No one likes going to the doctor, and then there are cats.
They are typically reclusive, cautious of anything that moves. Add in the strange smells and barking dogs at a veterinarian’s office, and it’s no wonder that about half of owners don’t make appointments after their cat is more than a year old, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Also, most cat owners are unaware that felines tend to hide their illnesses, and they even hide themselves when they're ill. Sometimes by the time an owner realizes their cat is sick, the cat is very sick.
Jen Kronkright, the hospital manager of San Bruno Pet Hospital, hopes to change that. She has worked for San Bruno Pet to achieve accreditation from the AAFP, to be the first of its kind in the area where they are certified as a “Feline Friendly Practice.”
According to the AAFP, cats are the clear pet of choice, with many more owned cats than dogs (86 million cats versus 78 million dogs in the U.S.). Yet, when it comes to a cat’s health, we don’t always treat them the same. Cats may be number one in a pet owner’s heart, but dogs seem to receive more consistent and regular veterinary health care. Surprisingly, cat wellness and veterinary care do not appear to be as high of a priority among cat owners. Consider this:
“Our hospital has been around for so many years (since 1947) and I think it’s fantastic that we’re not afraid to innovate and try to do things differently. For decades, all of our clients are used to coming in the front door that faces El Camino Real. Now we’re asking our cat owners to let us know when they’ve arrived by ringing the doorbell on our south entrance. Then we can escort them straight into our new Feline Lounge. This way they can avoid all contact with canines and hopefully achieve a less stressful visit for them and their humans.”
- Almost twice as many cats than dogs never visit the veterinarian*
- Of the cats that do visit the veterinarian, they average 26 percent fewer visits than dogs*
- 58% of cat owners report that their cat hates going to the veterinarian*
- 38% of cat owners report that they get stressed just thinking about bringing their cat to the veterinarian.*
- 56% of cat owners would have brought their cat to the vet more often had they known it could have helped to prevent problems. *
The practice’s new entrance and Feline Lounge, she said, are tailored to felines.
“Between San Mateo and San Francisco we are the only certified Cat Friendly Practice,” she said. “It’s a fairly new concept. It’s something that makes sense when people stop to think about it, because it’s terrifying for cats to go the vet’s office. People own millions of cats, but most don’t take them in because they don’t want to put them in that environment and give them a negative experience.”
San Bruno Pet Hospital sees cats for general medicine, sick visits, dental care, pain management, nutrition and behavioral issues.
“This new concept is all about the fear free visit,” Kronkright said. “Everything in our Feline Lounge from the decor to the feline pheromone diffuser are designed just for cats to calm them down. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the AAFP got together and did all of these studies to figure out the best environment for cats going to the vet.”
*More info can be found in this video from the Amercian Association of Feline Practitioners
“I hope that for the cat’s sake many more (Cat Friendly Practices) open up in the Peninsula,” she said. “I’m all about the animals. It’d be great if a lot more became accredited too.”