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Selecting A Vet:
The First Visit

by Garry White



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First and foremost: You want this to be a success! Yes, you're on the alert for inappropriate behavior, but you're not looking for reasons to make this new relationship fail. Keep a positive, excited attitude. Also, go into this with a little compassion and understanding; of course they promised you the moon last week, but if you end up with only a star, you're still way ahead of the game. So we're going to focus on the excitement of having chosen a great vet, right? Say: "Yes, Garry!"

NOTE: While I've encouraged you not to select a vet simply because it's the closest one to home, neither do we want to be so fussy that the only vet we're happy with is in the next state. Most areas will have a several vet shops, but not an infinite number of them. Meaning, you'll probably end up choosing from the best of short list.

As you go through the first visit, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I think Fluffy will get good care here?
- Were they professional and thorough?
- Were they respectful of my own wishes?
- Can I live with a few minor inconveniences to get Fluffy the best care?

If you have access to a computer, spend some time on the Internet peeking at various websites and group-lists related to felines-only. Discover what are common ailments in cats as they age; unfortunately, these are things you may encounter somewhere down the road. great starter-link is: www.thensome.com/cats.htm

Spend a few minutes of quiet time with Fluffy. Get her settled down and relaxed. Don't scramble around the house in a frantic race getting ready to go; you can bet Fluffy will know something's in the wind, and it probably isn't dinner and a good movie! They read us so easily! If Fluffy will go with you in a carrier, put something of YOURS inside on the bottom: A shirt, blouse, t-shirt, sweatshirt. . .and make sure it's something you've worn, not something freshly washed. Kitty Katz love anything with your scent on it, and it will help them to feel "connected" with you while they're inside that cage.

The rest is common sense. As I said: The vet practice wasn't designed to accommodate just you and Fluffy, so you'll have to show some flexibility. However, you're looking for a place that offers (at least) close to what you were led to believe, and specifically one that you feel comfortable will offer the very best care for Fluffy.
(1) Reasonably short waits in a lobby that doesn't resemble the San Diego Zoo (the longer the wait, the more nervous and frightened Fluffy will become, and the more risk that test-results will be biased by Fluffy's anxiety.
(2) Thorough exams: Remember, you're establishing BASE information for Fluffy - a neighbor could tell you that Fluffy looks fine. You want more than a pat on the head and a peek in the ear: insist on having (at least) blood and urine testing done.
(3) A doctor that will listen to you, and one who encourages your participation in Fluffy's wellness program.

I would also broach the following topics with the new doc:
(a) Proper diet. But beware: Most clinics carry a particular brand on their shelves, and of course it's the best food on the planet. But they make a profit on this (a very HEFTY profit in most cases), so you might choose to step around this and do your own research.
(b) Dental maintenance. This is crucial; tooth and gum disease claims a lot of cats.
(c) Kitty-Kautions - Things that could be damaging (or even deadly!) to Fluffy, such as: Toxic items, certain plants, certain foods, and so on. The vet can probably offer information on this, but if not. . . do your own research!

Be sure to get copies of everything that was done, including test results and vet-notes. When you get home, start a Fluffy binder, and don't forget to put your own notes in there! You DID take notes during the visit, right? Say: "No Garry, I didn't take notes! But the little tape recorder was running the whole time, and I'll transcribe them when I get home."
Oh, how I love you for being so much smarter than I! (or is it "me"?)

Back to Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3



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Copyright © 2003-2013 by Kathy Fatheree. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: Kathy Fatheree is not at all a medical expert. Contents of this web site are a collection of Kathy's assist feeding experiences as well as the experiences of other cat owners who have assist fed their cats. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, Kathy Fatheree or anyone associated with this web site cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen as a result of using the information on this site.