What to Expect at your First Visit
Congratulations! You’ve done a boatload of work. Now you and your cat are approaching our hospital, and so far (thanks to all your hard work!), all is going well. Now for the first visit at Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center!
- Parking: Park as close as you can to the hospital doors. This is not always easy in our busy parking lot, but we want your kitty to be exposed to as little wind, rain, cold, heat and car noise as possible. There are a few reserved parking spots on the West side of our building (drive past the main parking lot entrance on Walnut). If the only available parking is so far that the walk might be stressful for your kitty, call us and then pull up out front. We’ll send a team member out to bring kitty inside and you can park and come in at your leisure.
- Front Door: The Uniquely Cats Veterinary Center front doors are designed to keep any Houdini escape artists from finding their way out of the door. When using the automatic door openers, there will be a delay to wait for the first door to close before the second automated door will open. Please be patient. It slows things down a bit, but it is safer for all our visiting kitties.
- Checking in: When you arrive, come to the front desk and let one of our client care specialists know who you are. The reception area is designed to keep your kitty free of the stresses of seeing other cats or strange people. As soon as possible, we will take you to an examination room, where you can have more privacy and also let your kitty wander around and get comfortable. Since you have already completed our new client and patient forms, there won’t be much else you’ll need to do — so spend any wait time relaxing! (We have Guest Wi-Fi.)
- Blood Pressure First: If your cat is 7 or older, your visit will probably begin, after your cat has had a little time to get used to the exam room, when a technician comes in to greet you and your cat, and take your cat’s blood pressure. (We don’t routinely do this for cats under 7 unless there is a history of hypertension or another health problem associated with hypertension.) We take the blood pressure before any other handling to avoid artificially elevated readings.
- Cue the Cat Vet: Now your doctor comes in, settles down and opens a laptop, and the fun begins! Your cat vet will ask tons of questions, answer any questions you have, and may discuss topics of relevance to your cat, such as feline nutrition. During this period, your vet will be (sneakily!) watching your cat while appearing not to; getting a feel for gait, posture, personality, coat quality and all sorts of other things, while your cat has a chance to get used to the vet’s voice, scent, and physical presence. Only then will the examination begin. Your vet may examine your cat on the exam table, or, if your cat is more comfortable there, the floor. After the exam is complete, the assessment and planning phase begins.
- Our Big Difference: It is at this point that the process diverges from most veterinary practices. Having evaluated your cat’s general health and problems (both obvious and potential), your vet will now sit down and go over with you, in detail, every problem found or suspected; and, in detail, each step needed to identify and address those issues. Our mission is to give you the tools you need to make informed healthcare decisions for your cat — information, benefit/risk analyses, and estimated costs. Since no two people or cats are alike, we work to help you arrive at the decision that makes the most sense for you, your cat, and your budget. Only after all your questions are answered and an estimate approved will we move forward — so you can rest assured that your bill will never be an unpleasant surprise.
- Lab Sample Acquisition / Diagnostics: If the agreed-upon plan involves taking blood and/or urine, or other diagnostic procedures such as X-rays, that will come next.
- Some cats are great for this; others can blow their stress meter from zero to sixty in 1.4 seconds. Our caring staff is highly skilled in stress-avoidance handling techniques, and also in identifying cats who are experiencing light-speed stress accelerations. For these cats, stress-relieving sedation is highly desirable. We have a whole menu of safe and helpful medications to choose from so that you never have to worry about how your cat is feeling. We will never give your cat any medication without your specific approval.
- If any tests are done in our in-house lab, your vet will get results to you before you leave, or arrange for you to receive them, nearly always same-day. Otherwise, most but not all results will be communicated to you in the next 2 – 3 business days.
- Treatment: In this next-to-last step, our medical staff will give any treatments needed, such as a vaccination or a medication; and will perform any needed tasks such as pedicures, matt clips, or microchip placement. When all is accomplished, we will place your cat back into your carrier, and you are ready to check out.
- Checking Out: Since you’ve already seen and discussed all charges, your bill should contain no surprises. We ask that all bills be settled in full when services are rendered. We accept cash, checks, credit cards (MC, VISA, AMX, Discover), CareCredit and Scratchpay. We’ll make sure you have any items you need to take home with you, and that you know when you can expect to hear from us about test results. We can print or email you a receipt (please choose email – we like saving trees as well as cats!)
- Schedule any follow-up visits or the next evaluation visit before you leave.
- Now off you go home, and give your kitty lots of loving, treats and playtime as thanks for being SO super at the vet’s!
- If your visit involved any diagnostic testing, your vet will contact you when the test results have been reported. Some test results come in the next day; others can take 2-3 weeks. Your vet will let you know when to expect a report.
- Post-Visit Reports: You may choose how you wish to receive reports from us (phone, text, email etc). We prefer, if possible, to email our reports to you. Our reports will include in-depth discussions and recommendations as needed and may include informational attachments. This written reporting format provides you with a document that you can read at your leisure, keep and refer back to, so you don’t have to remember every detail of a potentially long and complicated phone call. Questions regarding reports can be handled by email or phone. While email is a better choice for your records, do NOT hesitate to pick up the phone if the question is urgent! You may not always be able to speak directly with the veterinarian, but our team members are trained to communicate messages to the vet and respond appropriately.