Why Don’t More Vets Care About Our Cats?

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Yes, we know that cats would rather just be left alone to tend to themselves. It seems that too many veterinarians might agree. The fine folks at Bayer (whose empire also includes plenty of pet products) have released a new report in collaboration with the American Association of Feline Practitioners. The paper (officially titled ” Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study III: Feline Findings”) was presented  at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Florida, and mainly stresses that American veterinarians are missing out on a big opportunity to cultivate the care of cats. We have a hard time forgiving any pet owner for not regularly taking care of any kind of animal. The Bayer/AFFP report, however, also found a large number of veterinarians missing out on the opportunity to encourage more cat care–with only 35% having exam rooms used only for cats, and only 18% offering waiting areas that are physically and visually separated from dogs.

And here’s something cat owners have always suspected: a lot of veterinarians just prefer dogs. Check out these statistics from the official Bayer press release on what veterinarians have to say about the eternal battle between cats and dogs: 57% of veterinarians say that cats are more challenging to diagnose than dogs, and 79% claim that dogs are better than cats at actually enjoying a visit to the clinic . We don’t doubt that’s true, but that’s some serious insight into why veterinarians tailor their clinics to dogs. And if you really want to get paranoid, consider that 20% of veterinarians with cats “report not having conducted a wellness exam on own their cat in the past twelve months.”

This is exactly why the AAFP–under their online grouping of CatVets–have put together the Cat Friendly Practice Program. The organization is working hard to make sure you don’t take your pet to some vet who just wonders when the next lovable puppy is coming into the office. We’d rather this not be a legitimate concern, but it’s great having CatVets looking out for us. After all, a lot of us know dogs who’d be really upset if they knew they were getting better care than their fellow animal companions. Even if our own cats tend to think of the family dog as their pet, too.

Originally posted 2013-01-21 12:26:30.

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