Uniting for better cat health care to support your local veterinarian
Two things happened to me while I was in graduate school. I was given my first cat ever and I enrolled in the Training and Organizational Development department. Little did I know how they would come together years later.
Before I started The Cat Business Alliance and since then, I spoke with lots of people involved with cats, both businesses and non-profits. I learned a lot about how they worked together...or not. Some groups didn’t talk to other groups and never worked together in any way. The most challenged group wasveterinarians. That we all know today and wish we could do more to help. It starts with helping the best way we all can. We’re all about helpfor cats and all those who serve their needs.
Other cat business people—groomers, behaviorists, sitters, boarders, retailers and more—can be a huge source of support for better informed access to cat health care. Their work provides them with clearer insights into the true nature of cats and clients trust them on the subject. Veterinarians aren’t the only ones who understand why most cats are considered low maintenance and often seen as fine until they get really sick, although they’re often seen by clients as more motivated by money than the needs of cats unfortunately. This misperception is a strong barrier to effective communication thatultimately harms cats.
Offering some good advice as a concerned fellow cat lover in support of veterinarians and their staff can help meet the needs of cats in the home, not to mention more end-consumer cats entering more homes. The Cat Business Alliance’s focus is communication and collaboration among all members of the cat industry. With clear recognition of potential barriers and filters to communication and working together for the needs of cats, all non-medical cat business people can act as trusted and reliable advisors effectively supporting vital concerns little understood or known by many cat parents.
Physical Barriers (proximity), perceptual barriers (cognitive biases), emotional barriers (negative feelings, fears), culturalbarriers (group behaviorial norms), language barriers(expressions, buzzwords, jargon, cross-cultural differences), gender barriers (differences in brain wiring) and interpersonal barriers (self esteem, game playing) are the major communication obstacles.2
A filter is something that can delete, distort, or generalize the message we're trying to share. And filters are in place for both the sender and receiver in every single conversation. These include perceptions such as generational differences. Perceptions are internal filters that mayinterpret incoming communication as hidden agendas or criticism.3
Our CATmunicationchat sheetsare designed to offer more support for veterinarians on several cat-focused subjects. One of our most effective is entitled “Survival Sneakies”,(namely cats) who may show little or no signs of distress of any kind. What the client sees at home often does not clearly reveal signs of weakness or illness in their cat, even though they may be seriously ill.
Each CATmunication chat contains three main points with one or two short, concise sentences reinforcing that point. Why only three? According to research, that’s the maximum amount of information most people can hear or read with the highest comprehension and retention. Two points are even easier to understand and retain, but too brief for this purpose.
By providing the CATmunication chat about Survival Sneakies and reviewing it when appropriate, cat business peoplewho are seen as concerned fellow cat lovers offering advicecan advocate for the importance of ongoing health care for cats. This advice is more easily accepted from such a source, one cat lover to another, than from veterinarians who are often unjustly seen as seeking financial gain in the client’s eyes rather than genuine concern.
Cat business peoplecan use them as discussion guides with clients and customers, handed to them with a quick mention of each main point or included in the checkout process, whether online or in personwith a quick but noticeable statement about its importance for your cat. There’s an old saying among training professionals:
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
- Tell them.
- Tell them what you told them.
How about that? There's that “three” thing again. It must work!
When you use the Power of Three you simplify, provide balance, and keep people engaged.1
- Establish logic and simplicity. It makes it easier for both you and the audience to stay on track.
- Provide balance and order.There is a clear expectation of how much they need to listen and how you are progressing.
- Keep them connected.The audience stays engaged because they know where they are, like chapters in a book.
There are 3 reasons why the CATmunication method works:
- You can be you. You don’t need to be a top expert, just concerned about cats.
- Lose the information overload. A little well-choseninformation goes a long way and is much more likely to do some good.
- Repeating a targeted message in several ways—direct conversations, physically placing it into a bag of purchases, including it in online checkout, displaying it prominently where customers will see it or used as trivia questions for prizes. Mix it up, but keep it subtle.
Talking and working together—communication and collaboration—are essential elements of both organizational and personal growth. It’s how we improve as a group to accomplish our common objectives. The better we all understand the challenge, the more we can accomplish.
- Meier JD. The power of three for effective communication. Source Of Insight.Accessed December 5, 2022. https://sourcesofinsight.com/the-power-of-three-for-effective-communication/
- The seven barriers to great communication. Impact Factory. Accessed December 5, 2022. https://www.impactfactory.com/resources/the-seven-barriers-to-great-communications/
- Hoffner LA. Staff Communication: Control, Filters, and Perceptions. ACA Camps. January 1, 2015. Accessed December 5, 2022 https://www.acacamps.org/article/camping-magazine/staff-communication-control-filters-perceptions
- Overcome The Barriers To Effective Communication. Training Express June 22, 2022. Accessed December 5, 2022. https://www.trainingexpress.org.uk/overcome-the-barriers-to-effective-communication/