If you’re a cat owner or have friends or family with feline companions, you know just how adept they are at hiding in plain sight. You’re sure they’re around somewhere; you just can’t see them.
Minimizing the stress of that first – and every subsequent – visit makes all the difference. Forty percent of cat owners say they get anxious just thinking about making a vet appointment, and the No. 1 obstacle to client visits is the dreaded carrier and car ride. A proactive veterinary staff should provide information on how owners can keep their cats comfortable on the trip to the clinic, and then provide a calm, non-threatening environment when they arrive. Be ready to discuss the variety of products available that your veterinary clinics can recommend to keep cats anxiety-free – like pheromone sprays, collars and diffusers, calming wraps and supplements. Even clinics that are short on space to stock carriers should have one on hand to demonstrate how much easier top-opening styles are for getting cats in and out, and show how some procedures can be done without removing the cat at all.
Cats are susceptible to several serious diseases which often don’t show clinical signs until they‘ve progressed. It’s important to stress the need for diagnostic tests such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV), along with fecal exams, blood and urine tests that can detect chronic kidney disease (renal failure), hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus and parasites.
Inappropriate elimination – or litter box issues – are the No. 1 reason cats are surrendered to shelters. Ruling out an underlying medical issue should be the first step, and clinics who put together handy “urine collection kits” make it much easier for cat owners to collect that all-important sample. A small amount of No-Sorb litter, a bulb pipette, and a plastic specimen jar in a zip-top bag with simple instructions are all it takes. If the problem is a behavioral one, products like Cat Attract or Litter Magnet, Kitty Box Ramps to help arthritic, senior cats access the box, or a change of litter (with that convenient home delivery option) may solve the problem.