Choosing the right veterinarian for your feline companion is one of the most important decisions you will ever make as a cat owner.
There might come a time when your cat will need some serious medical attention. And when that happens, you’re gonna want to make sure that you have the ideal veterinarian picked out.
So what should you look for in a veterinarian?
In general, you should look for a veterinarian that has a convenient location, after hours emergency care, and a well organized office just to name a few.
Convenient Location and Hours
For starters, you’re not gonna want to drive a yowling and sick cat to a veterinarian’s office that is 50 miles away. Doing so could potentially be life threatening for your cat, especially in circumstances where they have eaten something poisonous.
In these situations, you’ll want to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Aim for a location that is within 10 or 15 minutes from your home if at all possible.
You will need to make sure that the vet’s hours are also convenient for you. Do you work during the day? If so, it is really important to find a veterinarian that has office hours in the evenings or weekends. Many offices have Saturday hours which is a huge bonus if yours does.
Another thing to look for is any emergency after hours that they may provide. For example, my local vet’s emergency hours are until 10 PM. After 10 PM, I’m directed to go to the nearest 24 hour emergency care vet clinic which is about an hour away.
A really great tip I can give you here is to have the phone number and directions to any emergency care pet clinics taped to the wall by your door. This way, if an emergency does come up, you are fully prepared. You should make it easy to find out where to bring your cat in case of an emergency.
In some larger cities, you might find a veterinarian that has a mobile practice that also makes house visits. These services tend to be a bit more expensive, because you’re essentially paying for gas and travel time in addition to the care that your cat will receive.
However, this option might be more convenient and less traumatic for your cat. Because as we all know, most cats really hate car rides.
The Veterinarian’s Office Should Be Organized
A well-run veterinarian’s office should appear organized, clean, and professional. A bit of chaos should be expected if the vet’s office has a lot of animals in the waiting room.
Call them to schedule a tour and a walk-through. Most offices will let you do that anyway and will not question why.
You should never see any animals fighting with each other. Nor should you see obviously sick animals waiting endlessly in the waiting room, potentially infecting other animals.
The staff at your veterinarian’s office should also be friendly in their manners. They should genuinely care about your cat’s health when you bring it in. If they seem to have a bad attitude and an unfriendly persona, you should probably stay far away.
If the vet’s office is in a larger city, but they never seem to have any patients at their location, this could be a red flag as well. There are hundreds of thousands of pet owners in a large city. If no one seems to be choosing a particular veterinarian, it could signal a poorly run office.
Nowadays, you should be able to find a vast number of reviews about a given location. It’s as easy as going on Google and searching for information on your chosen location.
Also, be sure to see if they have a Facebook page for their practice. Facebook has a feature where people can leave reviews for businesses they have used.
A Good Veterinarian Has Decent Communication Skills
Stick with a veterinarian who is friendly and easy to communicate with. They should not have a condescending attitude towards you. And they should always be willing to listen to any concerns that you might have.
Obviously, a good veterinarian should also be compassionate about animals. They should be able to explain what is going on with your cat without getting too technical with their language.
Also, a great vet is someone who keeps up with the most current medical information. They will also be improving their animal care skills through continued education and training.
How To Find A Good Veterinarian For Your Cat
There are 3 main ways to find the perfect veterinarian for your beloved feline. These include using Google search, referrals, and recommendations.
A great way to find a good vet is to simply Google “nearest veterinarian”. Google will then usually show you several listings where you can read the reviews of each vet practice.
Be sure to refine your search for the most recent reviews. Sometimes, vet offices may revamp and improve their location and staff. Other times, there may be negative changes that might have occurred.
Be sure to read through the reviews thoroughly, because oftentimes you will find a general theme in regards to negative and positive reviews.
You’ll want the most up-to-date information that you can possibly find to help make your decision a little easier.
Another good method in finding the right veterinarian for your cat is simply asking friends and relatives who they’ve used. If someone has stuck with the same vet for a large period of time, this is normally a great sign.
Specifically talk to those people who own cats. Your dog loving friend and your cow milking relative may have some general guidance when it comes to experiences they’ve had with their vet. However, the best referrals come from other cat owners since they are in a similar situation as you.
The third way to find a great veterinarian is to ask your local pet shelter for guidance. If you actually adopted your cat from the local humane society, they will more than likely give you a list of veterinarians in your area that they recommend.
Animal shelters deal with hundreds of animals and often have sick ones that are in need of medical attention. Their on-call vet likely has tons of experience, so take their recommendations seriously.
For the most part, it should not be hard to find the right veterinarian. If you live in a bigger urban area, then finding a good vet will be relatively easy. However, if you live in a more rural area, it may be a bit more challenging to find the right vet for you and your feline companion.
I happen to live in a more rural area, so I do not have many options when it comes to veterinary care. Luckily though, my veterinarian is top-notch with extremely glowing reviews, but I do have to pay above average prices for normal procedures such as spaying and neutering. But if it keeps my cats healthy, I’ll gladly pay it.
My final bit of advice here is to always listen to your gut or your intuition about a certain veterinary practice. What does your gut tell you? Combine that with Google reviews and it shouldn’t be hard at all to find a great vet.