Cat facts and tips to help grow your practice (Proceedings)


The goal of this program is to help you identify ideas to grow and improve feline health services in your practice. To gain the most from today's program, please complete the exercises below.

This as a discussion guide. Its purpose is to highlight the main points of the today's interactive program and facilitate discussion and idea sharing.

The goal of this program is to help you identify ideas to grow and improve feline health services in your practice. To gain the most from today's program, please complete the exercises below.

Cat Stats Reveal Veterinary Expansion Opportunity

The cat stats are amazing! There are 20% more cats than dogs – 91 million kitties! – and they are only seeing their veterinarians one-half as often as their canine counterparts. Cats continue to grow in popularity and they represent a huge growth opportunity in veterinary practice. This session explores ideas to appeal to cat owners and grow your hospital. 1

Alarming Veterinary Trends

Cat veterinary health service declined between 2000 – 2004:

  • 08% decline in vaccine visits

  • 11% decline in well cat exams

  • 14% decline in dental care

  • 18% decline in flea and tick preventives

  • 21% decline in sick cat visits

Cat Owners Lack Feline Health Care Awareness

Cats are adopted more casually than most dogs. A cat owner may acquire a kitten from a neighbor's litter, or a stray cat may adopt them. These owners do not have the same opportunity that most new puppy owners do to learn about needed and necessary veterinary care. Many people still believe that cats do not require care because they can take care of themselves. Finally, pet owners do not know how to recognize the signs of illness and pain in their cats and may not know when they are not feeling well.

There may be other reasons why veterinarians do not see as many dogs as cats and it would be a worthwhile endeavor to increase awareness that cats need regular veterinary care as well as awareness of the signs of illness and disease. Put signs up in your office and ask dog owners if their pets have a cat companion at home, then give them information to help them take better care of their felines.

Exercise 1

Instructions: Work with a partner(s) and identify at least three ideas to increase cat owners' awareness about their pets' need for regular veterinary care:




Exercise 2

Instructions: Work with a partner(s) to add at least two more things to this list of cat care services veterinary hospitals could provide:

1. Exams. How often?

2. Vaccinations. Which ones?

3. Parasite tests? Parasite protection

4. Preventive screenings: Urinary? Bloodwork?

5. Heartworm protection?

6. Diet/Nutrition?

Compliance can help ensure consistent care and the CRAFT formula provides a good construct for a sound compliance program for cats and other species you see:

C = R + A + FT

C = Compliance Standards of Care

R = Recommendation (and Reinforcement by the hospital team)

A = Acceptance

FT = Follow-Through by the hospital team

A standard of care is a simple statement of what the veterinarians believe is best for the patients they see and yet, the most common compliance mistake that veterinary practices make is not having clear standards of care. Ask your veterinarian if you are not sure what services they would recommend for feline wellness care.

Exercise #3:

Think about all of the wellness services you provide for kitties, now think of Daisy and what you would do for her at your hospital. More information about Daisy follows

This is your patient, Daisy. She is an affectionate 6 year-old, spayed female. Weight 12.0 lb and BCS 3.5/5.0. Her dental grade is 2.0/5.0 and she has never been vaccinated, except for rabies. Her owner says she is mostly an indoor cat, but she does get out occasionally.

Daisy's owner brought her in because she was scratching and chewing at herself and she thought Daisy might have fleas. She said her neighbor's cat has them and it's been a wet spring. She doesn't know what to do because she heard that some flea products can kill cats.

What tests, procedures, treatments and products would your hospital recommend for Daisy?







Additional Recommended Resources

1 DVM News November 2006 report on Bardsley Neidhart research and industry data

1 The Path to High-Quality Care, Practical Tips for Improving Compliance available from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

Feline healthcare and feline behavior guidelines are available from the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) at

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