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Sugarland Animal Hospital accredited cat friendly

Sugarland Animal Hospital. Video: Morgan Everett

A Bundaberg veterinary hospital has taken extra steps to ensure cats and their owners feel comfortable and stress-free when visiting their clinic.

Dr Michael Woodham from Sugarland Animal Hospital said by obtaining special accreditation as a Cat Friendly Clinic (CFC), he and his staff had been able to transform their building in Heidke Street to include a special area just for the furry felines.

“We are one of few veterinary hospitals in Australia that have been able to achieve this accreditation,” he said.

“What it basically means is that we understand cats are unique pets.”

The CFC program has been developed by the International Society of Feline Medicine and aims to promote the well-being and high standards of care for all cats visiting or being hospitalised in a veterinary clinic.

Under the program, a clinic has to prove rigorous adherence to a set of criteria which includes provision of facilities and demonstration of staff activities and attitudes aimed at reducing stress in cats, both as in-patients and out-patients.

Felines feel safe at Sugarland Animal Hospital

Doctor Mike said the program was beneficial because many cat owners often felt a trip to the vet was quite stressful for their pet, which meant many were bypassing vital check-ups altogether.

To combat this, he said the animal hospital had worked out specific ways to help de stress cats once they were in the building.

“One of the most stressful things for owners is having to walk into the hospital and having their cat faced with a dog, so we have eliminated that risk by creating a separate area for cats,” Dr Mike said.

“We try to make the experience as calm and as stress-free as we can for the cats.”

Dr Mike said there was not only a separate “parking area” for cats and cat owners to wait for their appointment but also a cat-only consultation room filled with all sorts of treats.

“There are no dog smells in this room and we have set it out so it is peaceful and calm,” he said.

“We put nice cat pheromones in the air and we also make some toys and things available for them so they can explore.

“We involve treats, patting and toys- our secret weapon is cubby holes that we have featured in the room.”

Dr Mike said the cat accreditation was important as it gave the hospital the opportunity to show a next-level of care and commitment to their clients.

“We are the only veterinary hospital north of Brisbane that have been able to achieve this level of accreditation,” he said.

“It was a lengthy and thorough process.

“We are very proud to have obtained this accreditation and we feel very privileged to look after this little guys.”

To find out more about Sugarland Animal Hospital click here.