A VETERINARY practice's makeover for moggies has proved the cat’s whiskers with judges.

Prince Bishop Veterinary Hospital in Leadgate, near Consett, has earned a top award for enhancing the care of feline patients.

Cats and their owners can now benefit from a separate waiting area, away from the noise of barking dogs, which helps to make visits to the practice a less stressful experience.

Blankets are also available to cover pet carriers and owners are given advice about how to keep their cats. calm during the visit, while veterinary team members have undergone training in how to handle stressed cats.

In the cat ward, hospitalised patients can relax in their cages with igloos so they can hide if they become anxious.

Prince Bishop Vets’ dedication to kitty care has seen it named as a Cat-Friendly Clinic by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), a charity dedicated to improving the care of cats, and awarded silver status.

Practice manager Karen Hutton said: “We recognised because of their unique personalities and needs, bringing cats to the vets can be stressful for both the patient and their owners. When cats become stressed, so too do owners, and we want to try to improve the whole experience for everyone.

“The Cat-Friendly Clinic programme has helped us take a fresh look at how we help feline patients by creating a more cat-friendly practice and reducing stress.

"We’ve been delighted by the feedback from clients who feel it is making visits to the practice much easier for them and their pet.

“We have been explaining to clients about not putting pet carriers on the floor as cats prefer to be elevated, and hopefully the award will help reassure owners that our hospital facilities are also cat-friendly.”

Nursing assistant Melanie Sterling has been appointed as a ‘cat advocate’ to ensure the practice maintains the standards it has set.

The award is a double celebration for Prince Bishop Vets as they have just has their hospital status renewed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in the Practice Standards Scheme.

Prince Bishop Vets is the only veterinary practice in the UK to achieve six “outstanding” awards for excellence in client service, diagnostic service, patient consultation service, team and professional responsibility, in-patient service and emergency and critical care service.