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According to statistics, cats are substantially underserved when it comes to veterinary care.  Even though pet cats outnumber dogs in the U.S. by 15 million, CATalyst Council and the American Humane Association estimate that cats go to the vet only half as often as dogs. Cat owners often express a belief that cats “do not need medical care.” According to Dr. Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline), “there is a misconception that cats are independent and they don’t need the level of care that dogs do.  Cats also don’t show disease well. We can have cats who look normal but they are covering up a serious illness.”

One of the barriers to regular physical exams for many cats is that a trip to the veterinary clinic can be stressful and even traumatic for many cats and their guardians. Simply getting a cat into a carrier can be a challenge. And while there are things you can do to make your cat’s trip to the vet less stressful, having a vet come to your home can be a much better option for many cats.

Advantages of a mobilve vet:

  • The vet gets to see your cat in her natural environment. This will allow your vet to observe and evaluate behavior and conditions that may be aggravated by something in your cat’s environment that you may not even be aware of.
  • No exposure to other cats (or dogs, if your veterinary hospital is not a feline only practice) and any potentially contagious diseases. This is especially important for very young cats who do not have a fully developed immune system, and for older cats with compromised immune systems.
  • More personalized care. During a typical in-clinic appointment, you will spend 15-20 minutes with your vet. A typical in-home appointment will last anywhere from half an hour to an hour.
  • Less stress for the cat guaridan. I’ve always found taking my cats on car rides extremely stressful. None of my cats have ever been good in the car, and as a result, both the cat and I were stressed by the time we arrived at the clinic.
  • Ideal for senior citizens and others who are home-bound or don’t drive.
  • No waiting times. Even though your mobile vet may not always arrive at the exact scheduled time due to traffic and other considerations, you’ll be waiting in the comfort of your own home, and not in a crowded waiting room with other animals.

How to find a mobile vet in your area:

The American Association of Housecall and Mobile Veterinarians provides a state by state listing. However, just like you shouldn’t pick a vet simply by location, don’t pick a mobile vet simply based on whether they service your area. Use the same criteria you’d use to choose a regular vet. Some question to ask are:

  • How many veterinarians are at the practice?
  • Will my pet always see the same veterinarian?
  • How are emergencies handled?
  • What services does the mobile vet perform? Not all mobile vets are full-service vets.

I’ve had housecall vets for many years, and the only time any of my cats have had to go to an actual clinic was for dental procedures.

We love our feline vet, Dr. Andrea Tasi of Just Cats Naturally. Dr. Tasi uses classical homeopathy, nutritional therapy, and behavior/environment-related techniques to help healthy cats stay well and help ill cats regain their health.

If you use a mobile vet for your cats, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your vet’s contact information/website in a comment to help readers who might be looking for a housecall vet.

Photo: istockphoto

17 Comments on Advantages of Using a Housecall Veterinarian for Your Cat

  1. Thanks for the info, Ingrid! Going to check for one in my area. Honey and Booda despise vet trips and never thought about going the mobile route! 🙂

    • I need help please someone tell me wht to do about my cat I don’t want to have him put to sleep but he won’t stop peeing or pooping on the carpet I’ve tried it all an nothing is working he is not young but not sick so idk wht to do

  2. Hi Ingrid,
    I don’t even recall how I stumbled upon my mobile veterinarian, but I’m extremely happy that I did. Up until a few years ago, I was putting my senior cat, Sid (now 16), in a carrier and we’d then hop on the bus to go visit the vet because I don’t have a vehicle. It was a pain in the behind, not to mention the fact that I had become unsatisfied with the care Sid was receiving from this particular clinic (I think they over-vaccinated him and he tried to convince me that I was hurting Sid by feeding him a raw food diet, wanting me to buy the Science Diet instead).
    The Roving Vet http://rovingvet.com/ (Dr. Shulamit Krakauer) is a holistic and homeopathic vet who also offers conventional care to pets in the Lower Mainland area of Vancouver, BC. I’m very happy with her services and her calm, laid-back approach. Sid has never been very fond of any of his doctors, but he’s able to tolerate her. He doesn’t even flinch when she takes a blood and/or urine sample while sitting on my couch (the last vet would take him in back and shave his neck). Sid didn’t even go and hide the last time she was here. I find that her fees are comparable with conventional clinics, it probably ends up costing less because she’s not a pawn for the pharmaceutical companies, and her remedies are very budget-friendly.
    I highly recommend The Roving Vet if you live in the Vancouver area.

  3. My vet has agreed to do this for me as a favor given my cat’s stress level. For one kitty it went better for the other kitty it was still stressful. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  4. You know how passionate I am about this subject! I wish there more full-service mobile clinics will surgical suites like our vet has. Once you’ve experienced mobile vets for the reasons you’ve outlined, it’s hard to go back. It takes an adventurous, intrepid vet to want to do this kind of work under different weather conditions, mechanical breakdowns, traffic etc. Every day is different and our Cornell-trained Dr. Richard Goldstein from http://www.mobilevetsquad.com has seen it all. He is available only in lower Westchester County, N.Y. Mobile vet fees widely vary. Most tack on a travel fee but I feel it’s excellent value especially for multiple pets. It’s one set fee if it’s one animal or ten and the rest of the services are the same if not lower than a regular clinic. One advantage you didn’t mention is the peace of mind of having euthanasia done at home instead of dragging a dying pet to the vet.

    • I agree, Layla, the travel fee is well worth the expense. And you’re right about in-home euthanasia being an additional advantage, although some regular vet clinics also offer this service.

  5. This is valuable information and thank you for writing this. At this time, we don’t have a need for a mobile vet because both Cody and Dakota are great about going to our current vet but that doesn’t mean that down the road the need may not arise. Posting the directory for people to refer to is just fabulous. Superb post!

    • Usually, the only difference for housecall vets is the travel fee, Daniela. Most other fees are comparable, if not in same cases lower, than regular vet clinics.

  6. We used a mobile vet for the first 4 years of our cats’ lives and it was absolutely wonderful.

    As you’ve pointed out Ingrid, nearly everything could be done in our house and our cats were definitely much happier not having to get in a cage, into a car and then travel to a hostile seeming environment.

    Unfortunately since we’ve moved to another state we’ve not been able to find a similar service though we will definitely keep looking.

    And for people living in the Canberra, Australia region I highly recommend Dr Fiona of http://www.furrytales.com.au/

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