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It's time to take your tabby to the vet, although you cringe every time you think about the last visit.

"Cats are very territorial," says Elizabeth Colleran, a veterinarian who owns feline-only practices. "When you remove a cat from (its) home, it becomes a very stressful event."

In an effort to encourage vet visits, the American Association of Feline Practitioners launched a Cat Friendly Practice program, with these expectations:

A secluded waiting area.

You'll find a separate waiting area for cats. No dogs allowed.

Feline-friendly handling.

In the exam room, the carrier is placed on the floor and the door opened to give the cat time to adjust and come out on its own.

Comfortable examinations.

Instead of a cold, stainless steel exam table, a checkup might be done with the cat still in the carrier or on a towel. Cats who view their owners as a security blanket may be placed next to them.

A quiet environment.

As few people as possible are allowed in the exam room, and voices are kept calm and quiet. To find a cat-friendly practices, go to catvets.com.

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