An award-winning Black Country vet practice has been honoured for its care of cats by the prestigious International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM).

Blacks Vets, which has practices in Lye, Oldbury, Sedgley and Quinton, has seen its Dudley animal hospital recognised as a silver level cat-friendly clinic (CFC) by the ISFM.

Sophie Evans, cat advocate at Linnaeus-owned Blacks Vets, said the prestigious award was recognition of the hospital’s determination to promote wellbeing and the highest standards of care for all cats visiting them.  

Sophie said: “We’re incredibly proud to have achieved this prestigious silver cat-friendly clinic status for our Dudley hospital. 

“As a cat-friendly clinic, we are trained to handle cats in a manner that minimises stress, fear and anxiety, as well as advising clients on the best way to safely and comfortably transport their cats to us.

The ISFM launched the cat-friendly clinic initiative to encourage veterinary clinics to make changes to improve the welfare of cats in their care.

The programme advises practices on how to make their environment as welcoming as possible for cats, as well as providing support in staff training, handling techniques and cat-specific client care.

Sophie added: “The ISFM examines the provision of facilities and staff activities and attitudes aimed at reducing stress in cats, both as in-patients and out-patients.

"Its criteria include having separate dog and cat waiting areas, feline-friendly hospitalisation cages and veterinary equipment specifically for treating cats.

“We had to demonstrate that the team here at Dudley understands the needs of cats and always strive to make visits to us cat-friendly.

“We also showed we always handle cats gently and in line with the ISFM feline-friendly handling and nursing care guidelines, along with making a pledge to be ‘scruff free’. 

“Clinics are also expected to maintain high standards of veterinary care, including continuing to update their knowledge of feline medicine as new knowledge becomes available.”