As cat guardians, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do in order to keep our cats safe, happy, and healthy. We go the extra mile to play with our kitties each day, feed them delicious meals, and stay home with them instead of going out with friends (guilty). Choosing a vet for our cats should be no exception.
But finding the best veterinarian for our pets isn’t as easy as doing a simple online search and picking the first name that pops up. Instead, we need to spend some time getting to know the person who will help us care for our young kittens, check up on our adult cats, and be there for us when our senior cats are facing their toughest health battles.
Luckily, you can figure out if a vet is a good fit for you and your furbaby by asking a few simple questions.
What to Ask a Veterinarian Before Booking an Appointment
What does a typical wellness exam entail?
Each year, you’ll be bringing your cat in for a wellness exam at the vet, so you need to know what to expect. Almost all vets will let you know about the nose-to-tail examination they’ll give your cat, the vaccinations they’ll administer, and other standard procedures.
However, the best vets will also encourage you to have your cat’s bloodwork done on a regular basis to ensure that they are healthy and to catch any early signs of concerns.
Are you a fear free practice?
Going to the vet can be scary. Fear free practices are those who make the effort to provide a comfortable environment that reduces stress for cats at the vet. This includes separate entrances and waiting areas for cats and dogs, gentle handling techniques, and more.
Even if the vet isn’t certified to be fear free, they may still have routines in place that will help calm down your cat while you’re there. Ask about those accommodations before booking an appointment.
How much do your services cost, and do you accept pet insurance?
When it comes to veterinary care, it’s pretty common that you will get what you pay for. Low-cost clinics will get you the essentials quickly, but vets with a higher price point will often provide an extra level of care and compassion—and will be more likely to get to know you and your cats for life. At least, that has been my experience.
It’s up to you to find the right balance of what you’re willing to pay and the services you would like. Pet insurance is another great option for all pet guardians to help protect both their furbaby and them.
How do you handle emergency cases?
It’s not fun to think about, but emergencies do happen. You need a vet who can handle and accommodate them. Ask about their schedule and if they are able to easily work in emergency care, if there’s an extra cost for it, and if there are any holidays they are unwilling to work.
Even if the veterinarian you end up choosing isn’t always available for emergencies, ask them for recommendations for emergency animal hospitals near you. Keep any contact information for these locations nearby—hopefully you’ll never need to use them, but you’ll be glad to have them if you do!
Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Vets
For years, we put up with a subpar veterinarian, never even considering changing doctors. That is, until a complex case with our senior kitty gave us no other option.
Switching vets was the best choice we ever made. We found a new vet who provided a higher level of care, and now we aren’t afraid to get second (or third or fourth) opinions. You are your cat’s best advocate, so be sure to set them up with the care they deserve!
I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral or physical challenges.