The Water Bowl
Breed & Health Resources

Why You Might Need a Cat-Only Hospital for Your Kitties

By Dr. Patty Khuly

Cat-only Veterinarians

As a veterinarian who treats dogs and cats in equal measures, I hate to admit it. Nonetheless, it’s true: Not all hospitals are created equal when it comes to treating cats. Some approach felines with a mentality that suggests they're more like small dogs than a separate species with its own special set of needs.

Consider the following by way of illustration:

  • Though I hate to call anyone out, it’s obvious that some hospitals handle cats a little impatiently and sometimes even a tad roughly.
  • They place their carriers next to barking dogs,
  • hospitalize them in full view of slathering canine predators, or
  • fail to keep up with issues inherent to feline medicine (modern vaccine protocols, low-stress handling techniques, diabetes management, etc.).

Though it sounds unfair, it’s not without cause. Consider the following rationales:

  1. Money: Studies have repeatedly shown that pet owners are more likely to spend their hard-earned dollars on their dogs than their cats — by about two to one. So when veterinarians spend their own dollars on infrastructure, staffing, and continuing education, it makes sense that we might spend more of it on canine-specific tools and training.
  2. Tough customers: It’s also true that cats can be tougher to work with. Cats undoubtedly require a little more patience (as do many of their owners).
  3. Never the twain shall meet: Moreover, some practices are just not set up to handle two species that are so very different. Consider that barking, in particular, is a huge stressor for cats. And that can be rough for kitties whose vet visits take place across a thin wall from a room loaded with hospitalized dogs. But what’s a small hospital to do?

All of which brings me to this post’s simple point: Some cats are better off going to a cat hospital. Not only are feline practitioners, on average, more likely to be up-to-date on issues like vaccine protocols and cat-specific approaches to medicine and handling, but the atmosphere is typically serene compared to dog-and-cat facilities.

Problem is, these practices are not always available. Nor should you assume that feline-exclusive veterinary practices are always the right choice. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  1. Two vets?: For starters, it’s tough to take your dog to one place and your cat to another. It’s hard to build multiple relationships with professionals when finding the perfect vet for you can be such a difficult prospect in some cases.
  2. A paucity of practices: How many cat-only practices are available in any given municipality? In more progressive major metropolitan areas, there’s often a variety of feline practitioners to select from. But in places like Miami (where I live), there are only a couple to choose from.

Nonetheless, it might be worth your while to give your kitty the chance to experience one of these places. If your cat seems inordinately stressed at the vet, or is acting out aggressively at your average dog-and-cat hospital, and especially if you’re looking for a veterinarian with cat-specific skills, you might want to give this brand of hospital a try.

Mind if we pay your vet bills?

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