Choose a veterinarian for your cat who specializes in feline care

Choose a veterinarian for your cat who specializes in feline care

Cat lovers know that their furry felines are more than just pets – they are family members. That is why many pet owners choose to take their cats to veterinarians that specialize in feline care. Cat-specific clinics often provide services not available at general small animal practices, and can help reduce stress on cats that may get nervous when visiting the veterinarian. Often, cats become scared of loud, sudden noises from other pets and may be intimidated by large (or any size) dogs. Taking your cat to an exclusively feline veterinary hospital is a great investment in your pet’s health. Here are a few pieces of advice to follow when considering which veterinarian is right for you.


Do

Do your research

When choosing a veterinarian for your cat, make sure that you take time to conduct careful research on veterinarians in your area. Talk to friends and family members who own cats and ask them where they go for veterinary care. Search the internet for reviews and ratings to see what other people are saying who have gone to the veterinarians you are considering. Also, don’t forget that your state’s veterinary medical association is a great resource for information on the veterinarians in your area.

Do interview veterinarians and talk to the receptionist to find the best fit

Remember, you want your vet to be a trusted partner in the care and wellbeing of your cat. After researching the veterinarians you are considering, go to their practice to interview them. This will help you get an idea for their demeanor, their passion for veterinary medicine, their views on pet health, and how they will interact with you and your cat when you bring your cat in for an appointment. Talk to the receptionist too. They have an incredible amount of knowledge about the practice and customer service, and you will be interacting with them on a regular basis.

Do take stock of your surroundings

Take a careful look at the veterinarian’s office when you visit. Is the practice clean and well-organized? Does the staff seem friendly and knowledgeable? Are there cats walking around, and do they seem comfortable in the office? A good feline veterinarian should have an office that is obviously up to certain standards, and should be welcoming to both humans and cats alike.

Do ask about a veterinarian’s vaccine philosophy

Vaccines are an integral part of veterinary medicine, and are critical in protecting your cat from catching and spreading a variety of feline diseases. Different veterinarians vary in their opinions on certain vaccines, which are necessary and when they should be administered. Ask your veterinarian about their personal vaccine philosophy to see how this fits with how you feel about vaccines and the best way to care for your cat.

Do make an appointment and observe

Once you have made your initial choice for a feline veterinarian, make an appointment to take your cat in for a checkup and pay close attention to everything that happens. How does the veterinarian handle your cat? Are they talking to the cat in a calm, soothing manner, and talking you through what is happening as well? Also, are they making eye contact when they talk to you? These questions are important to keep in mind, because first impressions will determine whether you return to that particular veterinarian.


Don't

Do not be afraid to ask questions

Absolutely do not be afraid to ask questions, whether you are interviewing a veterinarian or taking your cat in for a checkup for the first time. It is much better to ask too many questions than too few, and the best veterinarians are more than happy to help out. Being able to ask questions about the veterinarian’s practice and how they care for animals, among others, helps you become an integral partner in your cat’s overall health and happiness.

Do not worry about being too careful

The best feline veterinary care about your cat just as much as you do. You definitely want to make sure you choose the right veterinarian, so visit the veterinary hospitals on your list for the first time without your cat. If you make an appointment, you may be able to talk to the specific veterinarian who will be taking care of your cat. Don’t worry about being too careful when making your choice – this is incredibly important to your cat’s future wellbeing and your happiness with your cat’s health as well.

Do not hesitate to become invested in your kitten’s health

Healthy kittens need to begin their relationship with their new veterinarian with a thorough checkup and examination. Kittens will need a special kitten series of vaccines and testing, and usually need to be dewormed as well. These examinations are done around two, three and four months of age. If you acquire your kitten at a different age, you still need to take it in for a health check. Unhealthy kittens should be examined as soon as possible. Kittens can become very sick quickly, but with proper treatment, can recover quickly. Remember, though there are proper times to take your kitten in for a checkup, it is never too early to start thinking about and acting on their health.

Do not ignore warning signs

There are red flags to look for when visiting a feline veterinarian that shouldn’t be ignored. If the office isn’t clean or well organized or there are rude and impatient staff members, you may want to consider looking elsewhere for veterinary care. The best veterinarians certainly have rules governing their own practice, but will be welcoming and understanding of you and your cat. If you see something that concerns you, don’t be afraid to speak up about it. Even a very good veterinary hospital can have a staff member having a bad day, so speak up if you have concerns.

Do not forget to have your cat’s important information ready

You are your cat’s best friend and advocate when it comes to their health. Your veterinarian is well-trained and knowledgeable, but they need your cooperation to make sure your cat receives the best care possible. When talking to a veterinarian about your cat or when taking them in for a checkup, be sure to have any previous medical records, as well as information about allergies, injuries and more ready. If you adopted your cat from an animal shelter, tell your veterinarian which one, as they will often be aware of any illnesses that may affect cats from that location. This will help you and the veterinarian decide the best course of action for your cat.


Summary
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Your cat’s health is your responsibility, and you should be an active participant in keeping it healthy and happy. To do this, take the time to find the right veterinarian that is knowledgeable, personable and passionate about cat care. This will make your veterinarian a partner in your furry friend’s health, and help your cat live a longer, fuller life.


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Photo Credits: Furry Friday Kitten by Flickr: Four Doxn; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Connie J. Canode, DVMFeline Practitioner and Owner

Connie J. Canode, DVM, is a member of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), a professional organization of veterinarians dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of human and animal life through veterinary medicine. Canode...

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