How to find a vet for your cat

In this Article

  • When Should I Find a Vet?
  • How Do I Find a Vet?
  • How Do I Know if a Vet Is Right for My Pet?
  • What Questions Should I Ask When Choosing a Vet?
  • What Should I Do if I Have a Problem With My Vet?

Choosing a veterinarian is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your cat or dog. Your veterinarian will be an important partner for you in making sure your pet lives a long, healthy life. Think about the issues that are important to you, like the clinic’s hours and location. Knowing your preferences ahead of time will help you narrow down your choices.

When Should I Find a Vet?

The best time to find a vet is before you need one. Ideally, you’ll choose a vet before you bring home your pet, and some offices can even help you find the best pet for your family.В

If you’re moving, you should look for a vet as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your dog or cat needs a vet before you start looking for one. You don’t want to have to deal with the stress of having to find a vet if your pet is sick or injured.В

How Do I Find a Vet?

Word of mouth is often the best way to find a vet. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Online reviews can be helpful, but suggestions from people you trust are even better. Different pets and families have different needs, though, so consider meeting with a few vets before making your choice.В

You can also check with your state’s veterinary medical association for a list of qualified veterinarians, or search the American Animal Hospital Association to locate accredited veterinary practices. If you’re moving, your current vet may be able to make recommendations.

If your dog or cat is purebred, you can check in with local breed clubs. The club members often know which vets have experience with your pet’s specific breed.В

How Do I Know if a Vet Is Right for My Pet?

Here are some things to consider when you’re choosing a vet:В

  • Arrange a visit to the vet without your pet so you can tour the office. This is a great time to notice if the office is clean and well-organized. You can talk to the staff and see if they seem friendly and helpful.В
  • Ask about the services they offer. If your pet needs an X-ray or other test, can they do it at the office, or will you have to go somewhere else?
  • Find out the office hours and how emergencies are covered. If it’s a practice with more than one vet, you may want to ask if you can see a specific vet.
  • Find out if their philosophy matches yours. Veterinarians are simply people whose personalities can vary. Some are warm while others are very businesslike. Look for a vet whose attitude feels like a match.

What Questions Should I Ask When Choosing a Vet?

Some of the questions you should ask will depend on your pet’s breed and age, as well as anything you know about their medical needs and history. Start with a few basics when you’re considering a new vet.

  • How many veterinarians are in your practice?
  • What are your hours?
  • Do you accept walk-ins?
  • How do you handle emergencies?
  • Do you accept insurance?
  • Do you offer dental care?
  • How much do you charge for an office visit?В
  • Can you do tests and procedures on-site?
  • Do you have a pharmacy?
  • What are your payment policies?

What Should I Do if I Have a Problem With My Vet?

If you aren’t happy with your vet’s care of your pet, you can try talking to them about it. Go into the conversation with an open mind, and be willing to listen to why the vet’s care differed from what you expected. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but your vet should also be open to listening to your concerns. Be prepared to share the reasons for your concerns. Your vet may be able to explain their procedures to you, or they may decide to shift their treatment approach. If you still disagree, you may need to schedule a second opinion or change vets.

If you feel like your vet is not a good match for you for any reason, request a copy of all of your pet’s records and find a new vet. You can ask the receptionist for copies, and you’re legally entitled to them. If your vet asks why you’re leaving, you can give an honest, constructive answer.В

Show Sources

American Kennel Club: “How to Find the Right Vet For Your Dog.”

American Veterinary Medical Association: “Finding a veterinarian.”В

Animal Humane Society: “Finding the right veterinarian.”

Bellweather Harbor: “Questions to Ask When Looking for a New Vet.”

PETMD: “Missed Diagnoses: What to Do When You Think Your Vet Is Missing Something.”

Spot Speaks: “Five Red Flag Indicators That It’s Time to Find a New Vet.”

American Animal Hospital Association: “AAHA-accredited hospital locator.”

It’s not just for shots; you’ll need a cat veterinarian for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re a new cat parent, your family just moved, or your cat is in need of medical care. Whatever the reason, it’s important to find a cat vet with whom you—and your feline friend—are comfortable seeing on a regular basis.

What’s the best way to go about finding a vet that’s right for you and your cat? Here are your options.

Friends and Reviews

Consider asking close friends who have cats about their choice. Another good way to find a vet, of course, is to explore reviews of local facilities online. But take reviews of a cat hospital with a grain of salt, according to Dr. Patty Khuly, as they often reflect subjective cases of financial coverage, rather than the care they provide.

What’s Important toYou

Once you have a list of potential vets to choose from, there are several factors to consider that can help you whittle it down. What’s most relevant to you? Price, location, hours, wait times, and bedside manner should all come to mind. Does the vet offer grooming and boarding? If your cat suffers from a disease or recurrent health problem, a vet that specializes in this issue might be the best route. Ultimately, consider the factors that are important to you specifically before deciding to meet with a certain practice.

While everyone has a different opinion on what is most important here are some common questions to ask yourself when researching a veterinarian for your cat:

  • Does the place have a good reputation? How long have they been in practice?
  • Are the facilities clean and updated?
  • Are their other patients in the office? This can be a good indicator that other cat parents trust this particular veterinarian.
  • Are they timely at responding to questions or at seeing your cat at your scheduled appointment time?
  • Is the staff friendly?

Follow Your Instincts

Look to a vet’s website to find answers to the issues most important to you. If you can’t find answers online, don’t hesitate to call the office and ask these questions before making an appointment. You can even ask to come in and meet the vet without your cat. Once you do, ask him or her questions and follow your instincts. Is this someone you feel like you can trust with your cat even if you’re not in the room?

Finding a Vet That Offers Unique Services

Cat care has come a long way. Many vets now offer holistic and alternative forms of treatment such as homeopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. If you are searching for alternative care for your pet, start with the database of vets who are members of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), and all of whom specialize in small-animal care.

Emergency Care

What should you do if it’s the middle of the night and you’re in sudden need of a vet’s attention? When your cat is suddenly in distress and your regular vet isn’t available, it’s important to be prepared. Learn about the recommended 24-hour emergency services in your area, and keep this contact information handy in case of an emergency. Or, search online using terms like “emergency vet” to find an off-hours treatment center near you. Just like a human ER, keep in mind you’ll likely pay much more for emergency services at a cat hospital than you would at a regular veterinarian office.

Doing your research when finding the right cat veterinarian is worth the work. After all, this is the person who, next to yourself, matters most to the health of your family.

Contributor Bio

Kara Murphy

Kara Murphy is a freelance writer who lives in Erie, Pennsylviania with her cat Olive.

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?

Table of contents

  • By nature, cats are independent
  • So, what sorts of things can we do to try and make sure our vet is the best fit for our cat?
  • Once you’ve found a practice you like, check out their cat credentials!
  • Here are some things to look out for that all Veterinary practices can do to help cats feel more relaxed about their Vet visit:
  • To summarise
  • You might also be interested in:

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.

Even healthy cats need regular visits to the vet – here’s our guide on how to finding a vet to suit you.

You and your vet

Even healthy cats will require regular visits to a veterinary practice, so it’s important that finding a vet is one of the first things you do with a new cat. Take your cat for health checks at least once a year – early recognition of symptoms as well as treatment may prevent your cat from getting ill.

Choosing a vet

All vets working in the UK have to be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Choosing a vet might be daunting – often a recommendation from a friend or neighbour is a good place to start. Otherwise, you could phone around your local vets or even visit them before you make your choice.

You’ll want to make sure that the practice you choose has high standards of care, offers good facilities and has kind and knowledgeable staff.

Things to consider when choosing a vet

  • location – especially relevant in an emergency, you might want to make sure that your vet is near to you
  • facilities – some veterinary practices will allow you to take a look around on open days. You’ll notice equipment like X-ray machines and laboratory equipment, and you’ll want to make sure the operating theatre is clean and well-equipped
  • appointment system and routine opening hours. Are you able to get an appointment at short notice for urgent problems?
  • whether the practice is accredited to the RCVS Practice standards scheme (PSS). This is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices in the UK through setting standards and carrying out regular inspection

Visiting the vet

Once you’ve decided on the ideal vet, it is sensible to build a lasting relationship to ensure you can both do the best for your cat. When your cat has an appointment with the vet, take them in their designated cat carrier.

On initial consultation, your vet might ask a veterinary nurse to assist with handling the cat, especially if you are nervous about how your cat will react. They will examine your cat as well as asking you some questions about general health, eating, drinking and toileting habits. As always, if you have noticed anything unusual about your cat’s behaviour, you’ll need to let your vet know.

Finding the right vet for you and Your cat is important and the number of cat vets is growing.

One of the most important aspects of being a good pet parent is choosing the right vet for your cat. The best time to take care of that responsibility is BEFORE any sort of emergency makes a trip to the vet necessary.

Wherever you happen to live, whether it’s a big city or a small suburban town, there are certain to be many small and large veterinary practices from which you can choose the right vet for you and your kitty companion. One of the best starts toward making that choice is to get referrals from neighbors, friends, and family, ideally from people who are also cat owners, because cats – like every species – do have their own special medical and behavioral issues. You might even want to find a vet that specializes in cat care, a growing specialty field in veterinary medicine.

Armed with your recommendations, there is one important question that you’ll have to ask yourself before moving on to the next step toward finding the vet that is the best fit for you and your cat. How much time will it take you to get to the vet’s office from your home? You should consider what that commute might be like in a variety of situations. While a half hour drive might not seem inconvenient at first thought, consider how important those extra minutes might be in reaching your vet’s office in an emergency situation. Even if your visit isn’t an emergency, many kitties just don’t enjoy travelling. If that’s the case with your feline friend, then it might make sense for you to focus on finding a vet closer to home.

Once you’ve narrowed your list of prospective vets, your next step is to set up a “well cat” appointment. This visit is a way for you to check out the “chemistry” between you and the vet AND between the vet and your cat. Since most vets keep to a tight schedule, it might make sense to request 15 minutes or so additional time when you schedule your appointment, so that you can get to know the vet as well as allowing ample time for your kitty’s exam.

Arrive for your appointment armed with a list of questions, so that you make the most of the time you have in the examination room. However, your review of a prospective match should begin before you even get to meet the vet. Is the waiting room clean and well maintained? Will your pet feel safe while when you have to wait? After all, there are fewer more stressful situations for cats than being trapped in their cat carriers with unfamiliar, barking dogs nearby! There are even vets who have separate waiting areas for cats and dogs just to avoid such situations. Of course, if you do opt for one of the increasing number of vets who have a dedicated feline practice, that won’t be a consideration for you. Finally, are the people behind the reception desk friendly? They are likely to be your first point of access to your vet in the future, so you should feel comfortable with the level of attention and concern you receive from them.

Once you, your cat and the vet are in the examination room, it’s time to carefully note how the vet interacts with his prospective patient. Is his or her tone soothing? Do you sense that your cat has the vet’s undivided attention? Does the vet seem to respect you and your opinions about your cat’s care?

Many of the questions you can ask will help determine if a vet is the right fit. You might ask how many vets are on staff or on call, how emergencies are handled after regular office hours, what staffing is available if kitty has to stay overnight for observation, and what their attitude is toward alternative medications, therapies or supplements. Is the rest of the staff educated or licensed? Don’t be afraid to ask about payment plans for expensive tests or surgeries during your conversation, as well as to inquire about the types of pet insurance that the practice accepts.

It might take visits with two or more vets before you finally settle on the one that you know will be your best partner in the ongoing well-being of your cat.

How to find a vet for your cat

As a cat owner, I know first-hand how stressful a visit to the Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital can be for both cat and owner. It is one of the main reasons owners do not bring their cat to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, less than half of all cats return to see their vet after their initial kitten visits. Imagine if you never saw your doctor or dentist after childhood!

Without regular veterinary care, cats can suffer from pain and disease, unbeknownst to their owners. Cats are experts at concealing symptoms – they don’t let on that anything is bothering them until way past the time when we should be intervening. A variety of diseases, including dental disease, chronic kidney disease, infectious viral diseases, and arthritis, are undetectable to most owners in their early stages. Your veterinarian is often able to diagnose and treat these and other diseases early, resulting in a longer, happier, healthier life for your cat. This means more quality time spent with you!

We know regular veterinary visits are of benefit to our cats – but how do we get them to Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital? Some owners are fortunate to have cats that enjoy, or at least tolerate, a car ride and a visit to the vet. If your cat is anything like mine, then a trip to the veterinary hospital is most definitely a rodeo. However, this shouldn’t prevent our “grumpy” cats from getting proper health care too.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to make a trip to the vet less stressful for both cat and owner. They take a little foresight and preparation but are certainly worth the effort! Below are some tips for a stress-free vet visit.

  1. Starting from a young kitten, touch your cat’s ears and paws. Gently open its mouth and lift its tail. Teach them that these actions are not threatening. These are all things that your veterinarian will do during a routine physical examination. If your cat is already used to this, the physical examination will be a less frightening experience for them. In addition, this will ease nail trims, teeth brushing, and administration of medications by you.
  2. Days before the anticipated veterinary visit, place the travel carrier in the room where your cat spends most of its time. If your cat doesn’t seem to have a preference for a particular room, place the carrier in a warm, low traffic, and relatively quiet area of the house. Put a favourite blanket and toys inside the carrier. Throughout the day, place a small treat in the carrier to encourage your cat to go in all on its own. Reward any entry into the carrier with loving pets and a small treat.
  3. Pheromones can create a positive association for the cat with its carrier. These are compounds produced in glands near the cat’s whiskers and are used in marking behaviours. When a cat rubs its face on a person or object, it is communicating a sense of comfort and safety. We have been able to create compounds that mimic these hormones. They are available as Feliway (brand) sprays, diffusers, and wipes. Spray or wipe Feliway on the carrier once a day while the cat is adjusting to it, and on the day of the veterinary visit.
  4. When it comes to getting your cat in the carrier on the day of the visit, I find a smooth but quick approach works best. Ideally, at this point, your cat may go into the carrier on its own. If not, then you will have to put your cat into its carrier. Plan ahead – have the carrier set up and the door open, ready for your cat. Don’t allow your cat time to resist – once they start, they usually have the upper hand. Instead, quickly and calmly place your cat in its carrier and close the door.
  5. Always transport your cat in a carrier – never allow it to roam free in a vehicle. This is both unsafe for you as a driver, and stressful for your cat. Ideally, strap the carrier securely in the vehicle with a seat belt.
  6. At Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital, open the carrier door and allow the cat time to adjust to its new surroundings. It may come out and explore the room, or it may choose to stay in its carrier for the entire visit. This is usually not an issue, provided the top can be removed to allow examination by your vet.
  7. If a cat is likely to claw or bite, then it may be safely restrained with a blanket or by a registered veterinary technician if necessary. If restraint techniques are used, they are for the safety of the cat, the staff, and you.
  8. Once home, your cat may be “off” for a few hours to a few days. It may hide, or display aggression towards you or other animals in the household. In most cases, giving your cat its own room with food/water/litterbox and time to adjust are sufficient for your cat to calm down and feel at ease in its own home again. As always, it is recommended to keep calm and not discipline your cat when it is afraid.

Check out this video for helpful hints on how to get your cat in their carrier.

There are lots of reasons for us to see cats on a regular basis. Keeping up-to-date with vaccinations and deworming, preventing disease, and early disease detection and treatment are important to keep our pets and communities healthy. We recommend annual wellness examinations for cats under the age of 8. As cats age, they may require examinations every 6 months as well as annual senior bloodwork in order to detect diseases at their earliest stages.

If you have any questions about your cat’s health or wish to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to call Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital at 403-342-6040. We are always happy to see our feline patients!

How to find a vet for your cat

How to find a vet for your cat

Feline Emergency? Call us right away at (760) 749-0099!

If you live in Valley Center or the surrounding area and need a trusted veterinarian to care for your cats – look no further. The mission of A Cat’s View Veterinary Hospital is to provide high quality and compassionate medical and surgical care in a healing environment. Designed from a cat’s point of view, our hospital aims to to be respectful of our feline patients’ perception of sight, sound, smell, touch, and chemical communication via pheromones to create a soothing and calm environment for your cat. We are passionate about community education on the specific and unique needs of cats. Your cats’ health and well being are very important to us, and we take every possible measure to give your cat the care they deserve.

A Cat’s View is a full-service cat hospital that offers care from kitten-hood to geriatric, and every stage in between. We offer preventative health plans, nutritional and behavioral consultations, surgical procedures, and cutting-edge dental care. We are experienced at treating serious conditions and offering regular cat wellness care.

We are happy to offer a number of resources that enable you to learn about how to take better care of your cats. Please feel free to browse our site, particularly the educational articles. The best veterinary care for felines is proper nutrition and problem prevention, so becoming knowledgeable about preventative cat care is essential to the success of your cat’s health! If you have any questions, call (760) 749-0099 or email us and we’ll promptly get back to you. Our hospital is very easy to get to — just check out the map below!

At A Cat’s View, we treat your cats like the valued family members they are.

How to find a vet for your cat

A Cat’s View Veterinary Hospital

(760) 749-0099

29115 Valley Center Rd Ste A&B
Valley Center, CA 92082

Congratulations—you’re now a cat parent! The bond between you and your pet can be among the most rewarding in life. And such gifts rarely come without responsibility.

While cats have a reputation for being independent and less needful than dogs, they do require much of the same care as their canine counterparts. Immunizations, spay/neuter procedures, dental care, proper diet, grooming, and regular checkups are all part of responsible cat care.

If this seems daunting, don’t panic. Your veterinarian is there to help you and your pet get through the experience with as few snags as possible. Still, the experience can be stressful, especially for your pet, so we’d like to offer a few tips on what to expect during your cat’s first visit to the vet, and what you can do to prepare for it.

Preparation For Your Cat’s First Vet Visit

Even the calmest cat can become stressed by a trip to the vet–carriers, car trips, loud noises, unfamiliar smells, can all boost a cat’s stress level. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the experience less challenging for you, your cat, and the vet staff.

Assemble all your pet’s paperwork. Whether your cat was adopted or purchased, there will be paperwork. Your vet will need to review your animal’s health records, including vaccination history, to develop a comprehensive care plan.

Get your cat accustomed to being handled. One of the first things your vet will do is to perform a routine physical exam of your pet. That’s a fair amount of handling for any animal, and the more accustomed your pet is to being touched and picked up, the more likely it is to tolerate being handled by the vet and vet staff.

Acclimate your cat to the carrier. Being placed in a carrier can be stressful for your cat. To ease the transition, leave the carrier out and open in a place your cat can thoroughly examine it a few days before the visit. Cats are naturally curious, and your pet will likely want to sniff and check out this strange object. The more familiar your cat is with the carrier, the less stressed it will be being placed inside it. Outfitting the carrier with one of your pet’s favorite blankets can also help reduce anxiety.

Take a practice car ride. If your cat is jittery about car trips or has never ridden in a car, take a practice run with your cat safely in the carrier. Take few loops around the block then return home and let your pet out of the carrier. Acclimating your cat to travel can greatly reduce stress. And a calm cat is far easier for you and your vet to handle.

Editor’s Note: Try these pet stress relief tips to help calm your new cat during times of high anxiety.

Questions To Ask During Your Cat’s Vet Appointment

The initial vet visit is a time for sharing information. A vet will commonly ask you about your cat’s health history, vaccination records, and home environment (so have your pet’s paperwork with you). Your responses help the vet develop a complete picture of your pet’s health, so be complete and honest in your answers. Establishing a baseline normal for your cat or kitten also helps to highlight anything unusual or out of character (such as lethargy, irritability, or loss of appetite) that could be symptomatic of a health problem that may rise in the future.

The initial visit is also the time for you to ask your vet any questions you may have about cat care. Don’t be shy—there are no stupid questions. Your vet possesses a wealth of information and can recommend safe and effective products or warn you away from those that might be ineffective or harmful. The relationship you establish with your vet will help assure that your cat receives the best possible care.

Here are 10 questions to ask on your kitten’s first trip to the vet:

1. What does the wellness exam include?

2. What basic information can the vet share? (e.g. age, breed, congenital and heredity conditions, etc.)

3. What vaccinations are necessary, and what is the schedule for their administration?

4. What is the ideal age to spay/neuter your cat?

5. What types of preventative—flea, heartworm, etc.—should you use, how and when should you administer them?

6. How should you care for your cat’s dental health?

8. When and how should you begin litter box training?

9. What type of cat litter and how many litter boxes should you provide?

10. What is the best way to groom your cat?

What to Expect During The Office Visit

When you arrive at the vet, you’ll typically be asked to check in at the reception desk. Some vets provide separate waiting areas for cat and dog owners, which can help reduce stress for cats not accustomed to being around dogs. Keep your cat in its carrier until you reach the exam room.

During an initial visit, your vet will perform a basic physical exam of your animal—checking eyes, ears, mouth, joint flexibility, and weight. The vet will also palpate the cat’s belly and abdomen to check for any masses or soreness. Depending on your pet’s vaccination history (which can be easily stored in your Figo Pet Cloud), the vet may administer inoculations. Feel free to ask about the clinical importance of any of these procedures and vaccines.

Following the appointment, office staff will typically review each item of your bill with you—including exam costs, any vaccinations, x-rays, or other procedures. Discuss the advantages of cat insurance with your vet to manage the financial responsibilities of caring for your cat in the event of a serious illness or injury.

We hope these tips will help you and your pet have a stress-free vet visit!

Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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How to find a vet for your cat

Welcome to Got Pets Mobile Vet, where we strive to offer low stress/high quality veterinary care for your pet(s) in the comfort of your home. We provide comprehensive in-home health care services to companion animals in Northern Bergen County and the surrounding areas. We are able to accomplish many of the same services that are available in a hospital setting without the added stress of a carrier, car ride, or long wait. Our house call practice allows us to get acquainted with your pet in a familiar environment and to tailor our services to his/her particular needs. We will work with you to provide the best possible care for your pets at every stage of their life.

From routine preventive and wellness care for your cat, dog, or pocket pet, to early detection and treatment of a wide range of animal conditions, diseases, and surgical care, Got Pets Mobile Vet has the expertise and compassion to provide the veterinary care your pet needs. We look forward to getting to know you and becoming your pet’s advocate for a healthy lifestyle.

Please browse our website to learn more about the mobile veterinary services we provide. You can also find information in our pet library, view videos and pictures, and see details about upcoming events. Please How to find a vet for your cat call or email us today for all of your pet health care needs.


Day Open Close
Monday 8:30am 6:00pm
Tuesday *8:30am 8:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am 6:00pm
Thursday *9:00am 6:00pm
Friday 8:30am 5:00pm

*Dr. Gess available for appointments at Bergen County Veterinary Center in Waldwick, NJ on Tuesday 12 pm – 8 pm and Thursday 9 am – 6 pm.

How to find a vet for your cat


Day Open Close
Monday 8:30am 6:00pm
Tuesday *8:30am 8:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am 6:00pm
Thursday *9:00am 6:00pm
Friday 8:30am 5:00pm

*Dr. Gess available for appointments at Bergen County Veterinary Center in Waldwick, NJ on Tuesday 12 pm – 8 pm and Thursday 9 am – 6 pm.

If you have a cat or a dog , you’re probably going to make a trip to the vet at some stage. It might be a routine trip for your cat’s vaccinations, or perhaps your puppy has eaten something he shouldn’t have. Not all vet clinics offer the same services, so it’s important to find one that will suit you and your pet.

How to find a vet for your cat

What factors should you consider when choosing a vet?

While your goal might be to find a vet who is capable and compassionate, there are other aspects to consider. These include:

    • Location: Look for a practice that’s close to home. This can be handy when you need to make regular visits, when there’s an emergency, and for those times when your pet needs an extended stay.
    • Staff: Observe how the staff interact with each other and the animals in their care. Do they appear knowledgeable and caring? Are there enough vets to cope with a busy period? If your pet stays overnight, will it be supervised?
    • Facilities and equipment: Modern clinics should be well equipped to provide clinical, anesthetic and diagnostic care. Check whether operations can be performed on-site.
    • Areas of specialty: Most general vet clinics will treat cats and dogs.
    • Qualifications: Vet clinics should usually display the practitioners’ accreditation and qualifications. But if you want to know more, ask about the vet nurses’ certifications and if they run any ongoing training. If your pet needs specialist treatment, look for a vet who’s registered with the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council, as its membership requires longer study and expertise in a specific area.
    • Fees: There are no standard fees for veterinary services or medications, so enquire prior to treatment about costs for routine check-ups or specific treatments that you are advised that your pet will need. Ask for a full quote before going ahead with treatment. However, consider your choice on more than price alone – a clinic might be more expensive because it provides access to better equipment, more staff and a wider range of services.
    • Personal recommendations: Don’t underestimate the value of talking to your friends, family and other pet owners about their experiences with vets. Trainers, pet sitters and groomers might also have recommendations.

If your preferred vet clinic is not open after hours, ask what they can offer in case of an emergency. Some suburban clinics work together to offer after-hours care on rotation, or there might be a nearby emergency vet hospital operating 24/7.

Before making your choice, shop around. Call clinics in your neighbourhood, ask the questions you want answered. If and the staff are friendly, it’s likely your pet will be cared for.

Most importantly, make sure your pet is happy with the vet you choose, so you can all enjoy calm, stress-free visits.

Pet insurance can help to cover your vet bills. Review pet insurance policies on iSelect today.

*iSelect’s partnered with Choosi Pty Ltd (ABN 15 147 630 886) to help you compare pet insurance policies. iSelect earns a commission from Choosi for every policy sold through the website or contact centre. iSelect and Choosi do not compare all providers or policies in the market.

Any advice provided by iSelect on this website is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice we give you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on our advice or purchasing any policy. You should consider iSelect’s Financial Services Guide which provides information about our services and your rights as a client of iSelect. iSelect receives commission for each policy sold by Choosi.

Relaxing at the Vet

Keep Your Cat Calm at the Vet

Few things strike fear in the hearts of cat parents like a trip to the vet — and the result, too often, is that our cats get inadequate healthcare. In fact, cat advocacy group the Catalyst Council estimates that cats go to the vet less than half as often as dogs.

These tips will be easy with a kitten. With an adult cat, you follow all the same procedures, but you must go much slower:

  1. As early as possible in your cat’s life, get him used to different people and environments.
  2. Use a cat harness and leash to go out into the world, and give your cat treats and playtime in each new environment.
  3. Take practice trips to the vet once or twice a week — your cat won’t be examined, but you’ll give him treats and let him get used to the place. (See more about keeping your cat calm in the car here.)
  4. Make the cat carrier a positive place — leave it open all the time, filled with comfy bedding. Feed your cat in it and stick treats inside it often. (See more about keeping your cat calm in his carrier here.)
  5. Get your cat used to being handled the way the vet will handle her. While you’re at home and for just a few seconds to start, get your cat used to being scruffed, having her hindquarters handled, and lying on her back, so those won’t feel scary during a vet visit.
  6. Vets are people, too, and some can have varying levels of ease with cats. (After all, not everyone is a “dog” or “cat” person!) Make sure you go to a vet that spends some time talking with and getting to know your cat before jumping to the exam. You might even consider trying a cat-only clinic if you have one nearby.
  7. If you’re bringing your cat to the clinic, ask the clinic when the least busy times are and schedule accordingly. The less you have to wait, the better.
  8. Think about bringing a towel or yoga mat to put on the exam room table. Vets like stainless steel because it is very easy to clean, but it’s also cold and slippery. Giving the cat something to grip may make a big difference.
  9. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, who writes’s Veterinary Medicine column, suggests packing a goody bag with items such as treats, catnip, and your cat’s favorite toys. If your cat’s a hider, bring a towel that smells like home so she can have her head underneath it.
  10. Many vets recommend practicing touching your cat at home the way your vet might during a basic exam. “When your cat is at home, relaxed and happy, look in his ears; open his mouth — gently and only if you are sure of how to do it, and handle his paws — even introducing a clipper and tapping on a claw — to help make these health-exam basics less scary over time,” says Dr. Crosby.

Get the Most Out of Your Cat’s Vet Visit

Come Prepared
If you recently moved, bring a copy of your cat’s medical records with you. Write down any medications your cat may be taking and the dosage. When making an appointment, ask if you should bring a sample of your cat’s stool or urine.

Make a List
Write down all the things that concern you about your cat: hair coat, diet, exercise program, toilet habits, etc. This will help you communicate better.

Write it Down
Don’t be afraid to write down the information your veterinarian provides to you. Ask if there is a handout or a brochure containing more details.

Don’t Be Embarrassed
Your cat’s veterinarian is the other family doctor. There’s no need to feel awkward about asking anything or mentioning something that you’ve noticed. Your veterinarian wants to help keep your cat healthy and happy. Without your observations, important information may be missed.

Ask About Emergency Coverage
Find out the process for after-hours emergencies. If the veterinary hospital refers its patients to an emergency facility, be sure you know the address, phone number, and hours.

Types of Visits and Common Questions

New Kitten Visits
Owners of new kittens have many questions about litter training, diet, obedience, behavior, spay/neuter, and vaccination schedules. Your veterinarian is very experienced and comfortable with these questions.

Sick Visits
Write down the history of your cat’s illness. Did your cat stop eating? Is he vomiting? How often? What is he vomiting? Could he have eaten something he shouldn’t have? What might it have been? Was your cat in a fight with another animal? Has he recently been in a kennel? Did you change your cat’s diet recently? Veterinarians have to be detectives when it comes to diagnosing some diseases and the history you provide is very valuable and may help your veterinarian save your cat’s life.

Wellness Visits
Healthy adult cats still require a health exam. Ask which vaccinations are appropriate for your cat and inquire about seasonal concerns such as fleas and ticks. This is also a great time to discuss upcoming events that might affect your pet such as vacations and visitors.

Checkups for Senior Cats
If your cat is getting older, ask about your cat’s tolerance for exercise, how to recognize senile behavior, what to do about arthritis and other aches and pains, and if a blood panel is necessary to evaluate your cat’s blood and organ health.

Thundershirt: The Secret Trick to Try before Your Cat’s Next Vet Visit

Thundershirt, which is a partner of Petfinder, makes a shirt designed for dogs and now cats to help them relax and overcome anxiety and fear. The Thundershirt applies a small amount of pressure to the torso, which is believed to have a calming effect on the nervous system. It is essentially used the same way a parent uses swaddling to calm a newborn baby.

Try a Thundershirt to Improve Vet Visits

For some cats, a Thundershirt may make getting into the carrier easier and reduce the hissing, screaming, growling, and biting that accompany vet visits. A testimonial on Thundershirt’s website from Soren W., a Durham, NC-based veterinarian, says, “Thundershirt is helpful in terms of making the trip to the vet hospital and while at the clinic. We have seen that positive effect here with cats that we put Thundershirt on. They relax almost immediately from the stress associated with a vet visit. I even use the Thundershirt at home to help calm my cat while trimming his nails.” (Get five more vet-recommended tips for keeping your cat calm at the vet.)

Last year, our own staff writer Joan wrote about her experience with Thundershirt for dogs and how it helped her dog with his fear of thunderstorms. Have you used a Thundershirt during your pet’s vet exam? Tell us about your experience!

Updated 12 September 2020 By Pawesome Cats 6 Comments

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How to find a vet for your catWhen 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.

How to find a vet for your cat

Image: Lindsey Turner via Flickr

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.

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Image: Paul L Dineen via Flickr

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?

There are so many vet practices to choose from it’s difficult to know which one to pick. But it’s worth doing a bit of homework to make sure that both you and your pet are happy with your choice.

How to choose the right vet practice for you and your pet

Find a registered vet

It’s illegal for anyone who isn’t registered to practice as a vet. The body responsible for this is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Qualified vets will have the initials MRCVS or FRCVS after their name. You can check if your vet is registered on the RCVS website.

The RCVS also has a voluntary Practice Standards Scheme which accredits vet practices according to the services and specialties they offer. They are rigorously inspected every four years and may also have spot checks in between. You can tell whether a practice is accredited because it will display the RCVS Accredited Practice logo. You can find your nearest vet practice on the RCVS website.

Personal recommendation

Recommendations can be a really useful way of finding a vet. Find out what other pet owners in your area think about their vet – but consider whether they have the same type of animal as you because different pets have different requirements.


It’s a good idea to choose a practice close to your home. Not only is it convenient, if there’s an emergency it’s good to know that you can get your pet to the vet as soon as possible because quick treatment could save their life. Think about where the practice is located, if it’s near any public transport links or, if you drive, does it have a car park or is there public parking nearby?

Opening hours

All vets have to make arrangements for their clients’ pets to receive emergency treatment outside normal hours – although it may not actually be at their own practice if they don’t have the facilities so it’s worth asking about this. You and your pet may be sent somewhere further afield. If you work long hours you might want to check if the practice is open on weekday evenings or at the weekend.

If your pet needs an overnight stay at the practice, ask whether there’ll be a member of staff on site monitoring them continuously.

Bedside manner

All animal lovers want to know that their pet is in good hands. Do all the staff treat your pet sympathetically and seem genuinely interested? They may need to restrain or muzzle your pet for treatment but there’s no excuse for rough handling. Also think about whether you’re being well informed about what’s going on and, if you have to give your pet any treatment, if you’re given clear information on how to do this.


The prices that veterinary practices charge can vary depending on their location, the facilities they offer and their overheads. Staff should be able to give you typical costs for routine treatments and don’t forget to ask exactly what’s included when you’re given a quote. If your pet is having surgery, find out whether there will be further charges for post-op check-ups. It’s definitely worth getting pet insurance – you’ll be breathing a sigh of relief when you’re faced with a bumper vet bill.

Some charities, like The Blue Cross, provide veterinary treatment to people on benefits for a donation or at a reduced fee. Contact your nearest charity for advice.

Specialist vets

Most vets carry out a variety of medical and surgical procedures but there may be times when it’s better for a specialised vet to take over – for example if your pet needs an MRI scan or has a complex fracture. If your practice doesn’t have a specialist then they may refer your pet to another vet.

Also think about what range of pets the practice usually treats. If you’ve got an unusual or exotic pet, it’s worth finding a vet who has experience with that species. If you’re not sure your local practice should be able to point you in the right direction or you can search for a practice by species on the RCVS website.

Extra services

Some vets provide extra services, like puppy training and obedience classes, which can be really helpful. Many offer advice and factsheets to help you care for your pet. If you’re interested in what other services your local practice provides, give them a ring or see if they’ve got a website.

Where can I find a cat vet near me?

Can’t find a cat vet near you? Unsure if a visit to your local cat clinic or cat hospital is necessary? With FirstVet, you’ll get instant access to expert advice and treatment recommendations from our licensed veterinarians online. Our skilled vets are here to help answer your questions 24/7, no matter where you are – day or night.

If your cat needs additional care, our vets will refer to a cat clinic or ct hospital near you. FirstVet is completely independent and has a nationwide catalog of veterinary clinics, so you can always meet the right veterinarian as soon as possible.

How to find a vet for your cat

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Treatment without going to a cat hospital near you

We provide advice and simple suggestions for things that you can do at home to help your cat. Our vets can help you decide whether an issue is an emergency, or when to visit a cat clinic. If your cat needs to visit a vet for an examination or treatment, then you will be directed to your registered vet. If you do not have a registered cat clinic near you, our vets will help you to find your nearest open cat vet near you.

FirstVet is completely independent and has a nationwide catalog of veterinary clinics, so you can always meet the right veterinarian as soon as possible.

Our vets have years of experience treating a variety of conditions. We’re here to help you manage your cat’s:

Coughing and Sneezing

Injuries and Other Accidents

Accidental Poisoning or Toxin Ingestion

Fleas, Ticks and, Other Parasites

Rehabilitation and Post-Op Care

How it works

1. Download the FirstVet App

Create an account using your email address and cell phone number. Next, you’ll be asked to create a profile for each of your pets.

2. Start a chat with us

Select a case type and start describing your pet’s symptoms and any questions or concerns you may have.

3. Your FirstVet video call

If our vets need to take a closer look, we’ll switch to a video consultation

4. Get the record sent to your email

After your chat, you’ll get an email with details for your pet’s medical record.

You’re just a click away from unlimited video veterinary advice for your cat. Pay per consultation ($35), or get unlimited vet visits for just $90.

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Single Consultation

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Meet some of our cat vets

Our licensed veterinarians are here to provide you with peace of mind and education about the health of your cat. On average, our veterinarians have over 10 years of clinical experience before working with FirstVet pet parents.

How to find a vet for your cat

Dr. Jessica Lowe

Dr. Jessica Lowe graduated from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to that, Dr. Lowe attended the University of Maryland, College Park where she earned her first degree. She has a diverse background, working in small animal medicine, emergency veterinary medicine, exotic medicine, lab animal medicine and public health veterinary medicine, for over 10 years. Dr. Lowe has a special interest in feline medicine and internal medicine. She has 2 cats at home and enjoys outdoor biking and traveling. Dr. Lowe joined FirsVet in 2021.

How to find a vet for your cat

Dr. Allison Schwartz

Dr. Allison Schwartz graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery rotating Internship at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in NJ. Since completing her internship, Dr. Schwartz has enjoyed being a small animal general practitioner, with a special interest in dentistry, pediatrics, and surgery. In her free time, Dr. Schwartz enjoys baking, cooking, reading, and of course spending time with her husband and young son. Dr. Schwartz joined FirstVet in 2021.

How to find a vet for your cat

Dr. Diane Givler

Dr. Diane Givler received her veterinary degree from Ross University in 2008 and spent her clinical year at LSU (Geaux Tigers!). She is originally from Pennsylvania, and has practiced small animal medicine in Rochester, NY, Columbia, SC, and Southport, NC. Dr. Givler has worked in small private-owned hospitals, large corporate hospitals, and on a non-profit surgically-equipped spay/neuter RV. Most recently she has been self-employed as a relief veterinarian and is currently living on a 58 foot sailboat with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. Dr. Givler joined FirstVet in 2020.

How to find a vet for your cat

Dr. Eve Cohen

Dr. Eve Cohen received her veterinary degree from St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman in 2014 and spent her clinical year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She then completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery rotating internship at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in New York City. Dr. Cohen has been a small animal general practitioner in NYC, Long Island, and Bluffton, SC. Her special interests include anesthesia and pain management, geriatric care, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Dr. Cohen is a classically trained violinist and violist and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Creative Writing from Skidmore College. She lives in Bluffton, SC with her fiance, 3 rescued cats and a toy poodle – all named after musical references. Dr. Cohen joined FirstVet in 2020.

Finding the right veterinarian, knowing when to take your cat to the vet, and how to get them there with minimal stress can help keep your pet in good health.

How to find a vet for your cat

When to take your cat to the vet

So, how often do cats need to go to the vet? One of the best ways to ensure your cat stays healthy is with an annual check-up. Yearly exams can help avoid medical emergencies and set a baseline for body and muscle condition.

Between checkups, it’s important to be aware of your cat’s health and stay vigilant for any signs of illness. It’s a cause for concern when your adult cat hasn’t eaten in more than 24 hours, or if kittens younger than 6 weeks old have not eaten in 12 hours. Make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately if this occurs.

How to find a vet for your cat

Find a Cat Friendly Practice ®

Some veterinary clinics have found ways to make their practices more “cat friendly”. This may include separate feline exam rooms, waiting areas, and entrances. Some areas of the country even have cat-only practices.

Because veterinarians and their staff realize the importance of cat veterinary visits, some have worked to make sure they are doing everything they can to make it easier for you and your feline friend. Established by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the International Society for Feline Medicine (ISFM), the Cat Friendly Practice ® program is a global initiative designed to elevate care for cats by reducing the stress for the cat, caregiver, and the veterinary team.

You can expect a Cat Friendly Practice ® to:

  • Understand the unique needs and behaviors of cats
  • Have a feline-friendly environment and make veterinary visits more cat friendly
  • Understand how to approach and handle cats in a gentle, empathetic, and caring manner
  • Have the appropriate equipment and facilities needed to diagnose and treat feline patients
  • Meet specific standards for the facility and care of hospitalized cats

Cat Friendly Practice ® is a registered trademark of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

How to find a vet for your cat

Tips for an easier trip

Now that you know when to take your cat to the vet and how to choose the right doctor, there are several ways you can help your cat have a successful, less stressful trip.

  • Stay calm. Cats can sense our anxiety or frustrations, which may cause them to become fearful or anxious.
  • Give rewards to encourage positive behavior. For example, if your cat is sitting calmly in or near a carrier, give a treat.
  • Make the carrier a familiar place at home by leaving it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time.
  • Place familiar soft bedding inside the carrier.
  • Do not chase the cat to get it into the carrier.

Click here for more tips on getting your cat to the veterinarian.

Before your appointment, observe your cat’s behavior. Download and complete this document to help provide important information to your veterinarian about your cat’s eating patterns and behavior.

Picky or Sick?

If your cat’s not eating, it could be a sign of a serious health issue. Take this 5-question quiz to help determine when it’s time to take your cat to the veterinarian.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace discussions with an animal medical professional. Discuss behaviorial and medical concerns with your veterinarian.
Content references can be made available upon inquiry. This site is intended for US residents only.

Medically Reviewed by Jenna Stregowski, RVT Updated May 03, 2022

As a loving pet parent, you probably know that one of the most important things you can do for your cat is to get regular veterinary care. But what does “regular” mean? How often should you take your cat to the vet?

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that all pets see a veterinarian at least annually, perhaps more if the dog or cat has specific health needs.

Randy Wheeler, DVM, a longtime veterinarian and executive director of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, says there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule for how often your cat should see the vet because it depends on too many factors: age, lifestyle, and where the pet lives.

The bottom line, Wheeler says: Form a good working relationship with your veterinarian because they will best advise you on how often your specific pet needs checkups. This kind of cooperative relationship will pay off in the long run if your cat does run into more serious health conditions.

With those factors in mind, here are some general guidelines for when to take your cat to the vet:

Kitten Vet Visits

New cat owners are usually bound by an agreement with a shelter or breeder to take their kitten to see a vet soon after adoption. This kicks off your relationship with your chosen veterinarian and provides an opportunity for the vet to start observing and tracking your kitten’s health from very early in his life.

Vaccines will begin when your kitten is 6–8 weeks old, depending on their lifestyle, family history, and common diseases where you live, Wheeler says. This first round will include shots for rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

About three or four weeks later, your kitten will get the second round of those vaccines, recurring every three or four more weeks until the kitten is roughly 4 months old.

Around the three-month mark is when the rabies vaccines start, Wheeler says, with boosters at the one-year mark and then every three years (or whatever the manufacturer recommends).

Deworming treatments are typically given at some of these visits since most kittens get intestinal worms from their mothers.

Those initial trips to the vet will also include physical exams and a discussion about flea and tick prevention, Wheeler says. This is also a good time for you to ask for your vet’s advice about any nutrition, behavior, or training questions you might have.

Soon after, around the six-month mark, your kitten will be ready to be spayed or neutered.

Adult Cat Vet Visits

Once a year check-ups are recommended for adult cats until age 6–8 years old, though cats at any age with health concerns (especially chronic conditions) may need to see the vet more often for monitoring.

Vaccine boosters will continue as your pet eases out of the kitten stage (1 year old and onward, Wheeler says).

Your vet will inquire about your cat’s lifestyle, especially whether he’s an indoor-only cat or a cat that sometimes ventures into the outdoors. Outdoor or indoor-outdoor cats face more risks outside: parasites, predators, and maybe even becoming separated from your best friend Otis and having a heckofa time finding the way back to the farm.

Another risk that increases for cats who venture outdoors: Diseases like feline leukemia and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which spread from cat to cat (although they don’t affect humans or other pets). The feline leukemia vaccine will also be offered to your cat as a kitten and recur throughout your cat’s life. Although there is a vaccine for FIP, it’s generally not recommended by vets.

Recurring visits will also give your vet a chance to inspect your cat’s teeth, along with giving general physical exams and advice about preventative care. “[I] can’t say enough about dental care,” Wheeler says. Teeth cleanings will help prevent bad breath, and you’ll want to make sure your pet’s teeth and gums are healthy so your cat doesn’t have trouble eating or isn’t in any pain.

Vaccines, like the one for rabies, will continue, too. Your vet is likely to recommend them for every one to three years, Wheeler says.

Senior Cat Vet Visits

You’ll likely start going to the vet multiple times per year when your cat is 8–10 years old, Wheeler says. Most vets start advising visits every six months once cats approach their senior years.

While you’ll want to report any behavior changes to your vet no matter your cat’s age, that discussion becomes more important when your cat reaches his elder years. If a cat is drinking more water than he usually does, for example, it could indicate bigger concerns such as kidney problems or diabetes, Wheeler says.

Hopefully, visiting the vet frequently throughout your cat’s life will make these visits as stress-free as possible. It’s also why having a trusted vet you’re comfortable with can pay dividends, Wheeler says. They’ll know your cat and can tell if something is amiss.

That’s the shortfall of vaccine-only clinics or low-cost spay and neuter clinics: They might not spot other health issues your cat is enduring. A regular relationship with your vet is the best way to assure thorough health screenings and long-term health tracking for your cat.

Is Your Cat Due for a Vet Visit?

If your cat hasn’t been to the vet in the last year, it’s probably time to make an appointment. To make these appointments easier to remember, try writing them down in a planner or making a reminder on your phone or email calendar. Your vet’s office might even offer appointment reminders via email, text, or phone call if you opt in for them.

If your cat has severe anxiety before vet visits and tends to run away or hide when it’s time to get them in the car, take a look at these tips for getting your cat into a carrier as well as ways to ease your cat’s anxiety in general to make vet visits a less stressful experience for everyone involved. Some cat parents even use vets who offer mobile services so their cats can been seen in the comfort of home.

If you need to find a new veterinarian for your cat, you can search through the Cat Friendly Homes’ Cat Friendly Practice or Cat Friendly Certified clinic throughout the country here.

By focusing on cats, we are able to provide the best possible care in the area with precision, love, and genuine care. Check out all our services today!

Serving Buffalo, Amherst, & Williamsville, NY

By focusing on cats, we are able to provide the best possible care in the area with precision, love, and genuine care. Check out all our services today!

Serving Buffalo, Amherst, & Williamsville, NY

By focusing on cats, we are able to provide the best possible care in the area with precision, love, and genuine care. Check out all our services today!

Serving Buffalo, Amherst, & Williamsville, NY

By focusing on cats, we are able to provide the best possible care in the area with precision, love, and genuine care. Check out all our services today!

Welcome to Summer Street Cat Clinic

Serving the communities of Buffalo, Amherst & Williamsville, NY since 1981

Summer Street Cat Clinic has two convenient locations to better serve you. Come see us in Buffalo, NY, or Getzville, NY!

Search for a Location Nearest You:

COVID-19 Policy

For more details on COVID-19 and how it can affect your cat, please check out this resource from Cornell Feline Health Center: Click Here!For current Summer Street Cat Clinic policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the link below:

Serving Buffalo, Amherst & Williamsville, NY

As the proud owner of a cat, you know they have unique needs. Summer Street Cat Clinic offers comprehensive veterinary care for your feline friend with a staff that loves working with cats. We strive to offer an environment without the stresses of the many sounds and smells of a general veterinary office.

When you come to one of our two cat-friendly facilities, in Buffalo, or Getzville, NY, our veterinarians, and technicians will work with you to provide the best healthcare for your cat. Whether it is for an annual exam, preventive care, illness, or minor grooming, we can help!

As soon as you walk through our doors, you will see that our veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians, and receptionists all love what they do. We have been doing it for over 35 years! Give us a call or stop in today.

Many assume that cats communicate via meow, purring, or
hissing. But it’s so much more. Learn the signs by hovering over different parts of the cat.

1. Hot ears

In most cases, hot ears are normal in cats, but if extremely hot, it could be a sign that your cat may be running a fever.

2. Sweaty Paws

Sweaty paws usually occur when body temperature rises, but it can also happen as a bodily reaction to stress or high anxiety.

3. Urinary

Frequent trips to the litter box or urinating outside of the litter box could be a sign of lower urinary tract disease and may be time to see a vet.

4. Tail

A swaying slowly or twitching tail could indicate that your cat is focused. Let your curious cat follow their hunting instincts.

Curious to learn more?

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By taking the Royal Canin pledge to Stay Curious, you are committing to taking the first step in learning more about your cat and their health.


Though my cat is known for hiding their health issues, I pledge to uncover their pain by learning the signs and taking them to the vet. I will also follow the vet’s advice and continue to do yearly checkups so my cat gets the certified help they need regularly.

Continue to Stay Curious

Sign up for email and receive nutritional guidance, pet care tips, and a welcome offer!

Did you know that 50% of cat owners do not take their cat to the vet?

Cats naturally mask their illnesses, but despite appearances, cats need to see their vet as frequently as dogs. That’s why Royal Canin is partnering with our industry experts and veterinary clinics to drive awareness of Take Your Cat to the Vet, and the importance of preventive veterinary care.

Let’s work together and raise awareness for #Cat2Vet and together help make a better world for cats.

Have you seen the signs?

As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than a cure’and cats are experts at hiding illness. It’s important to take your cat to the vet regularly so that your cat’s health is maintained more easily. Sometimes, subtle changes to your cat’s behaviour are a sign they need to go to the vet. Here are 8 signs that it may be time to see a veterinarian:

  1. – Your cat’s appetite has changed (increased begging or leaving food behind).
  2. – Your cat is sleeping more than usual.
  3. – Your cat is drinking more.
  4. – Your cat has stopped jumping onto elevated spaces.
  5. – Your cat is using the litter more frequently, or started toileting elsewhere.
  6. – Your cat is vomiting or has changes in stool consistency.
  7. – Your cat is scratching or itching more.
  8. – Your cat is suffering from hairballs.

It’s important to let your vet know about even subtle changes to what is normal for your cat.

Itching or scratching?

Itching, scratching and biting are the first signs that something may be going on beneath your cat’s skin. There are many causes of skin problems in cats such as food allergies, parasites and infections, endocrine issues or environmental allergies. In cases of skin-related problems such as sores, rashes, and hair loss, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian so that they can establish the underlying cause.

Carrying too much weight?

With 1 in every 2 cats overweight, it can be hard to tell what is healthy. Your veterinarian is your cat’s best ally to ensure they are a healthy weight. Your vet can help advise you on appropriate weight targets, nutritional weight loss plans and alternatives to food-based interactions. It’s important to speak to your vet before making any changes to your cat’s diet or lifestyle.

Litter Jitters?

If your cat’s litter box behaviour has changed, make sure you contact your veterinarian. Cats are particularly susceptible to urinary issues, which can quickly escalate from minor to life threatening. Your cat’s vet will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Ensuring your cat always has access to fresh, cleaning drinking water will help keep their urinary system healthy.

10 tips to bring your cat to the vet

Because cats are experts at hiding illness, it’s very important they see a veterinarian regularly. However, it is common for a veterinary visit to be a stressful experience. Small changes can make a massive difference to reduce this stress. Here are our top 10 tips to bring your cat to the vet.

Your kitten first appointment

Have you welcomed a kitten in your family and wondering what to do for your first vet visit? Your new kitten should see a vet as soon as possible so their overall health can be checked & they can become accustomed to vet visits. Separate to milestone appointments, it’s a good idea to have a veterinary consult within 24 to 72 hours after adopting your new kitten.

Speak with your local vet

It’s always better to speak to your local vet if you have any concerns or questions. They can confirm whether your cat is healthy, overweight or whether you need to change their diet.

Nutrition for life

A cat’s nutritional needs change throughout its life. A cat’s life stage or age is one of the most important considerations when choosing your cat’s food. Certain stages in your cats life, such as growth when they are a kitten, call for more specific amounts of key nutrients for optimum health.

Royal Canin provides tailored nutritional solutions for your cat at every stage of their life, from when they are a kitten, through to their senior years. Discover how life stage can have an impact on their nutritional requirements.


You can now watch our very first `Cat Chat` Facebook event. You will hear from industry experts:

Topics of discussion include general cat health and wellbeing, cat behaviour , how and when to bring your cat to the vet and top cat myths will be busted.

Redbarn February 03, 2019 1 comment

Cats have a reputation for being self-sufficient creatures. They typically require less maintenance than dogs and enjoy cleaning themselves; however, visiting the vet is still a necessary part of responsible cat care. Your cat may need immunizations, spay/neuter procedures, dental care, dietary or grooming recommendations, and let’s not forget regularly scheduled checkups.

For many pet parents, taking their cat to the vet for the first time can seem daunting. But, we’re here to help! We collected tips from Dr. Ena Valikov , owner of Beach Vet Hospital in Long Beach, CA, about how to calm your kitty on the big day and avoid stressful scenarios.

Dr. Ena graduated from The University of California, Davis— the No 1 Veterinary School in the U.S— and practices clinical veterinary medicine and surgery in her Southern California vet office.

3 Helpful Tips to Avoid Stressful Vet Visits

How to find a vet for your cat

1. Put Yourself in Their Paws

“For too many kitties, a visit to the vet can feel just like an alien abduction,” Dr. Ena explains. “Cats are creatures of habit– thriving in a predictable, stable routine. But even for cats, vet visits can become an extraordinary adventure.”

Think about it, going to the vet as a new kitten probably feels something like going to the dentist when you were a child. For most of us, the first time is a scary and unpleasant experience. It’s all too common to see children crying their eyes out in the waiting room, begging to go back home.

2. Recognizing Fear and Stress

Your cat may experience anxiety when anticipating a trip to the vet. To help them feel at ease in the veterinarian’s office, you first need to know the general signs of an anxiety-ridden feline.

According to Dr. Ena and PetMD , when a cat’s head is turned sideways or backward, they are most likely feeling nervous or anxious about something. You may also notice increased isolation or have a hard time coaxing them out of their corner. Recognizing when your feline becomes stressed and what particular acts are causing such a reaction will help you adjust your regular routine accordingly.

3. Make the Carrier Safe

We know there are many cat carriers out there to choose from. That’s why we recommend asking your vet, just like we asked our local vet, Dr. Ena, for their input on the safest ones.

“Get the kind whose top is easy to unlatch. Leave it out with the door open or take it off altogether, and leave it where she likes to hang out,” she said. “Put in stuff with smells of you–If your kitten loves your socks, put them in the carrier. If she likes to sleep on top of your head, put that pillow or the pillowcase in her carrier instead of the laundry.”

Dr. Ena also recommends tossing in some of your cat’s favorite treats to assist them in getting comfortable in their carrier. Redbarn Protein Puffs for cats work great for on-the-go travel because of their resealable pouch and fun, tiny size.

Vet Visit Checklist for Cats

How to find a vet for your cat

1. Do Your Research

Spend some time researching cat nutrition from trustworthy, authoritative sources. Don’t get sucked into a black hole though,

2. Come Prepared with Questions About Their Diet

It’s also a good idea to cut out ingredient labels or take a picture from every container of food and treats to discuss with your veterinarian. This way you’ll get clear, direct feedback on the items you already have stocked in your pantry.

3. Know What to Bring

Be sure to bring in your cat’s complete medical records—this includes your cat’s vaccines, deworming records, medications, past surgeries, and medical invoices.

4. Take Notes and Video

Record your detailed observations and bring them to your vet, especially if your pet is sick. It’s important to take advantage of your vet’s professional training and years of clinical experience while you are at the office.

Dr. Ena has a tip for this, too. “Is your cat doing something weird but you can’t tell what it is…. hiccups, a cough, a sneeze or puking? Whip out your smartphone. Film it and bring it to the vet.”

Unless your cat is sick and needing to be seen right way, pick a day you aren’t overwhelmed with a mile-long to-do list. Give yourself and your kitty plenty of time to prepare and discuss.

What to Ask Your Vet During Your Cat’s Checkup

How to find a vet for your cat

Convincing your cat to head to the vet’s office is often a job within itself. But, to make the trouble worth it, you need to know what questions you should be asking your vet in their first place. Take this list below with you and bring up anything that was skipped in the natural flow of conversation.

  • Ask About Parasite Control: Your veterinarian will know which parasites and which medications are appropriate in your area.
  • Identification Tags and Microchips: Microchips make reunions with lost pets much more likely and provide an extra layer of security for you and your cat.
  • Training: Kittens are easiest to socialize and train in the first six months of life. Cats are known to respond best to patient, consistent, and positive reward-based training. Your vet may have some unique tips for you to try at home.
  • Nail Trimming: It’s easier than you think, but your vet will walk you through the process so you feel comfortable doing it on your own. Bonus tip—ask your veterinarian or their veterinary nurse to show you where “the quick” spot is.
  • Spaying and Neutering: Ask your veterinarian about ideal timing for necessary elective procedures, anesthetic choices, anesthetic monitoring, pain relievers, pre-operative preparations, and costs.

Know When to Get Vaccinated

When it comes to caring for a new kitten, guidelines from The American Veterinary Medical Association suggest kittens start their core vaccine, called FVRCPC (feline virus rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia (distemper more like puppy parvovirus of cats) at six weeks old. Boosters are needed every month until 12-16 weeks of age. Some vaccines are boosted annually and others every three years.

Schedule your future appointments while you’re in the office so you don’t miss these important dates.

Preparing for Costs

Research financing options like Care Credit, veterinary insurance companies like Healthy Paws, and other helpful insurance options before you need them. Veterinary teams will gladly provide estimates.

Do you have any tips on how to have a smooth vet visit with your cats? Let us know in the comments below.

How to find a vet for your cat

Does the thought of travelling your beloved cat to the vets make your hair stand on end?

Do you put off important vet check ups because it’s too stressful to bring your cat to the vet?

Coming to the vets will inevitably create some stress and anxiety for your cat but unfortunately this is an all too common reason for not going to the vets. This becomes an issue especially as your cat gets a little older as attending geriatric clinics as part of your cat’s preventative health care can ensure your cat has a longer more comfortable life.

However, we can’t do this if you don’t come to see us! Cats are independent, territorial animals that need to be in control of their surroundings and are sensitive to unfamiliar scents. Cats dislike travelling because they are suddenly being removed from their usual territory and are exposed to new noises and odours and experience unfamiliar movements. All things can make vet visits more stressful for your cat which in turn can make you more stressed. Fortunately, there’s a lot that you can do to make trips more pleasant to ensure they can have access to the best medical attention they deserve.

How to make vet trips less stressful for your cat

Keep calm!

This may sound obvious but stay calm and talk to your cat in a low and soft voice. If you are anxious or frustrated with they will detect this and become anxious and fearful. So give yourself enough time before travelling to the vet to reward your cat with affection, play and treats. Giving your cat a fuss before travel is likely to not only calm them but you too!

Choose a suitable carrier

Make sure your carrier is warm, comfortable and large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around. Plastic carriers are ideal for easy cleaning if you fear there may be mess and top and front opening carriers allow the cat to be carefully lifted in and out. If you think your cat would feel happier sitting in the base whilst being examined that will be fine, just let your vet know.

Get your cat used to their carrier

A cat’s aversion to the carrier is often reinforced by the fact that often the only time they go inside it is for a vet visit. Use the carrier at home by leaving it open to encourage your cat to sleep or be fed in the carrier. You can also make the carrier more familiar by putting bedding in that smells of home or rubbing a cloth with your cats scent around the inside of the carrier. Finally, you could try a pheromone spray inside the cat carrier 30 minutes before using it.

Avoid feeding

Do not feed your cat for at least 6 hours before the journey to avoid nausea or vomiting.

Wrapping & Covering up

If your cat panics when trying to put them in the carrier, wrap them up in a thick blanket and place both in the carrier. Once inside the carrier keep it covered with a towel or blanket that smells of home or is sprayed with Feliway to help keep them calm.

Carefully does it

When transporting the carrier either by hand or by car try to avoid swinging or allowing it to bang into things. When driving a good place is either in the footwell or a seat secured with a seatbelt so it cannot move.

Accidents happen

Tell us if you think your cat has soiled their carrier on arrival. We understand accidents do happen and are more than happy to clean them up for you. Take spare bedding (smelling of home or sprayed with Feliway) just in case. Let us worry about the rest! Calder Vets Dewsbury are proud to have been officially certified as a Gold standard “Cat Friendly Clinic” by The International Society for Feline Medicine (ISFM). This means that on arrival there is:

  • A dedicated cat only section in the waiting room allowing cats to wait away from dogs
  • Calming Feliway diffusers in the cat waiting area, consultation room and Feliway sprayed towels to cover cats in baskets
  • A dedicated cat consultation room so cats can be examined in an area free from the smells and sights of dogs
  • Cat advocates who are nurses knowledgeable in cat behaviour who have promised to encourage cat friendly handling and prevent unnecessary stress

How to find a vet for your cat

Choosing the right veterinarian for your dog is something that you should carefully consider. This is the person that could potentially save your pet’s life and keep them healthy. Both and your pet should come to a consensus about this person before you make a long-term commitment to work with them. Here are some things to consider when choosing a veterinarian.

Ask for personal recommendations
One of the best ways to find the right veterinarian is to ask your friends and family members for recommendations. Other families with pets in your area may know some good veterinarians to check out, so that should be the first place you look for advice.

Find a veterinarian with an expertise in treating dogs
Veterinarians are not all created equal. There are different types of veterinarians that specialize in working with different types of animals, and some of them may have more experience treating cats, rabbits, or other types of non-canine animals. You will definitely want to work with a veterinarian who has an expertise in treating dogs specifically, so ask about how much experience they have with dogs before you get started.

Look for licensed personnel
Although most people would assume this would be a given, that is not always the case. Make sure that veterinarian really is licensed in your state and also see if some of the other workers are licensed, because there are also registered veterinary technicians. You can ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine for more information.

Inquire about their approach to pets and medicine
A veterinarian is not just there to administer medication, but to provide care for the entire being. Vets tend to have different approaches when it comes to pets and medication. Have a brief discussion with your potential vet and see what they think about wellness and prevention issues when it comes to dogs. If they are not on the same page with you, then you should keep looking.

Consider the cost and location
If an emergency situation occurs, then you will need to be able to get to the vet’s office quickly. Try to find a veterinarian that is less than an hour away from you at the most. Costs can also vary depending on the vet, so see if their prices fit into your budget before you commit to them.

Both you and your pet should be comfortable
Being comfortable around your veterinarian is important because you should be able to tell them everything about your dog. The same thing applies to your dog because they should also feel at ease around the vet. Some initial discomfort around a vet can be normal for some dogs, but signs of anger, fear, or distress toward a vet is certainly a red flag that you should move on.

Look for a clean facility
Have a look around the facility and notice the level of cleanliness. If the place seems a little dingy or dirty, then that is also a sign to move on. Since it is a medical facility, it should be just as clean as a hospital for humans.

Personal referrals are a great way to start the search, but you should still spend some time to get know the vet and staff first. Ask about their background and experience, and then see if they hold views similar to yours on medical treatments for pets. Make sure that both you and your pet are comfortable with the vet and facility. The veterinarian will play a significant role in your pet’s life, so keep looking until you find the right one.

Most veterinarians treat feline patients, so it should be easy to find a cat vet in your area. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put some time and effort into finding a veterinarian with whom you feel comfortable and who you trust. If you’re in the market for a new pet doctor, ask friends and family members for recommendations.

At the minimum, cats should see a veterinarian once a year for a wellness exam. At this time, your cat will receive any necessary vaccines she needs, and receive an overall health check. The vet will listen to her heart and lungs, check her teeth, eyes, and ears, palpate her organs, and check her skin, fur, and overall body condition. Depending on her age and health, your vet may want to conduct additional diagnostic testing, including blood work or fecal samples.

Your veterinarian will also offer advice on at-home care, including grooming, exercise, and diet. She will explain to you what your cat’s ideal health looks like – including her weight, skin and fur condition, and temperament.

Grooming includes nail trims, fur brushing, and ear cleaning. Most cats keep themselves clean and don’t require traditional soap-and-water baths. However, if your pet cat is older, obese, or otherwise unable to clean herself, you may need to give her a hand.

Another important part of keeping your pet healthy is keeping your pet safe. This includes keeping her indoors, and outfitting her with a cat-safe collar and ID tag. And to really safeguard your pet from becoming a stray, consider microchipping. This permanent form of identification can help you reunite with your cat in the event that she is lost and brought to a shelter, animal control kennel, or veterinarian’s office (anywhere they would have a chip scanner).

Your cat should also be seen by a veterinarian anytime you have a concern about her health or wellness. This includes if she appears to be injured or in pain, or is experiencing a change in temperament, activity level, or appetite, as these are often indicators of illness or injury. It’s better for your cat’s health (and your wallet) to catch a problem early on rather than postponing treatment.

The most important vaccines include the FVRCP vaccine (often referred to as cat distemper) and the Rabies vaccine. Depending on your cat’s lifestyle – for instance, if she’s ever allowed outdoors – your veterinarian may also recommend additional vaccines, including that for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). Keep in mind that ALL cats, even those that are indoor-only, should receive the FVRCP and Rabies vaccines.

Vaccines are typically administered in the following series. Your veterinarian may alter your pet’s schedule based on need or personal recommendation. Always defer to your veterinarian, as she knows your pets best.

FVRCP vaccine (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia)
This vaccine is first given by 4-8 weeks of age, in a series of boosters every 4 weeks until 16 weeks, and afterward, once a year. It protects against several highly contagious and some often fatal diseases of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

Rabies vaccine
This vaccine is first given at about 6 months of age, then given 9-12 months later (but not one day late). After two vaccines are administered on time, it’s given once every three years for life. It protects against rabies, a fatal virus that can transmit to any mammal, including humans.

We also highly recommend that you spay or neuter your pet cat as soon as possible (ideally, before 4 months of age, when their adolescent period begins). Spaying and neutering not only helps prevent unwanted litters, thereby curbing the cat overpopulation problem, it also has many health and behavior benefits.

Southwest Minneapolis’ Community Newspaper

Pandemic is taxing the veterinary industry in complicated ways

A client’s cat became sick one recent Sunday. She called five local veterinary emergency clinics but none were able to see her.

COVID has taxed the veterinary industry in a way we haven’t seen before. In a short amount of time, the pandemic created the perfect storm of too many animals needing help and not enough people to help them.

New pets

When the shelter-in-place order first went into effect, we started to see more puppies. At first it was so fun! I went from seeing one puppy a week to two to three a day. After several weeks, we were getting overrun with new puppies and new pets in general.

Where did all of these animals come from?

For some people, getting a new puppy was already in the works and they just bumped up the timing of that adoption. It made sense! The shelter-in-place order forced most people to be at home and freed up a lot of time for training and all of the extra work that comes with puppyhood.

For others, isolation created a lonely void. When you can’t see other people, animals are desperately needed companions. Soon finding a pet at a shelter or rescue became difficult; they had all been adopted!

Busy season

You wouldn’t think that there would be a busy season for veterinarians. But in the summer months, we are about 10% to 20% busier than in the winter. It’s not just snowbirds returning north that increase our animal traffic. Pets are outdoors more so we see more cat bite abscesses, injuries from running around the dog parks and skin infections from swimming in the lakes.

In addition, we have an unusual vestige of rural farming days in which people want to book their “spring shots.” On the farm, that’s when the farm animals, including dogs and cats, would get their vaccines. That tradition is slowly disappearing, but for many of our older clientele, this is what they were taught and what they are used to.

Staffing shortage

While other industries are laying people off, the veterinary industry is experiencing a staffing shortage. Many people in our industry, either by choice or circumstance, are not going to work. Some are self-identifying as high risk and are choosing to isolate. For others, new child or elder care responsibilities are keeping them at home because former caretakers are unavailable.

When a specialized industry gets stressed, pivoting is difficult. It takes eight years to make a veterinarian. Certified veterinary technicians go to school for two years. Even for non-degreed positions at the veterinary clinic, it takes six to 18 months to feel skilled at the job.

When veterinary staff are not able to come to work, it is not easy to replace them. Many veterinary clinics found themselves in a situation where a significant percentage of their work force was no longer available. Right now, there are fewer people to provide services for more animals. COVID pushed the industry past its tipping point, and that level of stress cannot be maintained.

ER overload

At our clinic, we responded to the influx of animals by putting a pause on seeing new clients. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only clinic backed into that solution. That means that there are fewer places for an animal in need to go.

If a general practitioner can’t see a patient, then sometimes the only option is the emergency clinic. This means that the local ERs get overloaded. We will get reports at the beginning of the day about which clinics are closed and not accepting patients. One client told me he considered going to Duluth with his sick pet because it was a six-hour wait to get into the metro ERs.


So what is a veterinary clinic to do while trying to operate in the pressure cooker?

Long term, we’ll figure it out. New businesses will form, staffing structures will change, more people will go to vet school.

In the short term, we’ll do the best we can with what we have. For general practitioners, that means pushing off wellness exams to allow more space for urgent patients. Our doctors in quarantine are helping by doing telemedicine calls for patients that can safely be helped that way.

You just keep trying hard and try to adapt. That’s the pandemic way.

Receptionist burnout

It is important to turn a spotlight on the experience of the veterinary receptionist during this crisis.

When the veterinary clinic is at capacity, that doesn’t mean that pets don’t still need care. Imagine being the person who has to break the news to a stricken pet parent that their veterinary clinic can’t help them today.

Clients in distress often don’t take this news well. Their frustration is taken out on the receptionist, sometimes in very degrading ways. This takes a huge emotional toll and contributes to the burnout of an already stressed veterinary team.

The client is right for advocating for their pet. The veterinary team is right for saying “no” if they feel like taking on another patient will negatively impact quality of care. It’s a lose-lose situation, and the veterinary receptionist is at the fulcrum of that vice grip.

We’ll keep working toward solutions, but it is important that the receptionist experience during this time be shared. A broad ask is for pet owners to have empathy for the person who answers the phone at your clinic.

How to find a vet for your cat

Welcome to All About Cats Veterinary Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, where we provide veterinary care, boarding and grooming exclusively for cats. As our name says: we’re All About Cats! Our Las Vegas veterinarians and staff of “cat people” are dedicated to providing excellent care to cats and the people who love them. Our compassionate, talented veterinary care team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to cater to our feline patients’ specific needs and health concerns. We strive to make every visit as calm and comfortable as possible for cats.

Las Vegas Cat Care Services: Wellness Exams, Spay and Neuter Surgery & More

Our experienced cat veterinarians provide complete care including:

Our cat wellness care services are dedicated to supporting cats through all six stages of the feline life cycle: kitten, junior, prime, mature, senior and geriatric. Our veterinarians are committed to helping all cats live long, healthy and active lives with specialized care for each phase of the life cycle. We also offer behavioral advice for common problems including destructive scratching, inappropriate elimination, feline aggression and environmental enrichment.

How to find a vet for your cat

In addition to these services, our cat hospital includes an on-site pharmacy to quickly fill any prescription needs. Cat food for specialty diets is available for purchase at our Las Vegas veterinary hospital.

How to find a vet for your cat

Why Visit a Cats Only Hospital?

Our veterinary team understands that a trip to the vet can be stressful for cats and their owners, so we created a cats-only environment. At our cat clinic, we know that the sounds and smells of other animals, including dogs, can be very frightening and upsetting to cats. That’s why our clinic does not allow dogs or other animals. This creates a calm, stress-free environment. We invite you to take a virtual tour of our cat hospital or schedule an in-person visit to learn more about the difference that our cats-only care approach can make for you and the special cats in your life.

Meet our Las Vegas Cat Veterinarians

Dr. Terri Koppe founded all About Cats Veterinary Hospital in October of 2001 after recognizing the need for a cat-exclusive Las Vegas veterinary hospital. Dr. Koppe is joined by Las Vegas cat veterinarians Dr. Alissa Lansing, Dr. Ashley Love and Dr. Jody Morris. All our veterinarians specialize in feline medical, dental, and surgical veterinary care and are passionate about helping cats live healthy and happy lives. Our mission is simple: provide experienced, loving care just for cats at our Las Vegas veterinary hospital.

Cat Care from Cat Lovers, for Cat Lovers

Our love for cats shines through in everything we do! As evidenced by our cat-only environment and feline-friendly boarding area, our animal hospital is committed to providing the best in veterinary care for cats.

August 22 nd , 2018, is a day dedicated to bringing cats to the veterinary clinic. But you might be wondering, why is an entire day dedicated to getting our feline friends to the doctor?

While there are more pet cats in the United States than dogs, significantly fewer ever see a veterinarian. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and a study by Bayer Animal Health, 83% of pet cats go to the veterinarian in their first year of life, and then never go again. There are a number of reasons that pet owners are reluctant to take their cats to the vet clinic. Many pet owners do not understand the value of a yearly exam.

How to find a vet for your catYour cat may not love visits to the vet, but annual checkups are essential for your feline friend.

But why does my cat have to regularly see a vet?

For many cats and their people, going in the carrier, the car, and into a vet clinic is very stressful! So, they avoid taking them to the veterinarian. But cats are experts at hiding illness, so owners may believe everything is going fine until their feline friend gets so sick that he cannot hide it anymore. Often the only symptom of a serious disease may be some weight loss, which many owners dismiss as a normal part of aging (it isn’t!). Finally, many cat owners believe nothing can happen to their indoor cats, therefore they do not need preventative health care such as vaccines and parasite control. However, even indoor cats can be exposed to fleas and heartworm-carrying mosquitos through screen windows and doors, intestinal parasites by eating bugs and mice that enter the house, and sometimes they do escape outside, and therefore should be protected against potentially deadly viruses such as panleukopenia and rabies. Additionally, an indoor only lifestyle does not exempt a cat from a legally mandated rabies vaccine.

Knowing why your cat needs to see the doctor on an annual basis (and semi-annual for senior/geriatric cats) is important for owners to understand. It’s about more than just vaccines! The physical exam performed by your veterinarian is a valuable and much underrated tool that helps identify problems in their earliest stages. Many owners do not even recognize that a veterinarian is performing a physical exam, but by putting his or her hands on the cat, he or she may be able to detect subtle changes in the coat quality, the amount of muscle, problems with the teeth, and anything abnormal happening in the abdomen just with a physical exam. As your cat ages, we recommend increasing the number of vet visits because the risk of certain types of disease, such as kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. Catching these signs early in the progress of the disease can lead to more successful treatments and outcomes.

How to find a vet for your catCatching problems early may prevent illnesses that could develop later in life.

The importance of catching problems early

Regular veterinary visits also allow an owner and veterinarian to work together to deal with medical and behavioral problems early. For instance, obesity is becoming one of the top health concerns of our pets, which can lead to diabetes and worsen arthritis in cats. If your veterinarian sees your kitty regularly, he or she can intercede and provide a diet plan before kitty becomes too fat. Additionally, we are now recognizing that dental disease can significantly impact quality of life by causing pain; identifying problems early can help prevent pain (and be less costly for an owner in the long run). Your veterinarian can also help with advice about behavior problems, such as house soiling.

Reducing the stress of a trip to the vet

So how can we reduce the stress of bringing our feline friends to the doctor’s office? Number one is to choose a veterinarian that you are comfortable with! Vets are people too, and finding one that you trust and whose personality is a good match for you and your cat is important. Also look for a veterinary clinic that caters to cats by having a quiet waiting area separate from dogs, and places to keep the cat carrier elevated off the floor in the waiting area and exam room. Ask if they have separate spaces to hospitalize dogs and cats. You can even find a practice that has been certified cat-friendly by the AAFP by clicking here!

How to find a vet for your catThe carrier can sometimes be scary – try leaving it out for a few days before vet visits so that your cats are comfortable with it!

Cat carriers don’t have to be scary!

Number two, teach your kitty that the carrier isn’t a scary object! I used to keep my cat carriers tucked away in a closet, and all my cats would flee under the bed as soon as I brought one out. Now, there are always a couple cat carriers out with soft towels or blankets inside. Instead of being scary things associated with car rides, my cats use their carriers as safe little caves in which to sleep or hang out. If you don’t want to keep a carrier out all the time, bring the carrier out at least a few days ahead of the vet visit and feed the kitty some tasty treats or canned food daily inside the carrier to associate it with good things. Once kitty is in the carrier, do not remove him until you are in the exam room at the veterinary clinic; many cats get scared and will bolt from an owner’s arms once outside the house. You may also want to try using a pheromone spray (i.e., Feliway) on the towel in the carrier which can help keep your kitty calm, as well as covering the carrier with a towel to decrease visual stimulation.

For cats that just refuse to enter the carrier calmly, tipping the carrier door-side up and putting the cat in back feet first usually works much better than forcing him in head first.

Finally, for some cats, no matter what you try, going to the veterinarian is an incredibly stressful experience involving yowling and tearing at the carrier. For these kitties, finding a veterinarian that makes house calls may make all the difference, allowing them to stay within their comfortable home environment. Alternatively, you may try with your veterinarian about using a mild anti-anxiety medication on the day of the visit, which can help smooth out the entire experience, from carrier to physical exam to back home again.