Cat Friendly Clinic – Gold Standard

We understand the very different needs of our feline friends and always wanted to do something more to make their vet visits as stress free as possible. Cats do not feel safe in unfamiliar environments, becoming extra perceptive to unusual sounds, sights and smells. So we decided to go the extra mile…!

Our Duke Street branch is dedicated completely to our cats and exotic friends, just a stone’s throw away from our Stanhope branch. This tranquil haven is not only a completely separate building, allowing us to provide a unique dog-free zone for cats and exotic species, it also has:

  • Gold Standard” Cat Friendly Clinic status – the highest accolade awarded by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), and we are currently the only one in County Durham!
  • Cat only waiting areas
  • Cat only clinics
  • Cat only consulting rooms
  • Dedicated Cat Wards and extensive cat specific equipment
  • Staff fully trained in feline needs
  • Use of cat calming sprays throughout the whole hospital
  • Every cat visiting us is treated in a stress free and comfortable environment with sympathetic and specialist care. We are proud of the environment we have created and we’re proud of our dedicated feline staff, who ensure your cat remains calm and receives the best possible care.

    We love cats and recognise their unique needs. We’re proud to tell you all about how you know your cat really will be in the best hands. Read on to learn about our patient journey on arrival at the practice…

    At our Duke Street Clinic, we have two separate waiting areas – one for cats, and one for exotics. This helps to reduce stress between the different species whilst waiting for appointments, by minimising sight, sound or smell of each other.

    On arrival at the practice, you will be invited to place your cat’s basket on one of our tables in the waiting room, where your cat will feel less vulnerable as they will be able to observe their surroundings from a height. Whilst waiting for your appointment, one of our friendly team members will place a Feliway sprayed towel over your cat’s basket – this is a synthetic Feline Facial Pheromone, scientifically proven to help reduce feline stress by giving a chemical message of familiarity and security. We have found that many of our cats relax significantly under the security of the towel. Each cat will get a clean towel, so rest assured, there is no contamination between pets. We also have a Feliway diffuser plugged in at all times in the waiting room, to produce a constant calming pheromone to help reassure the cats whilst waiting.

    Once your pet is ready to be seen for their appointment, we will show you to a cat only consulting room, which is spacious, private and, of course, also containing a Feliway diffuser. This not only helps to reassure our furry felines but also allows your cat to be examined in calm surroundings. Our appointment slots are longer than normal, lasting 15 minutes for a routine examination, which gives our vets time to work at a steady and gentle pace to reduce anxiety for your pet.

    Our Vets and Veterinary Nurses are trained in ‘cat friendly’ handling techniques, so your cat, in their basket, will be placed on the floor with the door open to allow your cat to venture out of their basket in their own time and take in their surrounds. For more anxious pets who are maybe not as comfortable or brave to come out on their own, we may be able to perform most of the examination whilst your pet sits in their basket (if the top can be removed). We are more than happy to advise on suitable “cat friendly baskets” and ways to minimise the stress of transportation – just give us a call on 01325 620968

    For those inquisitive cats who are brave enough to venture out of their basket, we will use their Feliway-sprayed towel from the waiting room, placing it on the examination table for a warm and soft surface. This towel will now have also picked up on your cat’s own familiar scent, boosting their self-reassurance.

    If your cat needs to stay with us, rest assured they are in the best care behind the scenes! Our cats have their very own (again, Feliway filled) quiet ward at the back of the building. We purposely invested in uniquely designed “cat cubes”, which were built specifically with cat friendly principles in mind. Constructed of opaque laminate, they are warm and quiet; quite a contrast to the traditional stainless steel kennel which many cats find distressing from the noise and reflections from the cold metal surface. Every cube contains its own resting perch, so all our patients have that all important vertical space that cats need to survey their surroundings. To ensure no cats feel threatened by their neighbour during their stay, we purposely sited our cubes along one single wall and can open to adjacent cubes to give the patient extra space during their stay!

    Most importantly, each cat gets their own cozy bed to hide and feel safe in, and we even have a range of bowl types and foods, to tempt even the pickiest of felines who may be a little under the weather! The same principles go for our choice of cat litter.

    Situated next door to our cat ward is an adjoining examination room where our team can take samples or give medications out of view of other patients. This room, of course, is not only kitted out with a Feliway-diffuser, but is also filled with “music for cats”, designed to promote relaxation and help them settle into their new environment.

    If your beloved pet does need to visit our operating theatre, we of course designed these with our smaller patients in mind too! Our theatre boasts a heated table to help maintain body temperature during the procedure when they will be most at risk. We have also invested in modern dental facilities, which are kept separate from the operating theatre to prevent the spread of any airborne bacteria to surgical cases. Of course a Feliway diffuser is in use at all times to reassure patients during procedures.

    The majority of surgical procedures can take place at our Duke Street Practice; where diagnostics such as x-ray or endoscopy may need to be carried out, we can undertake the procedure at our main hospital on Stanhope Road.

    Introducing Sue! Sue is one of our Registered Veterinary Nurses and has worked at Stanhope since 2001! Over the years she has developed a keen interest in feline-specific veterinary nursing, particularly the behavioural aspects, and went on to complete the ISFM Diploma in Feline Nursing, and is now proudly our Cat Advocate!

    Sue loves her role and is not only responsible for ensuring that the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic criteria are met and that all staff are correctly trained in Feline Friendly handling techniques and nursing care, but also that all possible Cat Friendly practice protocols are put in place and followed.

    We are extremely proud to offer these unique facilities to ensure the best for our feline friends. Since progressing from cat only clinics to a fully equipped cat hospital, we have seen a vast improvement in the stress levels of our patients, whether that be for routine boosters or surgery. Whilst many of our long-standing clients are happy to visit Stanhope Road Hospital, we would always encourage our clients to take full advantage of these facilities knowing what a difference it can make to their pets wellbeing! We look forward to welcoming you and your feline family soon.

    For more information on our facilities or to book an appointment at our Cats and Exotics Clinic, please call 01325 620968 or email Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital at

    Stanhope Road Hospital

    30 Stanhope Road South,
    Co. Durham
    DL3 7SQ
    Contact us here...

    Cats & Exotics Practice

    58 Duke Street,
    Co. Durham
    DL3 7AN
    Contact us here...


    4 The Square,
    DL2 1EG
    Contact us here...

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