A YORK veterinary practice is the cat’s whiskers after helping frightened felines to overcome their fears.
The Minster Veterinary Practice has revamped facilities at its main hospital in Salisbury Road and branch surgery at Tower Court in Clifton Moor to help reduce the stress for cats brought into the practice for treatment.
By creating a calm, soothing environment, the practice is also making visits a less fraught experience for owners, who often dread taking their cat to the vets.
The improvements have led to the practice achieving cat-friendly clinic status through the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM). The ISFM works with the veterinary profession across the world to provide information for the veterinary care of cats and is recognised and respected for the standards it aspires to.
Minster Vets has created a cat-only waiting area in reception at its Salisbury Road practice, with a barrier to prevent cats becoming distressed or anxious by dogs watching them. Feline patients that are staying overnight have specially raised beds off the ground that makes them feel comforted as they can climb on top or hide underneath.
Both branches provide blankets covered in a relaxing pheromone spray that are placed over cat carriers to soothe nervous cats and shield them from the view of the surgery. They also have plug-ins that release pheromones into the atmosphere.
Tower Court has even introduced cat-only consultations between 4pm and 5pm every Thursday when dogs are not allowed in the surgery.
The improvements have been overseen by veterinary nurses Tracey Pulleyn and Claire Cliff and vet Katy Sorensen.
Katy said: “If cats are calmer and more relaxed, they are easier to examine. I think the improvements are also making owners feel less stressed when they bring their pets in because they’re not so worried about how their cat will react.
“We’ve received extremely positive feedback from clients about the improvements we’ve made. We introduced cat-only consults at Tower Court in April and the opportunity to come along when there are no dogs here has been well received by owners. We’ve noticed we’re getting busier, so owners are clearly taking advantage of this service.”
Tracey added: “We have changed our whole approach to how we look after cats and it is proving successful. We have a hands-off approach when they come into the consult room.
“They can come out of their cat carrier in their own time and can even stay in there if the lid comes off. This is encouraging compliance among cats and they are so much calmer.”
The ISFM awarded Minster’s Salisbury Road practice silver status and Tower Court bronze status in recognition of its standards of cat care.