Explore Cat Healthy’s Preventive Healthcare Protocols. They enable and support your team in providing preventive healthcare while helping cat parents better understand the need for consistent veterinary care.


Elevating the standard of care

According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) Pet Population Survey of 2020, 58% of Canadian households report that they live with at least one dog or cat. 8.1 million cats and 7.7 million dogs were considered to be household pets. The number of cats receiving veterinary care increased more significantly during the pandemic than for dogs.

Working from home may have offered cats greater scrutiny. There remains a serious disconnect, however, in that many feline family members are not receiving adequate preventive healthcare. In part this is due to owners not being aware of their cats’ needs. Additionally, for many owners, the stresses of travelling to the veterinary hospital and those associated with the veterinary visit itself act as deterrents from seeking preventive healthcare. As a consequence, there is a need for the veterinary profession in Canada to focus on providing these services for more cats as well as educating cat owners about the benefits of preventive healthcare in increasing longevity and quality of life.

An unspoken part of the problem is that many veterinary care providers feel that compared with dogs, cats are unpredictable, and they feel uncomfortable handling them. As well, feline medical problems are perceived as more difficult to diagnose and treat than those in dogs. Consider becoming a certified Cat Friendly Practice with Cat Friendly Associates. All members of the veterinary team, and all of the other community animal advocates (e.g., animal welfare groups, municipal animal services, public health officials, and the pet industry including retail services), must deliver a consistent message regarding the benefits of preventive healthcare.

The Cat Healthy Preventive Healthcare Protocols are based on published evidence wherever possible, as well as the consensus of a group of board-certified feline practitioners. We have tried to create a concise, practical, user-friendly, realistic, and accessible resource that will be used on a daily basis in practice.

It is our hope that these protocols will enable and support veterinary teams in providing their feline patients with much-needed preventive healthcare in a way that will encourage cat parents to better understand the need for, and provide the same level of care for, their feline family members that their canine counterparts receive.

How to implement these protocols

  • Designate a project leader. Select someone who understands cats, has an interest in feline medicine, and is willing to coach other members of the veterinary team. The leader should suggest changes to procedures and staff behaviours as well as to facilities and equipment that will help incorporate the protocols into your practice.
  • Use action planning. Include veterinary healthcare team meetings to assess progress and make adjustments to the original plan.
  • Encourage success with training sessions. Learning about and understanding the protocols can take the form of role-playing or question and answer sessions and should be as interactive as possible. Team members should understand the importance of these recommendations for the quality of life and longevity of the practice’s feline patients.
  • Pick two or three changes to focus on first. Incremental progress will be more successful than trying to implement all of the recommendations at once.
  • Hold periodic meetings. Discuss the best approaches for implementing these protocols, review the progress that has been made, and find solutions to problems.

The protocols below are based on a wide variety of general topics. As always, it is up to the practitioner to tailor preventive care plans to the individual patient.

Did you know?

The owned cat population in Canada is growing at a rate of 3.6% annually, which is higher than the increase of households.