Southfields strikes gold for purr-fect cat care
March 9, 2023
A new £16 million animal hospital in Essex has received a prestigious international award in recognition of its exceptional care for cats.
Linnaeus-owned Southfields Veterinary Specialists, in Basildon, has earned a gold award from the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the highest level of accolade from the body.
Southfields’ operations manager Sarah Stam said the award was a terrific achievement and testament to the careful research and preparation that went into creating a dedicated ‘Cat Land’ area within the state-of-the-art hospital.
Sarah explained: “This is the ultimate recognition and everyone at Southfields is thrilled that we’ve been accredited as a gold standard cat-friendly clinic by the ISFM.
“We worked extremely hard to ensure our new facilities are the very best they could be for our feline patients and we’re delighted all that hard work and careful preparation has been rewarded.
“We fully understand cats are a very different species from dogs, with their own unique requirements.
“They are more likely to become anxious and stressed in unfamiliar surroundings, so we deliberately created our ‘Cat Land’ area within the hospital.
“It was designed on the advice of veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine Sarah Heath and has its own entrance and exit at the hospital, a separate reception area, two wards, consultation rooms, prep rooms and treatment rooms.
“There’s also an exercise room for those feline patients who stay with us to help them get back on their feet after treatment.
“It’s an area where we can try to get them eating again, too, if they’re struggling with their appetite following treatment.
“We even have a sound system installed to play soothing music, plus pheromone plug-ins to help make their visits or stays with us less stressful.
“There are no pictures of dogs anywhere on the walls, or of any other animals making ‘eye contact’, which could unsettle our feline friends!
“Our expert feline team is also 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.
“It’s a continuous priority across the hospital and we will always look to improve further.”
The ISFM launched the cat-friendly initiative 10 years ago 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.
Southfields, which moved into its state-of-the-art £16 million Basildon hospital last summer, offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.