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!"
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:
YOU LEAVE HOME
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
(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
BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE CLINIC
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"?)
to Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3