Södra Animal Hospital's specialised cat clinic speaks the language of cats
In recognition of International Cat Day on 8th August, we visit Södra Animal Hospital in Stockholm, where IVC Evidensia has invested in a separate cat clinic – completely adapted to the needs and wellbeing of cats.
The tailor-made space, together with the team’s specific cat expertise, meet all the criteria for a cat-friendly clinic. For example, in the waiting room there are blankets to put over cages for peace and quiet, the wall shelves mean that the cages do not have to stand directly on the floor, and - with hidden spaces - the cats do not have to sit opposite each other, which can cause distress for some.
The feeling of reassurance follows cats and their owners into the examination and treatment rooms. Just like in the waiting room, there are calming scent dispensers in the walls and the colleagues spray themselves with the same scent. Cats are ‘escape’ animals and want to be able to hide. That instinct is considered during examination, which is done with a blanket and non-slip mat on the table. All rooms have windows so the cats can see what's going on outside, and all rooms are free from elements that could cause concern. Inpatient cats in the care, surgery and recovery wards also have their own cattery.
The entire project was driven by colleagues at Södra, who felt passionate about making the cats as comfortable as possible during their visits to the clinic: with over 48% of all pet patients at the clinic being cats – the investment is already paying off. “The interest and encouragement from both colleagues and cat owners has been a strong contributing factor to the fact that today we have a brand new cat clinic”, says My Peterson, who is head of department.
Prior to opening the separate space, Södra Animal Hospital had already achieved Gold Standard Cat Friendly Certification. This is an international quality seal for animal hospitals and animal clinics that have adapted their operations to be able to care for and treat cats in the best way, and have trained colleagues working in the clinic for this purpose, with the overall goal being to make every visit less stressful for the cat.
“Handling the cat requires that you have to rethink and think about the cat's ways”, explains Sanna Eklund, veterinarian and head of department. “An example is blood sampling, which is easier on dogs. Cats, on the other hand, rarely sit still on command and don't like being held by their paws or legs, so we find other options that cats are comfortable with.
“Cats always want to feel loose and flexible, so the pronounced escape behaviour makes itself felt as soon as the cat feels that someone is holding on too tightly. Our veterinarians and animal nurses take courses in cat handling, so it becomes 100% natural for them to work based on the cat's needs and how it reacts in different situations.”
At IVC Evidensia, our Customer Promise is all about world-class veterinary care, delivered locally. This significant investment in our Evidensia Södra Animal Hospital is yet another good example of how our size and scale is enabling us to invest for the benefit of our people, the animals they care for, and our customers. The animals we treat are able to receive the best possible care and benefit from the latest clinical solutions, equipment and technologies.