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Feline stress at the vet is no joke

Halifax Veterinary Hospital on Quinpool Road becomes certified as “cat-friendly.”

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Sick kitty, sad kitty. - SHANE SONG
  • SHANE SONG
  • Sick kitty, sad kitty.

Just like people, cats hate going to the doctor. OK, they especially hate it—as the claw marks on any cat-owner who's had to make a trip to the vet can attest. Some good news then for customers of the Halifax Veterinary Hospital on Quinpool Road.

The veterinary hospital was recently certified as a cat-friendly practice by the American Association of Feline Practitioners—a professional organization of cat doctors dedicated to quality healthcare for felines.

The designation is good news for anyone who faces bloodshed and battle trying to get their cat to the vet. Its certification means the veterinary hospital has taken steps to create "feline-conscious standards" and can now provide a calming cat environment, according to a press release announcing the upgrades.

The hospital staff has been trained to handle cats in a way that doesn't freak the little buggers out, and the waiting room now includes a cats-only side with a table to rest pet carriers above the frothing sea of scampering dogs down on the floor. Cats outside of their carriers are free to enjoy cat towers and scratching posts, provided free of charge.

All dog odours have also been purged from inside the cold feline examination room, which now has a traction mat on the exam table so the kitties don't slide around.

"Halifax Veterinary Hospital is thrilled to continue to offer leading feline care and cater to their examinations, procedures, and other healthcare needs," writes hospital media relations spokesperson Melanie Taljaard.

For owners looking to decrease stress before a visit, try playing doctor at home with some fake exams to get your cat accustomed to its mouth, ears and paws being examined. Practice visits when the kitty isn't already stressed from being sick can also help calm them when a real trip is needed. And remember to stay calm yourself! Pets can sense when their owners are anxious and that nervousness will only rub off on them. Keep cool and avoid sudden movements and loud noises.

Bear those tips in mind, and you and your feline friend will hopefully have a calm, relaxing visit next time they need a check-up.

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