian says with the changes, she hopes more cat owners will bring their cats in for regular checkups.
Lister said owners bring them in when they're kittens to be vaccinated, examined, dewormed and spayed or neutered.
"Then unless they're sick, they're not really recognizing the value of an annual exam. And in fact when they're elderly there can be some value in examining them twice yearly," said Lister.
"Cats are solitary hunters which means that they do hunt on their own. It's incredibly important to them not to show vulnerability so they are very good at hiding pain, at hiding discomfort and consequently it can be sometime before owners actually know that they're going downhill or that they're ill."
Kathleen MacMillan's cats don't like visiting the vet.
"Most of the time they don't. Particularly if there are dogs and other noises," said MacMillan.
Her cat Velvet did well at a recent appointment and MacMillan was pleased with the new service.
"I feel less anxious frankly when I bring the cats in because I know it's not going to be a really unpleasant experience," said MacMillan.