What to Look for in a Vet

I suppose if I want to make this post really PC, I should say Healthcare provider, but cats don’t have healthcare providers, we have vets. It’s a fact. Let’s face it.

Many cats around the sphere have been seeing the vet and the Woman and I were talking about what makes a really great vet. The Woman brought an interesting perspective because she is both a client of a veterinarian, but she is also a healthcare provider herself.  We have also been talking with Luxor and his female human about vets.
The best vet is the vet that pays attention to you. It is the person who has a rapport with YOU. They can be wonderful for every other cat or human but if you don’t get them or understand them, then maybe they aren’t quite for you. Maybe there’s a better person out there for you.

The best vet gets you and can observe what you do.  They hear you.
When the Woman worked at the veterinary clinic eons ago, when they still saw dinosaurs and receptionists also did the tech work, there were three vets. Some people liked one, most people liked another and the third had a small but loyal following. The Woman was part of the third vet’s very loyal following. She was thorough in her work. She listened. She understood the woman and treated her instincts with reverence. The Woman had a cat who looked like an Abbysinian (but it was a stray) and it wasn’t acting right. She said all she could think of was that this cat looked like an old cat in kidney failure but she couldn’t articulate why. The cat was 2 years old. The vet graciously said, it’s probably a low grade virus because I’m not finding anything outstanding, but let’s do some blood work which can rule out a kidney problem. It’s not that expensive so let’s do it to ease your mind.

Well the cat’s numbers were off the charts. They figured it was probably a genetic thing that can happen in some Abbys. However, she handled getting lab work for the cat in a way that kept the Woman calm and made her feel heard.  She also found the problem.
The other vet treated the Siamese before me. This cat wasn’t right for some time. This was the vet that everyone loved. The Woman liked her and the vet she really liked was no longer practicing veterinary medicine (she found it too stressful). Anyway, the Siamese before went back again and again but the vet could find nothing outstanding wrong. They started to act as if the Woman and the cat were both neurotic. The Woman wants to add that as it was a Meezer, there was some truth, but the cat was not being a “normal” neurotic. Anyway, nothing was ever done. The Woman felt frustrated and unheard and spent a good six months worrying about this cat. She didn’t know why. Then one day, the cat turned gold. This is jaundice. In an old cat this is very bad. The cat died a few days later. This wonderful vet whom everyone loved let the Woman down in a big way. She felt very alone in her fight for this cat’s health. She didn’t get her questions answered. She didn’t know where to turn because she didn’t know who could help her.

Lots of people thought this vet was the best, but she wasn’t the best for the Woman or for the previous Siamese.

So, in essence, the best vet has time for you. They listen to you. You like them. We think Latte has the best vet because he likes his vet so much!

The Woman is very impressed with the Vet who is taking care of Georgia. She gave the Woman her email and her personal phone number. They spent an hour talking about Georgia’s initial symptoms. She called back after the Woman called in a progress report. They really seem to listen to the fact that Georgia is a big part of the family.

The Woman wants to add that she doesn’t think she’s the best acupuncturist. There’s a ton of stuff she’s forgotten. However, she does know that she’s helped a lot of patients. She’s had a lot of really successful outcomes and part of that is the fact that she listens to her patients. She knows that those people who like her, really really really like her. In their eyes she is the best. She’s also very aware that she’s not the best for everyone, nor would she test out “best” amongst her peers. She suspects this is true of many vets.

She does note though that like any good vet who has the potential to be the best, she can pass a proficiency test in all areas of her craft! She is careful about what she does and above all, she takes very seriously that medicine is about “do no harm.”

Luxor’s human added kindness and compassion, willingness to think outside the box, expertise, and availability.  I think that all of these are summed up in “getting you” the client (and me the patient!).  For us, it does mean thinking outside the box and being willing to accept alternative medicine.  It might not be important for someone else.  We’d also add rapport, though again this comes back to being on the same wave length.   The feline clinic that I have been to, gets me as a Siamese and they treat me with the respect a Siamese deserves.  They are awestruck that I am a chocolate.  They bow down before me.   (okay maybe that’s an exaggeration).

Our family had the great dilemna of a holistic vet or a feline vet.  In some vets, the dogs are really important and the cats are secondary.   The woman really wanted a vet who understood she adored her cats as much or more as most people adore their dogs.  Not all vets get this.  She also wanted vets who understood that mixing vitamins in their food, or whatever food they would gulp down in ten minutes or so was not an option for most cats (although it is for me.).  She asked at the feline clinic for a holistic vet when Georgia was sick and they referred her to the holistic vet we are seeing.  She asked on the phone for the vet that dealt with cats the best.  The receptionist was excellent and able to give her a bit of info on each one and together they decided to see Dr. Lisa.

We hope this helped…


  1. Chey, that’s a reely good artikle! I’s gonna make a note to linky to it on the Cat Blogosphere noos to tell cats n beans to go read it. Sooper job! (But dat’s what we expekts from such a smart Meezer like you!)

  2. :::sound of my paws clapping:::

    Excellent article, Chey! And, although you know we love our vet and she’s great one on one and in the moment, at this moment we’re puzzled as to why we’re being ignored (or at least it feels that way). No one even called back about whether Ninna’s medicine was in today!

    Mom & Dad took Ninna to a holistic vet for a time (trying to figure out the puzzle of the biting she does on herself), and what he did helped for a couple of days but then she was back at it again. And he was *very expensive, not to mention quite a drive away!

    This is sort of beside the point, but Mom tried a different vet last year for Ninna, and she – though she tries to like everyone – was NOT at ALL happy with her bedside manner – clipped, professional, distant. Plus Mom was sitting on the sofa in the room where you wait for the vet to come and reached down and was stabbed in the finger – by a runaway acupuncture needle stuck in the sofa! Not cool!

  3. Great article Chey. 🙂 As you said, you need to find a vet that is right for you. My mom is studying to be a physiotherapist, and, like with your mom’s accupuncture, she knows she won’t be the right physio for everyone, but is confident that she will be able to help some people.

    My humans have an added difficulty when finding a good vet. Although both of them speak German, they aren’t fluent in German, and a lot of the cat-related and vet words, they only know in English. So finding a vet that speaks English in Germany is also a consideration for them.

    Thanks again for the great article. 🙂 Very well written and well thought out.

  4. Pooh thinks the best trait in a vet is one who gives him spray cheese. I think it’s the one who doesn’t charge me a fortune. 🙂

  5. Wonderful article Chey! You are right, my vet is the BESTEST! He called all of the time when I was sick to check on me. He called Meowmy on a Sunday to make sure I wasn’t in pain but I was so he gave me more pain meds. I just adore him and not only does he understand me, he understands Meowmy and the Chip Man. It is SOOOOOO important to like and trust your vet. After all of the specialists I saw none of them were in tune with me except for MY vet. He just gets me and I really appreciate that.

    We have a hollistic vet who works in our practice and he is FABULOUS at what he does. We know we’re very lucky to have him there. He does not have the best bedside manner but he’s super smart and really knows his stuff. Like our herpes virus….most vets don’t really pay much attention but Dr. Dym never even spoke to Meowmy but gave Chase the ‘shrooms and zithromax and now he’s fine.

    I get to go see my vet tonight to get my titer. No more vaccines for me!

  6. Chey, this is a great artikle. We are lucky to have a team of v-e-t-s that loves us and our mommy.

  7. Chey, that is a wonderful artical. Our meowmezie finks she has found us a vet her in Flo-rie-dah.We have only seen her once, but she’s still debating on maybe finding another VET for us and letting our woofies go there. Although really liked the one we had in Mt. City Georgia which was 45 minutes away from our old house. – Sia

  8. Very good, Chey. And, BTW, humans should bow down before us!

  9. Yay, my vet’s office called – someone called! Just a few minutes ago! And she said our vet said the Prairie food is fine – just to test me with strips occasionally (Mom’s never done this but figures it shouldn’t be too hard)!

    Plus – the icing on the cake – Ninna’s medicine just arrived in the mail at the vet’s office!

  10. Excellent post. We’ve had good vets and not so good vets. The bottom line is that the vet needs to love Cats and love what s/he is doing. With out that it’s just another job, and humans with just another job usually have their minds elsewhere.

  11. I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner, Luxor–that’s excellent that you’ve finally gotten some answers! Of course, it would have been nice if it had happened sooner. How is Ninna?

  12. This is an excellent post! Vets are extremely important to us, since OC has stomatitis, we’re dreading having to find one here in MB. Our vet in Illinois was so wonderful that if it were feasible, I’d drive OC back to see her.

  13. It’s too soon to tell much about whether Ninna will respond, but not that much yet. But Mom thinks the pill worked better, if she could have only gotten it into her w/o such an upset for all!

    Thanks for asking!

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