Show clients your feline love
Dr. Ilona Rodan, owner of the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wis., and frequent speaker on the topic of improving feline visits,
says that she fell in love with cats when she was a senior in veterinary school at Washington State University. She has made
cats the focus of her professional life and was one of the first veterinarians to become an ABVP specialist in feline practice
Dr. Rodan co-chaired the American Association of Feline Practitioners Feline Behavior Guidelines and their new Feline Handling
Techniques Guidelines. She says that she's trying to share the joy of cats with other veterinarians. She feels certain that
they would see more cats if they enjoyed them more and felt more confident handling them. "Cat owners want to see that you
get cats and like working with them," she says.
She says that the No. 1 thing that team members need to know is that cats almost always act badly because of fear, stress
or pain and not because they are bad cats. The fear, stress and pain need to be addressed before a successful cat exam is
possible. Dr. Rodan says that this is the key to getting along with cats and making loyal fans of their owners.
Simple things that veterinarians can do to reduce cats' fears and stress include creating a separate seating section in the
reception room for cats, getting cats out of the reception area and into a quiet exam room as quickly as possible and giving
cats a chance to acclimate to the exam room before handling them. Never shake cats out of their carriers, Dr. Rodan says;
that will only upset the cat and its owners.
Helpful, practical resources for practice teams that want to learn more about cat behavior and better ways to handle cats
(and impress their owners) are available on many websites, including
Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM, is a veterinary business consultant and nationally known writer and speaker. She is a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager,
an adjunct instructor for AAHA and a founding member of VetPartners (formerly known as the Association of Veterinary Practice
Management Consultants and Advisors).