Veterinarians and their staff are some of the hardest working people around. They are dedicated to making pets’ lives better, and they often work long hours for very little compensation. More and more veterinary clinics are understanding cat’s unique needs, and as a result, more practices are becoming cat-friendly. But vets and their staff aren’t the only ones who are responsible for making your cat’s trip to the veterinary clinic as stress-free as possible. There are things cat guardians can do during a veterinary visit that will not only endear them to their vet and staff, but will also make the experience easier on your cat.
The following suggestions will be sure to earn your cat a gold star in her record.
Always bring your cat in a carrier
Holding your cat in your arms when entering a veterinary clinic is a recipe for disaster. Always have your cat securely confined to a carrier. There are so many things that can spook a cat in a veterinary hospital, especially in mixed practices where dogs may be in the waiting room. Cats feel much safer in a confined space when they’re in a strange environment. And if you’re a dog guardian, please don’t ever take your dog to a veterinary hospital on a retractable leash. No matter how quickly you retract the leash, it may not be quick enough to avoid a tragedy.
Gather all relevant information prior to your visit
Be sure to have all pertinent information easily accessible. If this is your first visit to a clinic, make sure you bring a copy of your cat’s prior records. Write down all your questions ahead of time; you may not remember everything you wanted to ask during the actual visit.
Silence your cell phone
Few things are more annoying to veterinarians than a client who answers her phone during an exam. Not only can the sound of the phone upset an already stressed cat, but the time you spend with your veterinarian should be all about your cat’s needs.
Don’t bring young children
Unless your children are old enough to be well behaved and quiet even during a veterinary visit, leave them at home. You need to be able to focus on your cat, and on what the vet is sharing with you, not on keeping your children in line.
Be willing to communicate openly and honestly with your vet
While your vet is the expert, you’re the person who knows your cat best. Don’t be afraid to question your vet’s recommendations, but be respectful. A cooperative dialogue benefits your cat, your vet, and you. If you feel that you can’t follow a recommendation, say so. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you won’t be able to pill your cat or trim her nails. Your vet can almost always help you find alternative treatments.
Ask for cost estimates
Most veterinary clinics will automatically give you cost estimates for any procedures they recommend for your cat, but if they don’t, ask for them. This eliminates any misunderstandings when it comes time to pay the bill. Almost all veterinary clinics will require payment at the time that services are rendered. If costs are a concern, be honest about it. You may want to ask for an estimate when you make your appointment, and/or discuss payment options ahead of the visit.
Being open, honest and cooperative will nurture your relationship with your cat’s veterinarian, which, after all, is arguably one of the most important relationships in your life.