There is no way to avoid all of the cattiness. It is just there to some extent at every job I have ever had. You can avoid most of it by ignoring the gossip. My method is just walking away when my co-workers start talking about other co-workers. I am silently saying that I will not listen to gossip. I feel that this makes me a strong person because I refuse to participate in that kind of behavior.
I am sure some people talk about me, but I do not care and they know it. I am friendly and helpful and I do not go out with the girls when invited because I do not want to open myself up for that kind of gossip.
Basically, the best advice that I can offer is to hold your head up and keep you ears and eyes open and your mouth shut. Do not participate in the gossip. Do not become overly close to anyone person or group. Be helpful when needed. Remember you are there for the pts. Last but not least, yes they will talk, but try your best not to care. I always tell people if you are going to talk about me at least make it good because my life is very boring.