Choosing a veterinarian can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips and important things to keep in mind to help you select the right veterinarian for you and your cat.
Although it seems intuitive, start by selecting a veterinarian who really likes and gets cats.
– Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, MS, DAVBP (Feline)
Steps to Finding a Veterinarian or Practice
Call a few local veterinary practices to learn more about them and their services. Do they have a veterinarian who is a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners? Are they a Cat Friendly Practice®? Do they have a cat-friendly waiting area or a cat-only exam room? Ask them to recommend a doctor on their team who likes cats, excels in working with them, and is interested in feline medicine and surgery. There are even feline-only practices who only see cats!
Set Up an Appointment
Meet with the veterinarian or veterinary team to check out their services in person.
Things to Look for While Considering Veterinary Practices
Cat Caregiver and Veterinarian Relationship
Look for a veterinarian who spends time answering your questions, and who discusses issues other than vaccines with you. Veterinarians who like cats should discuss feline nutrition and behavior. These discussions will really help you to provide the best home environment and care for your cat.
Cat Friendly Practice®
Consider choosing a Cat Friendly Practice® as awarded by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Cat Friendly Practices® take specific steps to make sure they understand cats’ unique needs, implement feline-friendly standards, help decrease the stress of the veterinary visit, and provide a more calming environment for you and your cat.
Cat Friendly Certificate
Look for individuals who have earned a Cat Friendly Certificate within the veterinary practice. These veterinary professionals have taken specific training to better understand and practice feline medicine. These individuals work in various capacities – veterinarian, technician, nurse, assistant, manager, and practice staff.
Search for a veterinary professional in your area and filter by members of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), Cat Friendly Practices® and those who have earned their Cat Friendly Certificate.
Contributed by Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, MS, DAVBP (Feline)