Three one-day seminars are being held to help veterinary practices develop a sensitive approach to cat handling.

The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of cat charity International Cat Care, has launched a new cat and client skills training programme – Developing Cattitude: A Feline-Friendly Approach to Cats and Their Owners.

The seminar, delivered to small groups, is practically-focused and combines workshops, discussion and video-training techniques to help attendees see, learn and then repeat best practice in their clinics.

The programme has been developed by ISFM together with customer service training provider Onswitch, led by Alison Lambert, and feline specialist and co-director of the Oxford Cat Clinic, Martha Cannon.

The seminars will take place on board Bertha, the Onswitch training bus, and are open to all veterinary practice staff.

There are just 10 places available for each day, which delivers five hours of certifiable CPD. It costs £285 plus VAT per person, and includes lunch, handouts and CPD certificates.

Miss Cannon, an ISFM trustee and veterinary advisory panel member, said the course would teach both the “soft” skills of communication and customer care, alongside practical skills to be used every day.

She said: “We wanted to develop a learning programme that took attendees right through a feline-specific customer journey, taking in all aspects: from the client’s first encounter with the clinic reception staff, to his or her experience in the waiting room, through the consultation with the vet or nurse, and, critically, addressing the feline-friendly attitude and cat handling skills that every practice member should demonstrate.”

“Getting every step right results in a calmer, less-stressed cat that is more likely to be brought for veterinary attention when it needs it.”

Delegates will see films of cats being handled in common practice scenarios:

  • being coaxed/lifted out of baskets
  • undergoing gentle, stress-free clinical examinations
  • enjoying allogrooming techniques
  • being held for (mocked-up) blood sampling, and more.

“There is also a discussion on what to do when the cat isn’t happy, and the vet or nurse is under pressure for time,” Miss Cannon said.

“We know so much now about cat handling and what to avoid, that even those who have been practising for many years will benefit from this training.”

Seminar dates:

  • July 29 – Milton Keynes
  • July 30 – Huntingdon
  • July 31 – Stafford

The full course programme can be viewed on and booking is available online at

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