Increasing the feline half of your practice
1.Historically, canine patients (regardless of size) are more agreeable than cats.
2. Cats (regardless of size) are not small dogs.Cats come with their own set of unique challenges, but veterinarians still want to see more of them in their practices—even the cantankerous ones. Why? Cats are good for business.
For the first time in U.S. history, the number of owned cats has surpassed the number of dogs. As the cat population increases, so does a practitioner's potential for patient volume. Luckily, the average household includes two cats, so veterinarians can increase feline patient loads without dramatically increasing their client bases. In fact, more than 12% of U.S. households own four cats, and these cats see their veterinarians approximately 1.8 times per year. If you take the increase in feline patients, multiply it by the number of annual visits, and factor in the increased expenditures per feline visit over a decade ($44.80 to $92.90), that leaves a fairly optimistic financial outlook for feline medicine. What makes a cat owner choose a general practice over a feline only practice? If the client also owns a dog, he or she may choose a general practitioner for convenience. But more than likely, cat only clients will entrust their feline friends to practitioners who:
2. Communicate their ability and desire to treat cats. Don't keep your knowledge and enthusiasm to yourself—tell the owners. It's helpful for veterinarians to speak from personal experience and let clients know that you've "done this before." Owners want to hear about your level of experience with their cat's condition, and they'll feel relieved to learn about the successful outcome of similar cases.
3. Exude exam-room confidence. General practitioners who want clients to see them as feline caretakers must refrain from tentative behavior in the exam room. Doctors must destroy the myth that general practitioners are dog doctors who see cats under duress only. They need to approach cats with an equal dose of affection and assertiveness, and just a little dose of fear. Cat owners love their cats, and they want their veterinarians to love them, too. So show your enthusiasm for treating cats—even the unfriendly ones.
An additional reminder: Conscientious cat owners appreciate a friendly greeting when the doctor enters the exam room. Remember to address the cat as well as the owner.