As you may have noticed, over the past year we have been working to make VCA Allen Park Animal Hospital a more cat-friendly place. And now it’s official- we are an AAFP approved Cat Friendly Practice.
Now, I’m sure you’ve got questions- What exactly is a Cat Friendly Practice, and who the heck are the AAFP? Why is making VCA Allen Park Animal Hospital cat-friendly important? What is so different about being cat-friendly vs. being a ‘regular’ vet hospital?
What is a Cat Friendly Practice and who are the AAFP? AAFP stands for the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Started in 1970, it is an organization of veterinarians who aim to improve the overall health and welfare of cats. Our very own Dr. Bidlon is a member! Earlier this year, the AAFP started the Cat Friendly Practice program, the goal of which is to help veterinary practices elevate the standard of care for cats. To become certified, a practice must complete an application which includes meeting feline-friendly criteria in ten different areas of their practice, complete an online checklist, and submit photos and materials supporting their application. Once submitted, the application is evaluated and must be approved by the AAFP.
Why is making VCA Allen Park Animal Hospital cat-friendly important? You’ve probably heard us say this before, but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 81.7 million owned cats versus 72 million owned dogs, yet the reported number of cat visits to the veterinarian has declined. In fact, many (if not most) veterinary practices report seeing twice as many dogs as they do cats! As passionate lovers and caretakers of animals, we believe it is our duty to promote health and wellness for all pets. But how do we get more cats to visit the veterinarian? By making it easier for cats and their owners to come to VCA Allen Park Animal Hospital – in short, being cat-friendly!
What is so different about being cat-friendly vs. being a ‘regular’ vet hospital? You don’t have to be a veterinarian to know that cats are very different than dogs. But the reality is that most veterinary practices, when looked at from a pet’s perspective, are designed with dogs in mind. Which makes sense when considering that most practices see so many more dogs than cats. But if our goal is to have more cats get the care they deserve, we need to start thinking about our practice from a cat’s perspective. This is where the Cat Friendly Practice Criteria come in- In order to apply for the program, a practice must meet several criteria in each of ten different areas- Staff Training & Continuing Education / Client Communications, Veterinary Practice / Waiting Room, Feline Handling & Interaction with Clients, Examination Room & Clinical Records, Wards Facilities, Pain Management / Operating Room & Anesthesia, Surgical Equipment & Dentistry, Diagnostic Imaging & Laboratory Facilities, Treatment / Health & Safety, and Preventative Care by Life Stages.
We are an equal opportunity animal lovers hospital here at VCA Allen Park Animal Hospital! We don’t want to see any fewer dogs- we just want to see more of their feline friends!