No dogs allowed! New facility offers cat clinic, boarding and adoptions and a catnip garden.

Shoreview cat clinic

Shoreview cat clinic

Professionally painted murals line long interior walls. An enclosed patio for lounging surrounds the structure. Bedrooms might include televisions, Oriental rugs, chandeliers and repurposed Victorian-era wood and doors. The campus includes state-of-the-art medical facilities and, out back, an herb farm.

And it’s all for cats.

If you’ve ever patronized the Northwest Highway East Lake Veterinary Hospital, founded by Dr. Karen Fling, you realize she and her staffers exceed expectations when it comes to pet care. * See our archived article about East Lake and its fundraising thrift store here*

Not only have they treated and rehomed thousands of animals, who otherwise might have been euthanized, but they also pamper pets, appointing adoption- and recovery-rooms with comfy beds and televisions, for example.

But I imagine cats are far more impressed with this sort of mollycoddling. Or, as Fling puts it, “cats have much different needs — they are not small dogs.”

Many families are mixed — cats and dogs — and they are still welcome at East Lake, but “for cats from cat-only households, a visit to a busy vet can be traumatizing in itself,” Fling says.

That’s why she hopes to open the cat clinic—an orange and cream-colored (East Lake’s signature colors) building at the corner of Shoreview, just behind East Lake—by year’s end. Lake Highlands vet Raina Weldon, who specializes in cat care will join the staff.

The cat clinic will be peaceful, “Zen-like,” Flings says. Exam rooms will be comfortable, the porch will be closed in and the cats can relax out there.

The catnip plant, the feline party herb, will soon spring in what is now an empty Lake Highlands lot: Wiki Commons

The catnip plant, the feline party herb, will soon spring in what is now an empty Lake Highlands lot: Wiki Commons

Fling also has purchased the land behind the cat clinic, now an empty lot, where she plans to put a catnip farm. That’s right—she says she already has plans underway to grow organic nepeta cataria, the mint-like herb that is said to be a feline aphrodisiac. It also is common for humans to consume this herb, by the way, in the form of tea, and Fling says she knows chefs who have experimented with catnip in cooking.

Remember, cats are not small dogs. Painting by Kay Wyne, whose work will be on display inside  our neighborhood's new cat clinic.

Remember, cats are not small dogs. Painting by Kay Wyne, whose work will be on display inside our neighborhood’s new cat clinic.

Neighborhood-based artists Sharon Hodges and Kay Wyne, who have close ties to the nearby Dutch Art Gallery, are painting murals inside the cat house and assisting with the design. When the annual White Rock artists studio tour rolls around in October, the new cat clinic will open its doors to attendees. Fling adds that all of the construction is environmentally sound. They used in large part refurbished and repurposed furnishings and materials. They also have applied for a Green Mountain Energy grant, after reading about the solar energy program in the Advocate.


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