One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a cat owner is the veterinarian responsible for your cat’s well-being. Choosing the best cat clinic for you and your fur baby is so important.
Finding a veterinarian, particularly one who specializes in cats, makes all the difference. Cat clinics often have teams that have years of cat-specific experience. They are great for answering any questions you may come across. They will also help you feel confident in choosing a care professional for your cat’s long, healthy life.
The decision to choose a cat clinic will come down to points that matter to you. It could be the clinic’s hours (does it fit within your schedule? Can you make it to appointments? What about emergencies) or its location (is it walking distance from your home?). By making note of these kinds of factors ahead of time, you can start to eliminate the veterinarians that won’t be a good fit.
1|When Should I Start Looking for A Cat Clinic?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. With that in mind, it’s best to look for a cat clinic before you need one urgently. Just like a new mom has worked with a doctor before she comes home with her baby, it’s ideal to choose a cat clinic and veterinarian before your pet comes home with you.
What’s more, many cat clinics can even help you with the process of finding the right pet.
If you plan to move, look for a new vet or cat clinic in the area you’re moving to as soon as you can. If you want until after you move, you may have to handle the stress of the search with a cat that’s hurt or ill.
2| How Do I Find A Cat Clinic Near Me?
When you are already established in town, it can help to ask around. Word of mouth and recommendations from coworkers, friends, and family is a great way to find a trusted place.
For those who are new in town, consider online reviews. Still, these won’t always tell the whole story (have you noticed how people seem more inclined to leave reviews when they’re mad?), so see if you can get input from your new contacts. Another possibility is to check with your current veterinarian or cat clinic. If you’re not moving too far, they may have someone they can recommend. For a longer move, there may be some organizations they can point you toward.
If you have a purebred cat, see if there is a local chapter or organization. Given purebreds can have more specific needs, there may be a recommended cat clinic just for this.
Finally, you can go the professional route. Try first looking up your state’s veterinary medical association for a list of qualified veterinarians. After that, you can search the American Animal Hospital Association for accredited veterinary practices in your area
3| How Do I Know When A Cat Clinic Is Right for My Cat?
After you’ve found a few cat clinics or veterinarians, it’s worthwhile to meet them in person. Since different pets and families can have different needs, it’s okay to make sure you’ve met with a few clinics.
Wondering what kinds of questions to ask? Keep these ideas in mind when you’re choosing a cat clinic:
- Arrange a visit – Can you tour the office? Take note of its cleanliness and organization, speak with the staff about their experience, and see how other owners and pets seem to be treated.
- Ask about services – Beyond regular care, what other services does this cat clinic offer? What about X-rays or other specific procedures? Which do they offer in-house, and which would they refer you for?
- Hours and emergencies – Cats are unpredictable. What are their office hours? And what about their hours for being on-call for emergency situations?
- Personality fit – Just like you would with your own doctor, you may have a preference for a veterinarian who is more business-like, warmer, or some other quality.
4| What Questions To Ask When Choosing A Cat Clinic
There are some general questions you may ask about the clinic’s experience and their philosophy, as well as more specific ones around your cat’s breed and age.
Here are some common questions to ask when evaluating a new veterinarian or cat clinic:
- How many veterinarians work in your cat clinic?
- What are your normal hours?
- Does your cat clinic accept walk-in visits?
- How does your cat clinic handle emergencies?
- Does your cat clinic accept insurance?
- Does your cat clinic offer dental care?
- How much do you charge for a regular office visit?
- Which tests and procedures can you do on-site?
- Do you have a pharmacy?
- What are your payment policies?
5| How To Handle Problems With Your Cat Clinic
It’s not uncommon to have disagreements about how or why your cat is treated a certain way. An important first step is to talk to the veterinarian about it. Keep an open mind, especially given their experience in working with many different animals.
This isn’t always easy, especially with how emotional the bond can be with our cats. A good cat clinic will understand this and be open to your concerns. They’ll be able to share why they’ve made their decisions and work with you on revising that treatment if need be. Still, you may find that you still disagree. In this case, it’s worth looking for another opinion, and if necessary, changing cat clinics completely.
Leaving a cat clinic may not be pleasant, especially if you’ve developed a long relationship, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You’re legally entitled to copies of all of your pet’s records, so you’re welcome to request them at any point.