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  • Cat Friendly Clinic - Bringing Your Cat To The Vets

Cats are independent, territorial animals that need to be in control of their surroundings and are sensitive to different smells. These things can make visits to a vet clinic stressful.

Look for a good veterinary clinic
Look for a veterinary clinic that knows and understands cats, and tries to reduce the stress for cats - ideally find a clinic accredited under the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) Cat Friendly Clinic standard.

Choose a good carrier for your cat

  • It should be robust and easy to clean (plastic or plastic-coated)
  • Top-opening carriers are easier – the cat can be gently lifted in or out
  • Cover the carrier with a blanket or towel during the journey to keep the cat calm
  • Secure the carrier in the car in a footwell or seat so it cannot move
  • Hold the carrier carefully – avoid swinging it or banging it against objects

Familiar smells will make your cat less stressed

  • Use the carrier at home – encourage your cat to sleep or be fed in the carrier, so it does not only appear when there is a vet visit!
  • Put bedding or clothing that smells of home in the carrier
  • Rub a cloth around the cat’s face to pick up scent, then rub this around the carrier and leave it inside
  • Spray the carrier with Feliway® (if available), 30 minutes before using it
  • If your cat panics, wrap him/her in a thick blanket and put both in the carrier
  • Take spare bedding (smelling of home) in case the cat soils the carrier

In the waiting room
Find an accredited ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic, and look for:

  • A separate cat waiting room, or a separate area for cats
  • Shelves or raised areas so the cat carrier can be placed off the floor
  • Choose a quiet location and keep the cat carrier covered
  • If needed, perhaps keep your cat in the car until you are seen by the vet

In the consulting room
An ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic has promised that all staff treat cats gently, respectfully and with proper skill

  • Staff should take time to allow cats to calm down
  • If you don’t understand anything, ask for further explanation
  • If you are unsure about administering medications, ask a vet, nurse or assistant to help you

Staying at the clinic
An ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic will meet certain standards. You should not be afraid to ask to see where your cat will be staying. Look for:

  • A separate, calm, cat ward; or a separate area within the hospital ward for cats
  • Solid, clean and secure cages that are of a good size to allow a comfortable bed, litter tray, food bowls etc adequately separated from each other
  • Comfortable bedding, and somewhere for a cat to hide
  • A clinic that allows you to leave your own bedding for the cat, that smells of your home
  • If your cat is being kept in the clinic, ask when you can visit

Cat Friendly Clinic is a programme from the International Society of Feline Medicine, the veterinary division of the charity International Cat Care (

The programme is generously supported by: Purina in Europe