Cat Friendly Practice: What Does It Mean?

Cat friendly practice may be a term you’ve heard thrown around before as it relates to veterinary hospitals and practices. But what does it really mean? We’re here to help answer these questions, because the Animal Hospital of Sussex County is a cat friendly practice, and it’s important to us that you understand how that sets us apart from other practices when it comes to care for your feline friends.

We’ve taken special steps to achieve the cat friendly practice certification. It’s more than just saying we love cats, there are very specific things we need to do in order to be official as per the AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners).

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Cat Friendly Clinic Criteria

Some of the key criteria we need to meet in order to receive our cat friendly clinic certification are outlined below.

    • A specific waiting room / area that reduces stress for cats such as a cats-only waiting room, or a barrier blocking visual contact with other pets such as dogs, that can increase stress levels in cats
    • Ongoing training and education for the clinic staff on feline medical care, behavior, communication, and feline-friendly handling techniques
    • Feline specific exam rooms that have a safe non-threatening area where cats can be examined calmly and effectively.
    • Feline-trained staff who recognize subtle, early signs of sickness, fear, or anxiety, and adapt appropriately.
    • Veterinary facility with specific equipment, settings, etc., to make cats feel more comfortable and meet their needs.


  • Focus on providing a safe, low-stress environment for the cat from when they walk in the door and throughout the entire exam

You can also read more on our What Does “Cat Friendly Clinic” Really Mean? blog post as well as download the full AAFP Cat Friendly Brochure.


Why Cat Friendly Clinic Certification Matters

What does all of this really mean to you, as a cat owner? It means that going to a cat friendly clinic can assure the comfort and lowest possible stress level for your cat when visiting the vet. Just like dogs, cats need regular veterinary checkups in order to live long, healthy lives. But many cat owners are reluctant to bring their cats to the vet unless absolutely necessary because of the stress involved for their cats – and for them!

Did you know that 8% of cat owners report that their cat hates going to the veterinarian and 38% report they get stressed just thinking about bringing their cat to the practice?¹

We know that transporting kitty can be a challenge, so we’ve gone out of our way to make it as easy as possible for you once you arrive. With everything from quiet waiting areas, cat-only exam rooms, and more, we want you and your kitty to feel comfortable and be able to come to the office to get great care whenever you need it.

By providing cat friendly areas and being a cat friendly certified clinic, we know that you’re more likely to be willing to come in with your cat for regular checkups and healthcare needs, something that is often overlooked for cats because they tend to not complain the way dogs do. Things like annual visits and vaccinations, dental cleanings, and so many other regular health services are critical for a cat’s longevity and health.

You can learn more about the importance of regularly scheduled vet visits and why going to a Cat Friendly Clinic as certified by the AAFP in this great video below. To get an in-depth look at the AAFP’s CFP designation and how it can benefit cats and their owners check out their recent debut on the TV show Innovations with Ed Begley Jr., which aired on The Discovery Channel.

The Benefits of a Cat Friendly Practice

So many things can be uncovered by regular veterinary visits with your cat, to a cat friendly practice, that can reduce long term health care costs. Many cat illnesses and diseases that come with age can be caught early if your cat is seen by a vet at least once annually. When caught early, many health issues and diseases such as some heart and thyroid issues can be treated and even cured with great success and at a much lower cost than if they go undetected.

And of course, because the Animal Hospital of Sussex County has a full services lab, dental, and surgical facilities, including cryosurgery options, we can take care of almost everything you need right there in house. This means getting the care and information you need as quickly as possible with as little stress possible for you and your cat.

Don’t wait any longer. Schedule your appointment to help your kitty live a long and happy, healthy life.