Your cat depends on the care you give at home and also the care provided by your veterinarian. Every time you visit the veterinary clinic becomes an opportunity for you and the veterinarian to work together to ensure your cat’s continued good health. Since the time spent in the veterinarian’s exam room is relatively short, it’s important to make the most out of it. Here are some tips to help you to be an ideal veterinary client:
1. Turn Your Cell Phone off
while in the exam room don’t take phone calls or text. Focus your full attention on your cat. In addition to it being very rude, you stand a good chance of missing important information that your veterinarian may be trying to convey.
2. Prepare Ahead of Time
Wrie down any questions you have for the veterinarian. It’s easy to forget something once you get inside the exam room. If you have a question about a particular behavior or problem that your cat is having, it might be very helpful for your veterinarian to actually see it so if possible, capture the behavior on your smart phone.
3. Be on Time
Respect the veterinarian’s time and the time of other clients. Your veterinarian may be running late due to an unexpected animal emergency so be tolerant of delays in his/her schedule. Do your part by showing up on time.
4. Transport Your Cat in a Carrier
A carrier, whether it’s a hard plastic kennel-type or a soft-sided luggage type will greatly reduce your cat’s stress and ensure her safety. Unrestrained animals in a vehicle pose a serious danger to the driver. Unrestrained animals in the clinic become very stressed and add to the anxiety of other animals around them. The safest way for your cat to be transported to the clinic is in a carrier. If you use the kennel carrier, much of her examination may even be able to be done while she remains inside with just the lid removed.
5. Don’t Complain About how Much Services Cost
Animals are living longer because of advancements in veterinary care but that comes with a price. The latest technology and medication does cost more. If you can’t afford veterinary care, talk to your veterinarian about a payment plan. If you think you are being ripped off with fees, discuss it with the clinic manager and if you are still unsatisfied then start looking for another clinic. Veterinarians aren’t getting filthy rich off their clients. Advanced technology costs the veterinary clinic lots of money in order to stay up to date. You have a right to question fees but do so in the same way you’d like to be addressed. Standing at the front desk and loudly complaining makes it unpleasant for everyone in the clinic.
6. Take Notes
If you’re being told a list of instructions from the veterinarian, take out a piece of paper and write notes or record the instructions so you won’t have to call the clinic due to something being forgotten.
7. Comply with the Veterinarian’s Instructions
Compliance is a huge factor in whether your cat responds to home care. Whether it has to do with specific feeding instructions, physical exercise, cage rest, behavior, medicating, be sure to comply with your veterinarian’s instructions.
If you’re unhappy with service, talk with the veterinarian to give him/her a chance to correct the problem. Your veterinarian may be unaware of something going on in the clinic in terms of how your cat was treated or how a staff member interacted with you. On the other hand, it’s also important to let the veterinarian know when you’re pleased with service. If a staff member in the clinic has gone above and beyond, be sure you let that person and veterinarian know how much their thoughtfulness is valued.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.