Why Do Dogs Howl?

Does your dog howl at the moon -- or just you? Learn the reason behind this unique -- and sometimes annoying -- behavior.

View Video

Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

Cats eating grass may seem unusual, but in many cases it's perfectly natural. Learn why cats eat grass and how to make sure your cat eats grass safely.

View Video

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Introducing Dogs

We show you how to introduce dogs to each other without anxiety, aggression, or territory guarding so they can form the perfect four-legged friendship.

View Video

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

A cat's curious expression isn't complete without twitching whiskers. Learn why cats have whiskers and how they help cats in their everyday lives.

View Video

Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses and Whiskers?

You love your dog's adorable wet nose and whiskers, but have you ever wondered what purpose they serve? Find out!

View Video

Why Do Cats Hate Water?

If you've ever tried to give your cat a bath, you may have learned that your cat hates water. Learn why this is sometimes true -- but why some cats love water, too!

View Video

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Dogs chase their tails for a number of reasons -- learn whether you should be concerned about your pooch's tail-chasing habits.

View Video
Popular in Pets

Selecting a Vet

Take your time and choose your vet carefully, as you will need to rely on his or her expertise to properly care for your cat.

Find a vet you trust.

You and your vet are your cat's healthcare team; you observe and report, your vet diagnoses and treats. Your veterinarian will arrange a schedule of vaccinations and regular checkups; maintain a medical history of your cat; and provide preventive, critical, and emergency care. Your partnership with your vet will be a long-term relationship. Working together, you and your vet can help your cat have a healthy, happy life.

Start your search by asking people you know for recommendations. Turn to:

  • friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors who have cats
  • your local branch of a cat fanciers' association, your local or state veterinary association
  • your local Yellow Pages

Questions to Ask Fellow Cat Owners

  • Are you happy with your vet?
  • What is the name of your vet? Where is his or her office located? Is it a group or solo practice?
  • Why did you choose this vet?
  • Can you tell me about a specific situation and why you feel your vet handled it well?

Compile a list of at least six vets to check out.

Do Your Research

Once you have a list of six or more vets to choose from, get on the phone and call the vets' offices. Gather information to compare and contrast to narrow down your list. Note how you are treated over the phone. Staff and doctors should be courteous, pleasant, and willing to listen and talk with you. Here are some basic questions to consider asking:

  • What percentage of the practice is devoted to cat care? You are looking for a vet with plenty of experience with cats.
  • If your cat is purebred, how many of this breed does the vet treat? Your vet should be well-versed in the idiosyncrasies and conditions that can affect your cat's breed.
  • Does this doctor specialize? Some areas of specialization are surgery, dental care, eye care, orthopedics, and allergies.
  • What range of services does the veterinary practice provide? Do they perform diagnostic tests on the premises, and what testing and evaluation equipment do they have? Are boarding and/or grooming services available?
  • What are the office hours? Consider your schedule and whether you will require Saturday or evening office hours.
  • How much do they charge for annual checkups and vaccinations? If applicable, inquire whether the office accepts (or will help you receive reimbursement from) veterinary insurance.
  • What is the preferred method of payment? Do they accept credit cards? Debit cards? Checks? Cash?
  • What are the procedures for after-hours emergencies? How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours?
  • Is there 24-hour coverage at the office? If not, how often are overnight patients checked?
  • When the doctor is on vacation or unavailable, who provides veterinary care?
  • Does the doctor make house calls?
  • If it's a multidoctor practice, can you request a specific doctor?

Visit the Office

After you've made your phone calls, narrow down your list to two or three choices by considering phone manner, location, proximity, payment methods, and emergency procedures. Make arrangements to visit each office. Keep this handy checklist in mind when you visit.

  • Are the facilities clean, well-lit, and pleasant-smelling?
  • Where are overnight patients housed and how are they cared for after office hours?
  • What school did the doctor attend and what degrees does he or she have?
  • Ask each doctor how they would treat a specific condition, such as hairball blockage or skin disorders, and compare their responses. If you have a purebred cat, ask about a condition that would affect your cat's breed (for example, clogged tear ducts are common in Persians).

The tone of the vet's response is as important as the content. Vets are generally qualified, so ease of communication is critical. You should be able to understand your vet's response and feel comfortable communicating with the doctor.

Observe how the staff treats you and how they interact with one another. Different offices have different styles and you should find the one that suits you. Every practice should be friendly, helpful, and caring.

Once you decide on a vet, take your cat to the vet's for a visit. Do not wait until you have an emergency to get acquainted. Observe how the doctor and the staff treat your pet. The more you know about your vet -- and the more your vet knows about your cat -- the better.

close
close
close
close
close

Loading... Please wait...