Having a Good Vet is Vital
Not all vets are the same. Some vets will have special interests, others will be good all-rounders. Some vet practices are hospitals with night vets and many in-patients, others are smaller local practices with separate emergency facilities. Here are few things to consider when choosing a vet for your cat.
Does your Vet like Cats?
This question is not as silly as it may seem. Some vets are more cat-mad than others. Here are our tips on how to chose a cat-friendly vet:
- When you phone to register with a vet, ask if there is one particular vet that likes cats or has a special interest in them
- When you meet the vet ask them whether they have any cats. Even if they do not own any themselves, they may still enjoy talking about them and caring for them
- Watch how your vet handles and talks to your cat, and how your cat responds to them. Having a good relationship with your vet is as important for your cat as it is for you
- Once you have a vet that you and your cat get on well with, ask at each appointment to see the same vet. It is less stressful for your cat to see the same person. It may be necessary to check that the vet is a permanent member of staff, and whether there are particular days that they do not work
- Seeing the same vet for each appointment is particularly important if your cat has a previous or chronic health condition. It also helps to build a good relationship of trust and understanding with your vet
- You may want to ask if your vet does home visits
A good relationship with your vet is build on trust and understanding. Once you have found a vet that you and your cat are happy with, be honest and open with them. Ask any questions you may have, and do not be afraid to ask for advice even on what may seem basic things, such as diet or litter training. Building a good relationship with your vet while your cat is healthy will offer you a lot of comfort should your cat ever become unwell. Taking advice from a vet that you know and trust is easier than taking it from someone you and your cat are meeting for the first time.
Facilities and Training
Facilities, staff training and qualifications will vary between different veterinary practices. This does not necessarily mean one is better than the other, just because it has a smart new building! The key is being confident that your vet is up-to-date with modern veterinary medicine, and that facilities are clean and safe. Some practices will be happy to show you around the practice ‘behind the scenes’ in the hospital, so that you may see where your cat stays when he/she is in hospital. This honest and open approach can be very reassuring. Ask whether you would be able to visit your cat in hospital if it were ever unwell; most practices should be able to provide for visits.
A good veterinary practice will have well qualified staff that are happy in their jobs. Meet as many people from the practice as possible, including receptionists and nurses. Do they seem enthusiastic, caring, friendly and happy? Have they worked there for some time, and are they planning on staying at the practice? Do any of them have, or are any of them studying for, a further qualification? If so, this shows hard work and dedication.
Preparing for All Eventualities
Remember that you may one day need emergency treatment from your vet, or even worse you may need to say goodbye to one of your cats. It is at difficult times like this that having the right vet can make a huge difference. Always make sure you know what out-of-hours emergency veterinary care is available. For some practices you will need to call a different phone number, so have this stored in your phone. Some practices use different facilities for their out-of-hours care, so ensure you know where this is and check it is not too far away.
If you have any cat-mad friends or neighbours then ask them who their vet is and whether they have had any particularly good or bad experiences. If somebody recommends a vet to you, there is no harm in just going to meet them before you register your cats with them.