Once you get to Westgate Pet Clinic check in at the front desk, and find the Cat Waiting Area. Follow these tips for making your veterinary visit as stress-free as possible.
- The clinic tends to be quieter during the middle of day, if possible, schedule your appointment between 10am-3pm Monday-Friday.
- Always bring your cat in a carrier, never just carry your cat into the clinic. Cats feel safer if they have a hiding place.
- Place the carrier on the benches and chairs in the Cat Waiting area, facing the door of the carrier to the back rest of the chair. Cats feel safer if they aren't placed on the floor.
- Let our receptionists know if your cat gets nervous at the veterinary clinic. We will make every attempt to put you and your cat in an exam room right away.
- Once you arrive in the exam room, you will notice something that looks likes an air freshener plugged into an outlet. This is a special Feliway phermone diffuser that only your cat can smell and is meant to relax him or her. Learn more about Feliway
- During the examination, we will provide a towel if you haven't brought one from home, so we can cover or wrap part of your cat if needed during the exam to make her feel safer. If you bring a towel from home, this is even better because the smell will already be familiar to her.
- Cats will pick up on your stress or anxiety. Try to remain relaxed during the exam. In addition, if your cat is getting stressed during the exam, try avoid petting her. The veterinary team has special training on how to handle nervous cats and we will wrap and handle your cat in a way to safely examine and treat your cat. Petting your cat during the exam will sometimes make your cat more anxious, especially if you are anxious.
We want your cat visit to be educational and enjoyable. We can make special accomodations for you and your cat including calling us from the parking lot so that we can put you directly into an exam room, checking you out in the exam room so you can avoid the busy lobby and scheduling a special Quiet Cat Appointment.
Take these steps to help reduce stress when preparing for your veterinary visit
1. Rehearse clinical examinations at home: Handle the paws, look into the ears, open the mouth and feel over the legs and body.
2. Leave the carrier out on a regular basis, not just the day of the veterinary visit: Put favorite treats in the carrier to make the carrier an inviting spot to visit.
3. Adapt cats to carriers: Take kittens and cats on occasional short car rides, beginning at an early age if possible.
4. Spray or wipe the inside of the carrier with Feliway, a feline phermone meant to relax the cat. If you call in advance of your trip, a Westgate Pet Clinic team member can mail you a Feliway wipe. Learn more about Feliway
5. Notify the veterinary team in advance if your cat may be easily upset. This will allow us to better prepare for your visit, for example putting you directly into an examination room when possible.
6. Bring items in the carrier that carry a familiar scent such as favorite bedding and toys. Hard sided carriers with a removeable top are ideal for veterinary visits because we can remove the top and allow the cat to remain in the bottom half of the carrier during the exam.
7. Understand the effect of your own anxiety or stress on the cat. Remain calm and reduce any outward display of fear and anxiety.
8. Some cats may benefit from a sedative before the veterinary visit. Consult with your veterinarian if you think this option would be appropriate for your cat.
For more tips, read the AAFP Brochure: Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian
Video Resource: Clicker training your cat to get into the carrier
Westgate Pet Clinic also offers "Quiet Cat Appointments". These appointments are by request and are offered Monday-Friday between the hours of 10am-3pm. When you arrive, call the clinic and a team member can meet you in the front door and escort you downstairs to our Quiet Cat Room. This way your cat never needs to encounter another patient, canine or feline.
Cats are often thought of as being self sufficient and low maintenence. While it is true that as the human care taker your schedule can be less regimented if you live with a cat versus living with a dog, cats still need to have a relationship with a veterinarian. Cats require annual exams, vaccinations, preventative health care, and disease management in order to thrive.
At Westgate Pet Clinic, we understand that cats, and their owners are often nervous about a trip to the veterinary clinic. We have taken the following steps to help make your trip to the vet a successful one.
Understanding what the recommended preventative health care recommendations are for your cat is an important part of cat ownership. Although cats are the most popular pet in the United States, they still get less attention and medical care compared to dogs. Studies show that owners take their dogs to the veterinarian on average of 2.3 times per year, compared to 1.1 times per year for cats. In addition, significantly more dogs (58%) then cats (28%) were seen by a veterinarian one or more times per year.
There is a misconception that owning is a cata is easier because they "do not need medical care". But cats often hide their disease and because of this cats are often perceived as being self sufficient.
The health care recommendations below are the consensus of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
Life Stage Classification
Preventative Health Care Recommendations
2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report
AAFP-AAHA Feline Life Stage Guidelines
All cat lovers know that our feline companions have unique nutritional needs. The information below is a summary of the latest cat feeding guidelines and recommendations.
The digestive system of the cat:
Cats are oligate (strict) carnivores which means that their nutritional needs are met by the consumption of large amounts of animal-based proteins (meat/organs) and they derive much less nutritional support from plant-based proteins (grains/vegetables). Unlike the cat, dogs and humans are able to make the amino acids their body's need from plant protein. This is why humans and dogs can be vegetarians, but cats cannot. (Please note: We do not recommend that dogs be vegetarians).
When chosing a manfacturered pet food for your otherwise healthy cat, paying attention to the protein content is important. (Please note, cats with certain health issues, especially kidney disease, SHOULD NOT eat a high protein diet. Click Here to read an abstract of an article demonstrating that lower protein diets in cats with kidney disease have been shown to improve their life expectancy and overall quality of life.) Always consult with your veterinarian about food options for your cat if he or she has a medical condition.
Cats should eat a minimum of 2 grams of protein/per pound of ideal body weight, per day. (For example, an 11lb cat of good body condition, should eat 22 grams of protein per day). The label on pet foods typically only gives the % protein. However, if you call the pet food manufacturer, they can give the grams of protein per can, or per cup so you can calculate how much to feed. Please note, for some foods that are lower in protein, feeding the appropriate amount of grams of protein results in over feeding calories. If your cat is overweight, please consult with your veterinarian about feeding recommendations. For more information on feeding overweight cats, you may read the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) weight management quidelines for cats and dogs Click Here
Food Recommendations for Cats:
Manufacturered, dry cat foods are convenient, easy to feed, and allow cat owners the freedom to not be on a strict feeding schedule for their cat. That being said, dry foods require more carbohydrates in order to produce a kibble. Finding a dry cat food that has the amount of protein necessary to maintain a healthy cat is a challenge. After much research, we have decided to carry and recommend, Young Again 50/22 cat food for adult cats without health problems.
For more information on Young Again 50/22 cat food, click here.
Many veterinary nutritionists think that cats should eat canned foods exclusively. The reason for this is that dry foods require more carbohydrates in order to produce a kibble, and they lack the necessary moisture that cats need. That being said, not all canned foods are high in protein, and special attention must be paid to the label.
Below is a list of canned cat foods that we have researched and found appropriate for healthy cats:
Addiction Turkey, Cranberries, Apples
Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken
Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Nine Liver
Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Green Eggs and Chicken
Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Peking Ducken
Merrick Grammy's Pot Pie
Avoderm Chicken Chunks/Gravy
Many cats that have been eating strictly dry food do not want to eat canned diets. For tips on converting "dry food addicts" to canned food, click here.
Some pet owners would prefer to feed a home-made diet to their cats. When chosing to do this, special attention must be paid to supplementing with the proper vitamin and mineral mix. Please visit balanceit.com if you are interested in making a home-made diet for your cat. This site was developed by a veterinary nutritionist and is your best resource for recipes.
The logistics of feeding cats:
Evidence shows that the best way to feed cats is small meals frequently, and food with added water (or canned food). Cats fed in this manner tend to be more active, which hopefully translates to being more physically fit.
Article reference: "Effects of feeding frequency and dietary water content on voluntary physical activity in healthy adult cats". Deng P, Iwazaki E, Suchy SA, Pallotto MR, Swanson KS. Journal of Animal Science, March; 92 (3): 1271-7