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Our IKEA hack: Create a kitty parking area


Cats and dogsthe AAFP Cat Friendly Practice checklist says you gotta keep em seperated. But thats easier said than done, am I right? IKEA to the rescue!

The American Association of Feline Practitioners created the Cat Friendly Practice program to provide clinics with the tools to integrate a feline perspective in both the physical environment of the practice and the way medical care is delivered. It equips practices with the tools, resources and information to elevate the treatment, handling and overall healthcare of cats, as well as emphasizes ways to reduce the stress associated with the visit. To learn more, visit: www.catvets.com/cfp 

In 2011, Care Animal Hospital in Arvada, Colorado, was poised to pursue Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) status. We were seeing 30 percent cats and 70 percent dogs. As a self-described “cat addict,” I thought our practice could focus and attract even more cats. But one item on the CFP checklist proved elusive-a specific type of furniture. We needed something to divide the cat and dog areas, but finding an item that was the right height and easy to clean was tricky.

At a 2012 AAFP meeting, I heard the magic word whispered: IKEA.

The item: Expedit model shelving units

The bad news: IKEA discontinued this item

The good news: They replaced it with the Kallax series. Same choices, same dimensions, and even more durable, they say. IKEA's article number 103.057.41 is an eight-compartment Kallax shelving unit, available in eight colors, for $90.

How we use it:

This shelving was a foundation for a complete kitty parking area. It's not only just the right height to keep cats above the line of vision of most dogs, but it's very easy to clean and has cubbies that hold IKEA boxes (also very reasonably priced) where you can store children's toys and books, along with clean towels to cover the cat carriers.

Client care specialists see clients coming in with their carriers and they direct them right to the kitty parking area to place their carriers on top of the unit, and then they retrieve a clean towel from the cubby below and cover the carrier, helping the cat to feel protected. Who would have thought that such an inexpensive piece of furniture could fulfill so many of our needs?

This separation has been well-received by cat owners, who can sit right beside their cats in their carriers, and the height has ensured that dogs don't sniff the carriers or in any other way disturb cats who are waiting to be seen.

Dr. Paige Garnett

Care Animal Hospital

AAFP Cat Friendly Practice, Gold level practice

Arvada, Colorado

For more information on Cat Friendly Practices, visit www.catvets.com/cfp. And to view more case studies visit www.catvets.com/cfp/case-studies.

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