6 tips for your cat’s first trip to the veterinarian

Credit: Austin Community College Vet Tech Program / Flickr

Dear Paws:  I’m planning to adopt a cat soon. This is my first pet, and I’m looking forward to caring for it. The local shelter gave me a few instructions to follow, pre-adoption, including making an appointment for a veterinary checkup. Is there anything I should know about my cat’s first vet visit? – Kara L., Buffalo, N.Y.

Dear Kara:  Congratulations on deciding to accept a cat into your life! It will be a rewarding experience. I’m also glad that you’re doing your homework ahead of time to give your cat the best start on a new life.

Here are a few tips that will help with your first veterinary visit:

  • Research local clinics ahead of time. Is there one that specializes in cats?

  • Purchase a cat carrier that best fits your cat (in terms of size, not decor). This will make transporting the cat from the shelter and to and from the vet much easier and safer.

  • Keep all paperwork from the shelter in a folder and bring it with you.

  • You should be able to be present during the exam. It’s a great time to ask questions about caring for your cat. Bring a pencil and pad to take notes.

  • Listen to the vet as he or she gives you information about your cat’s general health. Vets or their assistants often talk to you throughout the process, telling you what they’re checking for and the result.

  • Follow the vet’s instructions. If a followup visit or more tests are needed, make sure you do it. Write down special instructions like how much and what type of food to feed your cat, or instructions on giving medication. And don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.

Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner.com.