Getting a new pet, or your first pet, is an exciting time. Getting to know your pet is one of the most enjoyable stages of the process of raising a pet. Especially with cats, as their natural curiosity and sudden feats of athleticism and energy are constant entertainment. Whether you’re adopting an adult cat or bringing home a kitten, you’re going to want to establish a relationship with a veterinarian.
Before you start to canvas your area for available pet hospitals and start asking questions to determine if they’re a fit, you first need to decide whether you want to choose a small practice or a large practice. The answer to this question will help you qualify the pet hospitals into a smaller groups. If you want your new kitten to see the same vet each-and-every visit, you’re going to want to select a smaller practice. With a big practice, you’re most likely going to see a handful of different vets during your various visits as your your kitten grows into a cat.
Never had a pet and don’t know which to pick? Think about your personal preference when you see your doctor. Do you like to see the same doctor every time that knows your personally or do you enjoy the technology and speed of a large clinic? You’ll likely want the same for your pet.
Once you’ve decided, you’ll be able to glean from the different pet hospitals websites whether or not they qualify as a small practices or a large one. Also, quickly factor in location. Decide how far you’re willing to travel in order to see the vet. Make a list of three or four that are the right size and distance for you and prepare to ask them the following questions.
What is the average wait time for appointments?
If earlier you decided to go with a smaller practice, you should expect the wait time to be a bit longer than if you went with a larger practice. It’s always advisable to take your cat into the vet for regular visits, which in those cases you’re be able to comfortably set those appointments well in advance. But, unfortunately, more than likely your cat will have something come up that requires your vet’s attention. In those cases, it’s nice to have the peace of mind that your pet will get in front of an experienced vet within a couple days of calling for an appointment.
If your job makes it difficult to get away during standard hours, a related question you might want to ask is how difficult is it to obtain a weekend appointment. Some cat appointments will take you no longer than 15 minutes, in which a quick lunch-hour appointment will be doable. Others, however, can take close to an hour, which puts a strain on a cat owner with a strict working schedule.
Do You Have Emergency Services?
Hopefully you never have an emergency situation come up with your cat, but if it does, you’ll want to have a course of action. Ask your vet if they can see Mr. Kitty in the case of an emergency. More times than not, if the pet hospital is a 24-hour, they’ll be able to see your pet during an emergency.
If the pet hospital doesn’t have emergency services, that might not be a dealbreaker for whether you choose them to be your cat’s regular provider. Ask them who they’d recommend you take your cat to for emergency treatment. Cross reference with Google maps and make sure the emergency clinic is within a fair distance of where you live.
Will You Accept/Share My Cat’s Vaccination History?
Depending on the age of your cat, your cat may have a vaccination history that you’ll want your new vet to be aware of. Most vets accept vaccination and medical histories from other pet hospitals, but you’ll want to ensure that this is the case.
Also, you’ll want to make sure they are going to share your cat’s history if you eventually switch to a different provider. Whether you move or simply decide to change vets down the line, you’ll want your cat’s next vet to be up to speed on his/her medical history.
How much does it cost?
The health of you cat is the priority, but cost will likely be a factor in your decision, especially if you don’t have pet insurance. Of course, every procedure and diagnosis will range in price, but you can get an idea of how much the standard check up is going to cost by asking the vet. If you’re torn between a couple of vets, price might be the differentiator for you. You’ll also want to ask the vet if they have payment plans for expensive, unforeseen procedures that your cat may need in the future.
What is Your Waiting Room Like?
All animals are different when it comes to riding in the car and visiting the vet, but there are pets, especially cats, who dread the experience. Cats can experience anxiety when they’re introduced to new places, and if those new places are full of other, unknown animals, that anxiety can be a lot on your cat.