Educate veterinary clients to help you get to the bottom of cats' behavioral issues by taking advantage of their smartphones. Snapchat filters optional.
"Let's see if the Snapchat filter will recognize your face, Nibbler; you'd look so cute with the puppy ear filter!" (Photo: Shutterstock/Manintino)Just about everyone carries the best tool to help enrich their cat's lives in their pockets without even knowing it. According to Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), owner of Chico Hospital for Cats and Cat Hospital of Portland in Oregon, one of the simplest ways for veterinarians to investigate into a cat's behavioral and physical health problems outside of what they can see within the clinic is to use smartphones.
“If there is a health problem, we need a really good behavior history,” Dr. Colleran told attendees at a recent CVC. “After that, send them home with their smartphones and let them do the rest.”
With smartphones, veterinary clients are able to easily keep track of what their cat does and when they do it by taking notes, photos or videos to show to their veterinarian when they see them next.
“My cat is bored; he doesn't play with his toys anymore”
According to Dr. Colleran, cats don't particularly like toys that don't change when you beat them up. This goes back to their innate brain settings, the ones that drives the need to kill and eviscerate prey. Tell your clients that frustration and challenge are required in toys to instigate the hunting sequence. Dr. Colleran recommends toy feather teasers or food puzzles for cats that are more food-motivated. Plus, c'mon, they're fun to film cats playing with.
According to Dr. Colleran, smartphones are even more than user-friendly devices meant to enrich client's lives; they're also super helpful to enriching a cat's life as well. Taking photos and videos of pets is something that almost every pet owner does, and you can use this to your advantage by using the evidence from client's smartphones as an investigative tool.
Tell your clients to document everything along with the regularly scheduled photo shoots and video takes: Videos of feline patients interacting with one another, photos of where the litter box is, and anything else you think might be a potential threat to a specific patient's health.
“Many behaviors in cats are human-reaction dependent-if they don't get the response they want from you, they will change,” Dr. Colleran says. Understand who is living with the cat, the status of their relationship with the cat and any other factors that could go into a change in behavior with a feline client by looking at the evidence provided on the smartphone. And maybe watch some funny or cute videos as well, just for the heck of it.