However well-mannered your cat or kitten is, a visit to a veterinary surgery can be a profoundly stressful experience for them. From the journey there via a carrier to the unfamiliarity of the new surroundings, cats don’t enjoy this experience in any way and their overwhelming stress can have worrying consequences. For kitten vaccinations, yearly cat booster vaccinations, or any sort of veterinary surgery procedure, it is of paramount importance that a veterinary practice is cat-friendly in order to ensure the health of your pet. Establishing a relaxed atmosphere for cats makes any veterinary surgery or other procedure a positive and safe experience.

At Bay Vets, we’re a small animal practice that prides itself on being a cat-friendly veterinary clinic, providing cat and kitten vaccinations as well as other surgeries such as neutering. Read on to find out more about the dangers of not using a cat-friendly vet, how to ensure a visit to the vet is smooth, and other things to look for when finding a vet or small animal practice for your feline friend.

The Dangers Of A Non-Cat-Friendly Vet

Whilst no vet is truly averse to cats and should always provide veterinary care, many don’t take steps to ensure that the animal practice is suited to cats’ needs. For starters, a trip out for a cat or kitten is an incredibly strange and unpleasant experience. Even if they’re comfortable and well-behaved, it will most likely be a struggle to get them in a carrier to transport them to the vet. And as you might have experienced before, many cats don’t enjoy (even very short) car journeys; often vocalising loudly, urinating, defecating, or vomiting.

This discomfort is compounded when visiting vets or animal practices that are ill-suited to keeping cats and kittens comfortable. They are stressed by the sights, smells, and sounds of a new setting with unfamiliar people and different animals. The behaviour of cats here can heavily affect the practicalities of veterinary surgery and the ease of cat or kitten vaccinations.

Stress itself can also create altered behaviour in felines which can complicate the vet’s process of ascertaining a correct medical diagnosis. A cat’s chance of recovery from an illness will be diminished when stressed, and its unwellness will be further prolonged with the vet’s difficulty in reaching a clear prognosis.

Having a relaxed cat starts with how the animal practice or vet is run, and establishing a cat-friendly clinic allows for your pet to be in the best possible care, whether it be for your cat’s vaccinations or a more complicated procedure of veterinary surgery.

Ensuring A Good Visit To The Vets

Create Time, Be Caring

Cats usually aren’t massive fans of travelling, especially car journeys, so even if you’re visiting a cat-friendly vet or small animal practice, it is important to properly prepare them for the journey. Ensure that you have time before the appointment to ease them into a carrier, as cats won’t enjoy being forced out of a comfortable environment in a quick rush. Taking time to ease them into the journey, handling them with extra care, and consistently comforting them will make the process much easier and ensure they aren’t hugely stressed or panicked.

Provide Distance And Space

When in the vet or animal practice, ensure that your cat has some distance and space in the waiting room, especially from dogs. Dogs instinctively chase smaller prey and this can cause significant discomfort in cats. A good cat-friendly practice will have spaces for cats to be away from dogs and not have them jammed up next to other animals. You can even create an accessible space for your cat to hide from negative stimuli, such as a cover for the carrier or an area to place the carrier high and away from other animals.

Provide Additional Comforts

A cat’s discomfort can be decreased by reducing exposure to bright lights, loud noises, and strange smells. A cat-friendly vet will establish such an environment, but if you’re visiting a standard veterinary surgery, you can take some precautions.

Some good ideas include bringing a cover for the carrier which reduces bright lights and jarring glare, as well as ensuring the cat’s carrier is designed not just for efficient transportation, but comfort. You should also fit the carrier with bedding that the cat has used frequently and is accustomed to its smells in order to create a pleasant and familiar all-around experience. It might be an idea to bring additional bedding, just in case your feline friend has any physical results of their discomfort.

What To Look For In A Cat-Friendly Vet

Whether you’re organising cat vaccinations or neutering, having a good relationship with a cat-friendly vet or (big or small) animal practice can be instrumental in your pet’s health and happiness. A, or rather, the component to look out for when finding a vet for your cat is whether the animal practice is certified as a ‘Cat-Friendly Clinic’  (CFC) by The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of the leading feline charity International Cat Care. This globally-recognised achievement derives from a comprehensive evaluation of the animal practice or vets, an excellent marker of whether your cat will be comfortable during their visit to the veterinary surgery.

Benefits Of An Accredited Cat-Friendly Clinic

The stringent and rigorous criteria for gaining accreditation as a Cat-Friendly Clinic results in numerous benefits for a small animal practice. At such a veterinary surgery, you’ll be greeted with a caring team of vets and assistants that consistently strives to improve their knowledge of feline medicine, all in an effort to provide the most up-to-date advice and treatments for your cat. The veterinary surgery will possess a deep understanding of how to handle cats gently and carefully during operations, as well as examinations and checkups. The animal practice will also be able to recognise anxiety in cats and know how to minimize this.

The practice’s waiting room will either be cat-only or have sufficient visual barriers to stop direct contact with dogs, cats, and other animals. This might feature raised surfaces to place the cats on if they’re still stressed. There should be longer consultation times that allow for the safe handling of your cat, ensuring that it never feels rushed or stressed.

In addition, if the vet has hospitalisation wards, these will feature large, opaque cages with soft beddings and a hiding place such as an igloo or box. And the vets will only utilise surgical, diagnostic, and laboratory equipment specifically tailored for feline medicine and treatments.

The Difference A Cat-Friendly Clinic Makes

Taking precautions towards your cat’s comfort and visiting a cat-friendly clinic makes a huge difference to their quality of life and safety. With the need for neutering and booster cat or kitten vaccinations every twelve months, you’ll want what might be sometimes frequent visits to be smooth and stress-free for both you and your pet.

The notion that cats are self-sufficient pets isn’t always true, they have actually evolved to hide signs of poor health, and some cats need especially regular checkups. Whatsmore, a feline-friendly clinic can ensure that your cat is stress-free not demonstrating altered behaviour that can complicate medical issues or diagnoses. Having your kitten go to a cat-friendly vet at an early stage in its life is also an excellent way to prepare it well for the life ahead, accustoming it to new environments and making it easier to travel with in the future.

Your Local Cat-Friendly Small Animal Practice

Bay Vets are a community veterinary surgery which is accredited as a Cat-Friendly Clinic by the International Society of Feline Medicine, passing their rigorous adherence to specific criteria of equipment, staff training, facilities, and more. We are a small animal practice that, quite simply, wants the best for you and your pets, and were delighted to ensure our practice was fun and stress-free for feline friends.

With veterinary surgeries in Lancaster, Morecambe, Milnthorpe, and Caton, we treat the felines of Lancashire and Cumbria with pride, with our services including both kitten and cat vaccinations, as well as neutering. If you’ve got any dogs we’re also able to help, offering neutering, vaccinations, as well as other services such as dentistry and puppy parties.

If you think something is the matter with your pet, we have several resources to help on our website, including our healthcare advice portal as well as our video library. Contact us by either emailing us at emailing or by registering your pet online today.