At the vets – what to look out for when looking for a doctor for your cats?

As loving Carers for our cats, we always want to give them the best care possible. Finding a vet near your place of living is usually quite easy – most big cities have small vet offices in nearly every neighbourhood and even the smaller towns usually have quite a few specialists to choose from. But is every vet clinic a good choice when it comes to your cats’ health? Not necessarily. And today on the blog, we’re talking about a few criteria that can make choosing medical care for your cats a little bit easier, dear fabCats. Enjoy! 

The qualities of a “good” veterinarian 

To start things off, we need to set a few definitions regarding looking for a “good” veterinarian in place. Why is “good” in quotes? Because as many Carers and veterinarians themselves say, any opinion about a specialist can be objective, based on their experience, background and expertise, as well as subjective, based on the experiences you or other people had with that particular vet. What’s more, the subjective part is often key – if you don’t trust the person who is about to look after your beloved pet, even if they were the most experienced specialist in their field, they won’t meet your standards. When you’re putting your pets’ health and life into a vet’s hands, you need to feel that they’re the right person to care for the kitty. 

What does it mean in practice? Every cat Carer can have their own definition of a “good” vet and even the best reviews from friends or other patients may not always translate to the experiences and feelings we ourselves have about the particular specialist. Some Carers may say that a good vet is the one who can do it all – from simple medicine prescriptions and bloodwork to more complex surgeries. Others might disagree, saying that the best treatment is only possible with the presence of a group of specialists, each of them being an expert in a small field – surgeries, stomatology, orthopedics, etc. For people in the second group, their cats will have a handful of “good” doctors behind them – the general practitioner who will help with the most basic health issues and work with other specialists when necessary. And both of the approaches mentioned here are ok – after all, it’s the choice of the Carer and they are the one deciding on the person they want to care for their pets’ health. 

Red flags – when is it good to think about a change? 

Depending on our personal preferences, needs and feelings, a particular vet clinic might seem like a better option than the others. But what is good to always look out for are red flags which should have us considering a change and looking for another specialist. Some of them are: 

  • Visible negligence. Not all vet offices have to be a part of top tier specialist clinics with big offices and highest quality, advanced equipment – many smaller practices are highly valued by their patients and clients, even without the access to the biggest budget. What they offer is quality and that’s what matters the most. What we can’t accept though is a vet office where negligence is very obvious and there’s no hygiene protocol in place. With poor operating conditions and no hygiene whatsoever, the health and life of our animals could be at serious risk. 
  • Lack of professionalism. The assessment of a specialists’ approach to us and our animals is purely subjective, but if we feel like we’re not happy with it from the very beginning, it’s always better to just look for a vet office that we feel we can actually trust. 
  • Lack of understanding for modern solutions. As we previously mentioned, not all vet offices are equipped with the highest quality, most advanced equipment. And that’s ok. However, veterinary medicine is a field that’s always evolving and growing and there’s no place for situations where an office refuses to use modern treatment in favor of older practices that have been out of use in the field for a long time now. 

Emergencies – make sure a vet is always within your reach

One of the most important elements it’s always good to look out for while choosing your cats’ vet is… their opening hours! It seems like a small detail, but emergencies can happen at any given time – Monday morning, Wednesday evening, but also Saturday at midnight or even on Christmas Day. We ourselves had such experiences with our cat Louis when he had problems with his kidneys and we had to visit our clinic right away in the middle of the night. And while most vet offices happily admit their patients in the middle of the week, early morning hours, late nights or days off and weekends are often an issue. 

Does it mean that the only good choice are the clinics that are open 24/7? Not at all! Most cat Carers go to the vet clinic of their choice for the routine care, but they also have an emergency contact to a clinic that is open on the weekends, holidays or at night. Of course, it’s wonderful when it’s our usual clinic that offers help like this, but if it’s not the case, it’s always good to have a reliable contact nearby. In emergency situations, when your cat is in pain and needs immediate help, looking for a clinic that’s open and admits new patients can be quite the challenge. 

Our advice: both the number to your standard vet clinic and the emergency, weekend one should be in an obvious, visible place at home – put it on your fridge (not just in your phone). It will make it easier not just for you, but your close ones as well – in a situation when your friends or family are taking care of your pets, it’s good for them to be able to easily find the contact number for a vet they can consult in case of any troubles. 

When should you change your vet clinic? 

Let’s remember that though it is good to have your trusted vet work with your animal as long as possible, there’s no shame in wanting to go to another specialist for a second opinion or to change the vet clinic for a new one if you’re not happy with what your current one is offering. In the history of our myKotty cats, we’ve visited many vet offices, both for basic care and ones we had to travel long distances just to get in with an experienced specialist. And we always put our pets’ health first, choosing the option that gives them the best chance for a happy and healthy life. 

How was it for you, dear fabCats, regarding the vet care for your fluffy friends? Have you been going to the same clinic for many years now, or did you have to change things up a few times to find the right place? Share your stories and advice in the comments – you can surely pass on some valuable tips to us and other fabCat readers. 

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