It is day two and I have been noticing that Smokey my rescue cat is not eating properly. Food bowls are hardly touched. She is just lying in the corner indifferent to her surroundings. Being a newbie in pethood, this situation has alarmed me. Cats just like humans can develop multiple health conditions. They are self-protective by instinct, and this makes them expert in hiding illness. It is sometimes not until they are very ill that their sickness becomes obvious. Once you become a cat owner, you must look around for the right veterinarian for your feline buddy.  Your furry friend needs a veterinarian not just for shots but also for addressing the health issues that might develop over time. Regular checkups act as preventative medicine against disease and disorders that could shorten the lifespan of your furball. Here are a couple of handy tips to ensure that your veterinarian is a good match for your cuddly cuteness.


As a feline parent, finding the right veterinarian is very important for your cat’s long life and health. The first step in this journey is to properly check out and prioritize your cat care needs. These include your preference(s) for the proximity, old fashioned one veterinarian office vs. a multi-veterinarian practice housed with latest diagnostic equipment, your cat’s special needs due to the medical history of blood pressure, diabetes etc; wait times and bedside manners. And of course, budget considerations also rule your decision. Once you have defined what you are looking for, kick start your search through online veterinarian directories, web pages, yellow pages and of course not to forget the “word of mouth”.  


The person whom you are looking to take care of the medical needs of your fur pal plays a significant role. Their knowledge, skills and expertise help to promote good pet health, safety and longevity. Once you have marked down your needs and are browsing through the vet directories, you should start shortlisting on the basis of the professional capabilities of the vets. Just like human doctors, many veterinarians take up further studies in a particular specialty. Membership of the ISFM (The International Society of Feline Medicine) Academy of Feline Practitioners is awarded to those who have studied further in the field of cat care. The same body (ISFM) offers Practice Membership to clinics thus allowing them to get access to the latest advancements in the field of cat care. ISFM also runs a Cat-Friendly Clinic program that encourages the clinics and the staff that is working there to be cat-friendly ensuring that your furry mate has a pleasant visit. Similarly, the qualifications of nurses and technicians in feline care also enhance the credibility of the vet clinic. In today’s modern world, the trend of holistic and alternative forms of treatment is also becoming popular and there are vet clinics that offer homeopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture etc. Do not panic if there is not a cat-only vet in your area. The mixed practice is also fine provided that you are satisfied that there are suitable qualifications.


The next step in your selection process is to book an in the initial introductory visit with the shortlisted vet practices.  Your very first telephone conversation helps you judge the warmth and friendliness of the staff. On the basis of these observations, you can speculate about their ability to soothe a stressful situation. A feline clinic that respects and caters to your cat care philosophy is the right choice to register with. When you are personally visiting a feline veterinarian, be observant of the surroundings. Ask him/ her questions to answer all the questions on your mind. A good vet is one who establishes two-way communication with you. He/she engages you in conversation. Instead of being a preacher, he/she would act as a partner in your healthy cat care regime. You must ask direct questions to extract maximum information from your first visit. Some of the questions to ask in your introductory visit are: a)       “How long have you been in the business?” b)      “What type of accreditations do you hold?” c)       “What types of services do you provide?” d)      “Do you offer payment plans?” e)      “What is your emergency handling strategy?” Always follow your instincts and choose for the one that satisfies you the most and you can entrust him/her with your cat. Apart from meeting your prospective veterinarian, tour the facility as well. Don’t get disappointed with a busy, hectic and fast-paced waiting area. Rather it is a positive indicator that the prospective vet is well-liked, competent and hard-working. Try to be observant of the surroundings in terms of client handling. Also look for a clean, clutter-free and smell proof facility where cleanliness and pet hygiene are properly looked after. While meeting the prospective vet, be observant of his/her bedside manners. If you are visiting with your cat, then carefully observe how your fur buddy responds to vet’s handling and mannerism.


Alongside your search through the web and yellow pages, reviews and opinions from other pet owners are pivotal in narrowing your hunt for a veterinarian.  Ask your friends, neighbours, and relatives about their veterinarian and why they preferred him/her over others. Word of mouth gives you a realistic picture offering first-hand information. This will help you to explore your nearby pet care facilities in a better way.


Emergencies can befall both humans and animals. “What you would do if you need a vet’s services in the middle of the night?” is such a question that hangs like a sword over the heads of a feline parent. Working hours of a cat-care facility are essential in your selection of a veterinarian. You must find out how the facility handles emergencies outside normal consultation hours. And if there is no emergency handling, then what is the best possible option to look for. Being a feline parent, you are the primary person - the observer - who has the ultimate responsibility to provide for the best of the cat care services. Careful consideration of the aforementioned factors can help you in making the best possible choice.

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