Cat care starts with you
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 malnutrition2. 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.