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What Questions Should You Ask Your Vet?

There are some questions that veterinarians actually wish clients would ask either before they get a pet or soon after.

We interviewed several veterinarians to find out which things they wish their clients would ask about their cat.

1. Should I get a cat? Wow, there is a lot to consider before you take on a pet. Do you have the time? Do you have the space? Do you have the money? You might not be considering some of the things that your vet might bring up.

2. Where should I get my cat? This is a great question. The best place is a good rescue group, shelter, or humane society. If you want a purebred cat, know that there are some great purebred rescue groups out there too. They often take cats that were abandoned, whose owners have died, or have other circumstances that require they be rehomed. You can find a wonderful purebred pet through rescue!

3. What should I feed my Cat? “Is store-bought food OK? Should I give raw meat and table scraps?” I wish I got these questions more frequently and could guide owners to better dietary choices for their pets. In short: say no to raw foods and table scraps and yes to high-quality cat food.

4. What can I do to have a really nice cat? Things such as socializing your cat with lots of different people and different types of people at an early age can make a big difference. I love to expose cats to men, women, short people, tall people, people with hats…and when I introduce them to all kinds and races of people I reward the cat with treats and praise. Also, it pays to get your cat used to you playing with his feet and touching his mouth. This will make a big difference in your ability to get the nails trimmed and brush teeth.

5. How much will it cost to have a cat? Keeping a pet can be expensive. Food, litter, and routine veterinary care can really help.

6. What can I do to keep my cat healthy? One of my favorite articles is this one on pet care recommendations for cats. Vaccinations, flea control, daily tooth brushing, and socialization are all a part of a healthy pet and responsible pet ownership.

7. What are common toxicities I can prevent? Onions, garlic, Easter lilies, and antifreeze are all very common toxins. Prevent exposure by locking up all chemicals and keeping “people food” away from your cat.

8. Should my cat see a specialist? If your pet is really sick or not getting better after being treated by your vet, it is OK to pursue the help of a specialist. Most vets will (and should) help you see a specialist to get the best care for your pet.

9. What is the best way to budget my expenses? I’ve never had anyone ask me this question but I wish they would. I only hear the other side of the story when clients ask how they are supposed to pay when something happens. Here’s a great article on caring for a pet on a budget.

10. Do you think my cat is overweight? I’ll be honest, cat owners often don’t want to think they have a fat cat. Sometimes there’s no way to sidestep the issue though-they have a fat cat. You can control your cat’s weight (and only you) by changing how much they eat, what they eat, and how much exercise they get! Read more about the Irreverent Vet speaks out on Pets that are “Big Boned“.

11. Can I give my cat human medications? NO! Many human medications are toxic and you should never try using them on your pet. Please do the right thing and check with your vet before giving your cat anything.

12. Can I give my cat my cat flea control medication? Gosh, this question could avoid a lot of pain and suffering to cats. Many of the dog flea preventative medications are TOXIC to cats. Always ask your vet what is safe for your cat.

13. Is pet insurance helpful? I only see cat owners struggling to pay for expensive routine care or medical care when their cat is sick. Only then do I get questions after the cat is sick – and then it is too late to get pet insurance to help for that particular problem. The best time to get insurance for your cat is before he or she is sick. Learn more about how pet insurance works. Pet insurance can really help you and your vet do the best for your cat if a problem occurs.

14. Is dry food really better for my cat? Is dry food better for a cat’s teeth? The answer is – probably not. Learn more. In fact, canned food contains a lot of water which is better for the urinary system.

I hope these questions help you know questions you can ask your vet that may prevent problems in your cat or keep him or her healthier.