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.