When it comes to choosing a vet for your cat, you should put as much energy into finding the right vet as you would when choosing a doctor for yourself.
Having a vet that you can rely on and trust is essential, because even if your cat remains healthy; there are still regular routine checks that are necessary as part of your cat’s preventative healthcare plan.
Your vet should be fully trained and qualified in veterinary medicine, but just as importantly they need a good bedside manner. Many cats get extremely stressed at vet visits, so a vet who can put your cat at ease is important.
Additionally, your vet should be a people person – during your cat’s lifetime you may have to deal with serious health issues and your vet should be someone who’s able to listen, understand and advise you of your options.
If you’re new to an area or have only recently welcomed a furry four legged friend into your family, ask neighbours and friends who they take their pets to. Nothing is better than word of mouth recommendations or advice on which local veterinary clinics to avoid.
10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Vet
1. What days and hours of operation does the veterinary clinic have?
You need a vet that is easy to get to (only a short drive away with ample parking), and that has extended opening hours including late nights and weekends, so it is easy to get your cat to the vet for routine appointments.
2. Do they offer appointments at short notice?
They should certainly offer emergency appointments, but you also want to know how far in advance you’d have to book more routine appointments such as annual check-ups and vaccinations.
3. What veterinary services do they offer?
Do they only provide basic veterinary care, or do they have the facilities for other services such as dental care, surgeries, testing, x-rays and blood tests? It’s also worth checking how modern and up-to-date their equipment and facilities are and the overall cleanliness of the premises.
4. Is there a separate waiting area for cats?
Many cats get stressed going to the vet, and having to wait patiently next to a barking dog will only add to their anxiety.
5. Do they offer house calls for follow up visits or routine vaccinations?
House calls are much less stressful for your cat, and may be convenient if you don’t have access to a car or are house-bound for another reason.
6. What out of hours/emergency care do they offer?
Some vets have their own staff on call 24 hours a day, which gives you great continuity of care, but you might have to contact another emergency vet out of hours.
7. Do they have overnight staff?
If your cat is kept in overnight following a surgical procedure, you’ll want to know that there are trained staff there at all times during your pet’s recovery.
8. What’s their view on alternative medicines and therapies?
It’s important when choosing a vet that you find the right match for you with regard to this. If you believe in using complementary therapies alongside traditional medicine, it’s good to have a vet who has knowledge in this area or is at least supportive of your views.
9. How much will it cost?
Treatment costs can vary considerably at different veterinary clinics, so it’s important to be aware of these things up front. How much are standard appointments for routine check-ups and annual vaccinations? It’s also worth finding out what payment methods they accept and whether they offer instalment payment plans for more expensive treatments, such as surgery. If you have pet insurance, will they bill the pet insurance company direct, or will you be required to pay the cost of treatment first and then claim it back?
10. Will they allow you to inspect the vet clinic facilities and meet the staff?
When choosing a vet, we recommend making an appointment to visit the veterinary clinic and meet the people who work there first. After all, if you don’t feel comfortable with the vet and the clinic, you’re not going to take your cat there.
What do you look for when choosing a vet for your cat?