SPECIAL ARTICLE / AAFP/ISFM guidelines on feline-friendly handling SUMMARY POINTS
✜ Increased veterinary care for cats will significantly improve their health and welfare. ✜ Clients need to feel confident about bringing their cats to veterinary practices.
✜ Increased awareness of feline behavior on the part of the veterinary team may improve handling techniques and increase the frequency of health care visits.
✜ Relatively small and simple steps at each stage of the veterinary visit can make it a significantly happier and less stressful experience for all.
Further resources for veterinary teams and/or clients
Websites and online information See Table 1.
Useful reading Some of the below are available in electronic format; check with the publisher or supplier for information
Beaver B. Feline behavior: a guide for veterinarians. Saunders, 2003.
A handout designed for clients is available to accompany these guidelines at www.catvets.com
. It discusses strategies for an owner to use at home that can facilitate a less stressful visit to the vet. Suggestions are included for acclimating cats to be more comfortable with carriers and become more familiar with handling that may be encountered at the veterinary practice.
1 Flanigan J, Shepherd A, Majchrzak S, Kirkpatrick D, San Filippo M. US pet ownership & demographics sourcebook. Schaumburg, IL: American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007: 1–3.
2 Hoyumpa A, Rodan I, Brown M, et al. AAFP–AAHA Feline Life Stage Guidelines. J Feline Med Surg 2010; 12: 43–54.
3 Greco DS. The effect of stress on the evaluation of feline patients. In: August JR, ed. Feline internal medicine. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1991: 13–17.
4 Carlstead K, Brown JL, Strawn W. Behavioral and physiological correlates of stress in laboratory cats. Appl Anim Behav Sci 1993; 38: 143–58.
5 Kaname H, Mori Y, Sumida Y, et al. Changes in the leukocyte dis- tribution and surface expression of adhesion molecules induced by hypothalamic stimulation in the cat. Brain Behav Immun 2002; 16: 351–67.
Bowen J, Heath S. Behaviour problems in small animals. Elsevier Saunders, 2005. Bohnenkamp G. From the cat’s point of view. Perfect Paws Publishing, 1991.
Heath S. Why is my cat doing that? Hamlyn/Thunder Bay Press, 2009. Horwitz D, Landsberg G. (Edited for UK by Heath, Mills and Zulch, and for Australia by Seksel). Lifelearn behavior client handouts. www.lifelearn-cliented.com
. Horwitz D, Mills D (eds). BSAVA manual of canine and feline behavioural medicine. 2nd edn. British Small Animal Veterinary Association, 2009.
Horwitz D, Neilson J. Blackwell’s five-minute veterinary consult. Clinical companion: canine and feline behavior. Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Landsberg G, Hunthausen H, Ackerman L. Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat. 2nd edn. Elsevier, 2003. Moffat K. Addressing canine and feline aggression in the veterinary clinic. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2008; 8: 983–1003. Seksel K. Training your cat. Hyland House Publications, 2001. Yin S. Low stress handling, restraint and behavior modification of dogs & cats (book and DVD). CattleDog Publishing, 2009.
The AAFP and ISFM would like to thank Boehringer Ingelheim, Nestlé Purina and IDEXX Laboratories for their sponsorship of these guidelines and for their commitment to helping the veteri nary community develop projects that will improve the lives of cats.
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6 Jeyaretnam J, Jones H, Phillip M. Disease and injury among veteri- narians. Aust Vet J 2000; 78: 625–29.
7 Overall KL. Normal feline behavior: clinical behavioral medicine for small animals. St Louis: Mosby, 1997: 45.
8 Griffin B, Hume KR. Recognition and management of stress in housed cats. In: August J (ed). Consultations in feline internal med- icine. 5th edn. St Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 2006: 717–33.
9 Bowen J, Heath S. An overview of feline social behaviour and communication: behaviour problems in small animals: practice advice for the veterinary team. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2005: 29, 31, 164.
10 Karsh EB. The effects of early and late handling on the attachment of cats to people. In: Anderson RK, Hart BL, Hart LA (eds). The pet connection. St Paul: Globe Press, 1983: 207–15.
11 Crowell-Davis S, Curtis T, Knowles R. Social organization in the cat: a modern understanding. J Feline Med Surg 2004; 6: 19.
12 Macdonald DW, Yamaguchi N, Kerby G. Group-living in the domestic cat: its sociobiology and epidemiology. In Turner DC, Bateson P (eds). The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000: 14, 95.
13 Overall K, Panaman R. Behaviour and ecology of free-ranging female farm cats (Felis catus L.). Z Tierpsychol 1981; 56: 59–73.
14 Griffin B, Hume KR. Recognition and management of stress in housed cats. In August J (ed). Consultations in feline internal med- icine. 5th edn. St Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 2006: 717–33.
15 Passanisi NC, Macdonald DW. Group discrimination on the basis of urine in a farm cat colony. In: Macdonald DW, Müller- Schwarze D, Natynczuk SE (eds). Chemical signals in vertebrates. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990: 339–41.
16 MacDonald DW. The carnivores: order Carnivora. In: Brown RE,
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