Overcoming barriers to veterinary visits
"Cats are perceived as being self-sufficient because they hide their pain and illnesses. We need to educate clients about
that," Rodan says. "There's also a lot of fear associated with bringing cats to the veterinarian. People don't want to be
the bad guy dragging the cats in. We need to change that."
Recommendations cover topics like reducing the stress of transport, making the cat and client comfortable at the clinic and
facilitating calm examinations and treatment. Recommendations begin at the start, helping kittens become comfortable with
the carrier and traveling, and continue in the clinic by reducing wait times and giving cats time to adjust to the exam room
and unfamiliar surroundings.
Web resources on cat healthcare
The guidelines include a lengthy list of Web sites and online publications for veterinarians, clients or both audiences. The
AAFP will be offering more online links and materials to aid client education at
Ultimately, Rodan says the avenue to healthier cats and more frequent feline veterinary visits is the personal relationship
veterinarians build with clients. "There needs to be that client-veterinarian bond for us to have credibility and increase
compliance," she says. The new guidelines are a step in helping veterinarians see what today's feline experts recommend and
communicating that to clients.
Cats and chips
As the guidelines flowed through the approval process, one practitioner found something missing completely: microchipping.
The committee filled the gap with a paragraph on "Identification" that read in part:
"Assuring the indentification of all pet cats, regardless of their lifestyle, is recommended to increase the prospect of lost
cats being returned to their owners.
"The wellness examination is the ideal time to discuss the important of identification with owners. The benefits of both visible
(e.g., collar and tag) and permanent (microchip) identification should be explained, and compliance with identification [should
be] recorded in the medical records along with other elements of the history."