2022 ISFM/AAFP Cat Friendly Veterinary Environment Guidelines

Publicado em: 24/11/2022

Practical relevance: The ‘2022 ISFM/AAFP Cat Friendly Veterinary Environment Guidelines’ (hereafter the ‘Cat Friendly Veterinary Environment Guidelines’) describe how the veterinary clinic
environment can be manipulated to minimise feline patient distress. Many components of a veterinary clinic visit or stay may result in negative experiences for cats. However, much can be
done to improve a cat’s experience by making the veterinary clinic more cat friendly. Exposure to other cats and other species can be reduced, and adjustments made with consideration of the feline senses and species-specific behaviour. Caregivers can prepare cats for a clinic visit with appropriate advice. Waiting rooms, examination rooms, hospital wards and other clinic areas can be designed and altered to reduce stress and hence encourage positive emotions. Changes need not be structural or expensive in order to be effective and make a difference to the cats and, in turn, to cat caregivers and the veterinary team. Moreover, by improving the all-round experience at the veterinary clinic, there are positive effects on preventive healthcare, identification of and recovery from illness, and compliance with treatment.

Clinical challenges: Good feline healthcare necessitates visiting the veterinary clinic, which, simply by being outside of a cat’s territory and familiar surroundings, may lead to negative experiences. Such experiences can trigger negative (protective) emotions and associated physiological stress, which can result in misleading clinical findings, patient distress, prolonged recovery from illness, further difficulties with handling at subsequent visits and potential veterinary personnel injury. There may be a mistaken belief that veterinary clinics must undergo significant renovation or building work to become cat friendly, and that, if species cannot be separated, then clinics cannot improve their care of cats. These Guidelines aim to dispel any such misconceptions and provide detailed practical advice.

Evidence base: These Guidelines have been created by a Task Force of experts convened by the International Society of Feline Medicine and American Association of Feline Practitioners, based on an extensive literature review and, where evidence is lacking, the authors’ experience.

Endorsements: These Guidelines have been endorsed by a number of groups and organisations, as detailed on page 1161 and at icatcare.org/cat-friendly-guidelines and catvets.com/environment.
Keywords: Cat Friendly Clinic; Cat Friendly Practice; waiting room; examination room; hospital wards; cat friendly equipment; treatment room; ICU

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