The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) have published two new sets of guidelines for vets and practices to promote positive, respectful interactions with feline patients and reduce the stress associated with the veterinary environment.

The ‘2022 AAFP/ISFM Cat Friendly Veterinary Interaction Guidelines: Approach and Handling Techniques’ and the ‘2022 ISFM/AAFP Cat Friendly Veterinary Environment Guidelines’ cover all aspects of a cat’s veterinary experience, including the journey to the practice and interactions with veterinary team members, as well as the clinical environment.   

The new guidelines cover things like:

  • Implementing cat friendly interactions and minimal handling.
  • Educating cat caregivers about how to reduce distress when travelling to the veterinary practice.
  • Creating an experience that considers the cat’s natural behaviours and altering an approach to each individual cat.
  • Creating an environment that considers and implements ways to reduce fear–anxiety, and promotes positive emotions and behaviours that cats find comforting.
  • Ensuring the entire veterinary team understands species-specific behaviour and individual differences (and how this affects the entire veterinary visit/experience).
  • Understanding how to identify the cat’s emotional state and the subsequent behavioural response (and what to do in each situation).

Dr Nathalie Dowgray, Head of ISFM (pictured right), said: "We are extremely proud of our new guidelines; they have been a lot of hard work with large amounts of literature to review and multiple time zones to work across, but the effort has been worth it.

"We hope all veterinarians working with cats will take the time to read them and apply the concepts and ideas to their clinics and to how they personally interact with their feline patients.’ 

The guidelines are available at: 

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