American Association of Feline Practitioners

Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats

Feline-Friendly Handling

Feline-Friendly Handling


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As solitary hunters, cats have a heightened fear response to protect themselves from dangers.  Unfortunately everything associated with the veterinary visit, from the carrier to the visit, and being reintroduced to the other cats when it comes home can all spell danger to the cat. 

Veterinarians and other veterinary professionals can prevent most fear through understanding what cats need.  Recognizing how the individual patient reacts to fear (i.e., attempting to hide, run away, or show aggression) and developing handling techniques specific to the different fear responses improves patient outcomes and prevents human injury.

After participating in this webinar, attendees will better understand:

  • The cat and the causes of its fear surrounding the veterinary visit can help us improve the experience for patients, clients, and team members.
  • General handling principles are based on the nature of the cat and its need for a sense of control. 
  • The flow of the exam should be individualized to each cat, based on what is least fearful and painful for that cat. Usually starting with auscultation of heart and lungs is easiest. 
  • Sample collection in the exam room and with the owner present is easier for cat and owner, as compared to moving the cat to a treatment area. It reduces fear as well as fear-associated aggression that can be caused by moving the cat to a treatment area.

Speaker Bio

Ilona Rodan, DVM, DABVP (Feline) 

Dr. Ilona Rodan established the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987, a Gold Cat Friendly Practice and AAHA Certified hospital. She continues to practice feline medicine and works as the behavior consultant following the practice sale in 2015. Dr. Rodan is ABVP certified in feline practice since 1995. She started a consulting business, Feline-Friendly Consultations, to support veterinary professionals in handling cats to prevent fear and pain, and improving the practice environment and healthcare for cats. She also presents nationally and internationally. Dr. Rodan is also co-editor of the book, Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare, published in August 2015. Dr. Rodan is a past-president and active volunteer of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), and has co-chaired a number of guidelines including the AAFP Behavior, Feline-Friendly Handling, Environmental Needs, and the AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines. In 2005, she was awarded the AVMA Animal Welfare Award for her leadership and contributions to advancing feline welfare.


RACE Credits 

This program 249-19452 is approved by the AAVSB RACE to offer a total of 1.50 CE Credits (1.50 max) being available to any one veterinarian: and/or 1.50 Veterinary Technician CE Credits (1.50 max). This RACE approval is for the subject matter categorie(s) of: Scientific using the delivery method(s) of: Non-Interactive-Distance. This approval is valid in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE; however, participants are responsible for ascertaining each board's CE requirements.