Cat care starts with you

Cat care starts with you

Feline healthcare is in crisis stage, says CATalyst's director.
Aug 01, 2008
By staff

Dr. Jane Brunt
Feline healthcare is in crisis stage, says Dr. Jane Brunt, CATalyst Council secretary and past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). Her proof? Cats are half as likely than dogs to visit the veterinarian, according to the 2007 AVMA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

To improve this statistic, veterinarians need to make a habit of considering the globally recognized Five Freedoms when they deal with every cat, whether outpatient or hospitalized. Brunt says veterinarians have a responsibility to provide all of their patients with:

1. Freedom from hunger, thirst, and malnutrition

2. Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort

3. Freedom from fear and distress

4. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease

5. Freedom to express normal behavior patterns, as long as they don't cause injury.

Of greatest importance to cats is freedom from fear, distress, and pain, which have historically been difficult to recognize and mitigate. To learn more about how to recognize and understand these challenges to feline health, Dr. Brunt suggests that practitioners read the information that's available, such as the AAFP Behavior Guidelines and the AAHA/AAFP Pain Guidelines.

In the meantime, veterinarians must take a hard look at the care they provide cats. Dr. Brunt says doctors must adopt the right "cattitude." This means learning about normal feline behavior and helping clients realize that some so-called behavior problems are really indicators of health problems. It also means implementing feline-friendly features into your practice and understanding that less is more when it comes to handling cats.

Hot topics on dvm360

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

You might be surprised by what your clients are researching. Plus, get an educational client handout.

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.