Animal Hospital of North Asheville certified as a Gold Standard Cat Friendly Practice

Press release

From North Asheville Animal Hospital

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has certified Animal Hospital of North Asheville (AHNA) as a Gold Standard Cat Friendly Practice.

The Cat Friendly Practice program is designed to recognize hospitals that provide the highest level of care to cats and recognize those that also abide by practices that make cats feel relaxed. Only a small number of hospitals achieve the Gold Standard level of certification. At this time, AHNA is one of three hospitals in North Carolina to achieve this recognition.

What makes Animal Hospital of North Asheville a Cat Friendly Practice?

The facility:

·The facility allows cats to avoid being in the same room with a dog and to avoid even being where a dog has been. Unless a cat is under anesthesia or undergoing diagnostic imaging or chemotherapy, there are separate facilities that are just for cats.

·All cat areas are designed and located to stay quiet and calm.

·The separate feline entrance and waiting area allows cats to have a quieter and more relaxing beginning to exams.

The three Feline Only Exam rooms have Feliway pheromone diffusers (all feline areas of the hospital have Feliway diffusers), which immediately help to calm cats and reduce stress. Cats can sense when dogs have occupied a space, so dogs are kept out of the Feline Only Exam rooms. The cat exam room area is designated as a “quiet zone” in the hospital, since cats do not like loud noises. All cat’s preferences are allowed during exams. For example, some cats like to stay partially hidden under a towel during exams and some cats like to be in the lap of a family member. Cats are always treated gently and quietly.

Cat treatments and procedures are performed in the exam room with the owner’s presence or in our designated Quiet Cat Treatment area, which is designed to keep cats from ever encountering a dog during their visit. This room is also designed for cats as they do not like to be held tightly, and in this room, there is no harm that can come to them if they need a few minutes to get off the table and relax. Family members are always welcome and encouraged to accompany their cats during procedures. Families are always welcome to stay with or visit hospitalized patients.

Feline ICU is a quiet spot for sick and shy cat patients. Cat condos in ICU and the ward have thermostatically warmed floors and provide separate spaces for a bed, food, and litter pan. Hiding places are provided for patients who want a little more privacy. Cat patients are provided lots of soft bedding. The main feline ward is bright and sunny, and includes a sunroom with a cat tree for kitties who need to stretch their legs a bit. A TV with cat-centric videos provides visual stimulus.

Digital x-rays, ultrasound, digital dental x-rays, cat-specific pain management protocols, and careful anesthetic monitoring and body temperature maintenance all aid in providing for the special medical needs of cats.

The Staff:
All staff members have received training in the gentle handling of cats and will continue to be kept abreast of all new information on how to best keep cats calm and happy.

Doctors attend extensive cat-oriented continuing education at national meetings and the AAFP’s annual conferences.

The hospital requires more continuing education hours for our veterinarians than the state requires as keeping abreast of new treatments and procedures is critically important in providing the best care.

The dental doctors have years of experience and training in managing the special dental needs of cats such as feline resorptive lesions and feline stomatitis.

Dr. Caroline Kiss is Board Certified in both Feline and Canine Medicine.

As part of the Cat Friendly Practice program, several staff members are designated Feline Advocates within the hospital. They are in charge of ensuring that the hospital is continually striving to improve the experiences cats have at Animal Hospital of North Asheville.

Cats have unique needs and personalities, and it can be stressful for them to be away from their normal home environment. By following and exceeding the standards set forth in the Cat Friendly Practice program, AHNA is constantly working to reduce that stress. Many people assume that cats don’t need veterinary care because they don’t show signs of illness as clearly or they don’t go outdoors. But preventive health care is very important for your cat companion, in part because their signs of early illness are so subtle. Annual examinations and blood tests can detect, among other things, early liver or kidney decline and add years of quality life. By providing gentle and empathetic office visits, the ultimate goal is to provide excellent preventive and illness care to cats so that they can live a longer, happier life!

For more information about the Cat Friendly Practice program, please visit the AAFP’s website at

Animal Hospital of North Asheville is Asheville’s first AAHA Certified Hospital since 1979. Our mission is to provide pets with the highest level of medical, dental and surgical care possible. We deliver expert veterinary care with integrity and compassion, and we do so by seeing ourselves through the eyes of our patients.


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