Choosing a Vet is an important decision when we take on a new cat or kitten. After all, they quickly become part of the family, and we always want to make sure our family members are well cared for! 

If you’ve had cats before, you may have a trusted Vet that you have been using for a long time. But if you are a new cat or kitten owner, how do you go about choosing a Vet? What sort of things might you need to consider? 

First, it’s important to look at some of the traits that cats have,that might have an impact on how well they cope with taking a trip to the Vets. 

By nature, cats are independent 

They like to be in control of their own environment. They are solitary hunters, and can often be quite territorial. Whilst this may make cats sound like they are tough and feisty, in reality, underneath all this, they are very sensitive creatures. They like routine and will often naturally keep themselves in a routine without human intervention! 

When a cat is taken to the vets, it must relinquish control of its environment. It cannot escape from the basket. And it may not feel that the cat basket is part of its territory. It certainly knows that the funny sights and sounds of the vets are not its own territory! During transportation, the cat also comes across lots of unfamiliar smells and will experience a significant disruption to its routine. If you then consider that the cat may be feeling unwell (which is why they need to visit the vets) or may be in pain, you can see why a vet trip might be a tricky thing for a cat to get their head around! 

So, what sorts of things can we do to try and make sure our vet is the best fit for our cat? 

Thinking ahead is essential. Just before your kitten or cat arrives, or just shortly after, have a look around at what vets are within your area. It’s much easier to make a decision on choosing a vet when you have plenty of time. Definitely don’t leave this decision until the last minute, or until an emergency situation arrives! 

Contacting some practices, chatting to them, and seeing if they will offer you a guided tour is also a great idea. Lots of practices are open to this. And will offer in-person or virtual tours of their premises. Although the current situation with the global pandemic has changed things slightly. Online reviews are also invaluable to check whether your local practices are providing the care that you’d want for your pet.

Once you’ve found a practice you like, check out their cat credentials! 

The ISFM – International Society of Feline Medicine – is the Veterinary arm of the iCatCare organization. This is an organization that champions all things feline. It provides research and evidence-based information about all aspects of cats; from their behavior and their management, through to medical information. The ISFM have developed a scheme for veterinary practices and staff. Whereby they can work to achieve cat-friendly status and train their staff to become ISFM recognised practitioners. There’s often nothing at all wrong with practices that haven’t undergone this training and assessment by the ISFM. But the ones that have, would have done it to show that they are willing to go that extra mile for our feline friends. 

Here are some things to look out for that all Veterinary practices can do to help cats feel more relaxed about their Vet visit: 

  • Waiting Area – a little separate waiting area or room for cats can make all the difference! They will enjoy the quiet space and will appreciate being away from dogs. If there is no separate waiting area available, some vets might make use of cat-only consulting times instead. These are times of the day when no dogs are around. 
  • Shelving! This might seem like a strange one, but small shelving units to stand cat boxes on can really make a big difference to cats. It removes them from the eyeline of other cats. And raises them off the floor to stop them feeling so vulnerable. 
  • Blankets in the waiting room. This is another handy tip. Lots of practices will have small blankets or towels available for you to cover your cat basket with. Just another way of helping the cat feel more secure. 
  • Cat-friendly pheromones. Don’t worry, these won’t make you grow whiskers or start Meowing! We can’t smell them and we’re not affected by them, but they really help cats. They come in the form of a plug-in, similar to an air-freshener in design, and gradually release cat-friendly calming pheromones into the air. These work best if combined with a plug-in in your home, a spray in the cat basket and a plug-in located in the waiting room at the vets (or in the kennel area). Look out for these, lots of vets use them! 

To summarise

Hopefully, this has helped to give you an idea of what to look for when choosing a vet for your cat. And has given you an idea of what a vets visit is like from a cat’s point of view! Whatever vet you choose; whether they are a regular vet, ISFM accredited clinic or cat-only practice; as long as they are providing you with the best care for your cat and you are comfortable with entrusting your family pet to them, then that’s all that matters. 
If you need some help finding a Vet near you, we’ve got a great resource for finding Vets. Which can be located here. Simply pop your location in and we will bring you up a list of practices nearby.

You might also be interested in: