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AAFP Celebrates 10 Years of Cat Friendly Practice Program


Press release: AAFP

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) Program. Established in 2012 by the AAFP and the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the CFP Program is designed to elevate care for cats by enhancing the environment and experience of a veterinary visit to reduce the stress for the cat, cat owner, and the veterinary care team. The CFP designation demonstrates that the veterinary practice has committed to provide the highest standards of care for cats and assures cat owners that a practice has taken extra time and effort to consider each cat’s experience and care.

At the heart of the CFP Program is the opportunity to assist a practice in implementing creative solutions to create a better experience for each cat visit. This includes reducing stress during the visit by understanding and assessing the environment from the cat’s point of view.

An exclusive membership benefit of the AAFP, veterinary practices are encouraged to obtain the CFP designation and demonstrate their commitment to excellence for feline care. The AAFP provides an extensive Toolkit of marketing resources, client education materials, exclusive newsletter content, and a public directory for cat owners to search for CFP-designated practices for their cat care.

“Over the last decade, the foundation of the AAFP’s Cat Friendly Practice Program has been at the forefront of advancing feline healthcare,” said Heather O’Steen, AAFP CEO. “The Cat Friendly Practice Program provides a simple, step-by-step guide on how to create a veterinary environment and experience that reduces stress and puts feline patients at ease so that veterinary professionals can provide the highest level of care and build long-lasting client relationships. We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and applaud our members who have made this commitment and earned a CFP designation.”

In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the Cat Friendly Practice Program, the AAFP is rolling out a suite of activities and educational materials to celebrate and just a few include:

  • Updates to the feline handling and nursing care guidelines, which will be launched as two cutting-edge resources – Cat Friendly Veterinary Interactions Guidelines and Cat Friendly Veterinary Environment Guidelines.
  • Cat Friendly Practices will receive special care packages mailed to their practice as well as new marketing materials to use which are located in the online Cat Friendly Practice Marketing Toolkit.
  • The release of a new education program designed for cat caregivers.
  • A special celebration of our CFPs and the 10th anniversary hosted during the 2022 AAFP Annual Conference, which takes place October 27 to 30 in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Distribution of a report that demonstrates how Cat Friendly Practices experience fewer injuries among practice team members because of the Cat Friendly techniques that they employ.

Results of the 2021 Cat Friendly Practice survey demonstrate significant benefits to the cat, caregiver, and veterinary team. Respondents cited the top benefits of the program as providing less stress on feline patients, a higher client satisfaction rate with the veterinary visit, a dedicated display of care for their feline patients, and improved client retention and frequency of visits. Additional key findings in the survey include a 99 percent satisfaction rate from current CFP practices and a 92% positive team dynamic impact when handling, treating, and caring for cats.

The AAFP expresses deep appreciation to our industry and organizational partners that make the Cat Friendly Practice Program possible. The Cat Friendly Practice® Program is proudly sponsored by Zoetis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ceva Animal Health, Elanco, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, IDEXX, Merck Animal Health, Purina Veterinary Diets, and Royal Canin, and with the support of Wedgewood Pharmacy. The Program is endorsed by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, CATalyst Council, Cat Healthy, EveryCat Health Foundation, and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.

We encourage veterinary practices to take the first step in becoming a designated CFP by joining the AAFP. We are eager to assist more practices that are motivated to make the commitment to become a Cat Friendly Practice. For clinics not quite ready to take that step, we encourage individual team members to enroll in the Cat Friendly Certificate Program. The Cat Friendly Certificate Program aims to build your knowledge, skills, and best in-clinic practices for feline care based on the individual’s role within a practice. We ask every veterinary professional to consider employing new Cat Friendly techniques this year and encourage you to apply for the CFP Program or enroll in the Cat Friendly Certificate Program.

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