Small animal veterinarians are trained in the care of both dogs and cats. A cat specialist does not have a separate or different degree, but has decided to focus on cats and become an expert in the diseases and behavior of cats.
Focuses of a Cat Veterinarian:
Some feline practitioners decide to focus so much on cats that they only treat cats. They will work in a feline only hospital. There are cat hospitals in many areas now. Others make the choice to continue to serve both dogs and cats but to make themselves very familiar with the unique characteristics of the feline species.
These cat veterinarians often are members of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), and participate in separate continuing education training that focuses specifically on cats. They may even opt to make their practices Feline Friendly, which is a growing trend to consider the accommodations and treatment of cats separately from the canine patients.
Cats Need Different Care Than Dogs:
Even a veterinarian who sees both dogs and cats can become specialized in the care of the feline species. Cats are not small dogs! They do not act like them, they get very different diseases, and they react quite differently to similar diseases.
Cats are unique in many ways, one being they are both prey and predator. When they are taken into a new environment with dogs, strange people, and smells, they assume that they are the prey and react accordingly. It is our job to put them at ease as much as possible and try to persuade them that they will make it out of the hospital alive and well.
Considering a Vet for Your Cat:
When seeking a veterinarian in Durham or Chapel Hill for your cat, there are several things to consider. One is location. Cats often hate traveling, and the more stressed they are from the ride to the vet, the worse off they are for the visit. Another consideration is to look for either a feline specialist or a member of the Association of Feline Practitioners so that you can ensure that your cat will be treated with the most respect and knowledge possible.
At Falconbridge and Village Vet, we have membership in the American Association of Feline Practitioners. In addition to the veterinarian membership, we have team member subscribers. Team member subscribers are also able to participate in continuing education focusing on cats.
If you have been reluctant to bring your cat to the veterinarian, please make an appointment. We can advise you on acclimating your cat to a carrier and preparing for the visit so that it will be as stress free as possible.