Cats-only clinics gain in popularity

A recent article by Anne Gonzales at the Sacramento Bee (California) discussed the increasing number and popularity of cats-only veterinary clinics.

Sacramento veterinarian Irene Fujishima said that offering cats-only care is important, because have different physiology as well as different personalities than dogs. Cat-exclusive clinics are calmer, without the chaos of barking dogs and strange smells. Cats need special handling; tricks that work to calm a dog, like obedience exercises and treats, tend not to work very well with cats.

Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, who owns two cats-only clinics in Chico, CA and Portland, OR, says that cats “have different diseases, nutrition requirements, and pathways than other species.” She emphasized that cats are genetically programmed to hide sickness and injury, which makes it more challenging to diagnose and treat them. “They’re both predator and prey in the wild, and if you’re weak or have an injury, that can be a disadvantage,” Colleran said. “So they’re adept at concealing illnesses. This makes medical testing and complete histories on cats very important.”

Working only with cats gives the practitioner a keener eye for spotting problems. A good feline veterinarian intuitively knows how to approach cats, as well as what to look for and where to look. Feline dental disease, for example, manifests in different ways than in dogs; and the list of probable causes for a coughing cat is not the same as it is for dogs. Cats’ nutritional needs are also very specific and different from dogs.

If you have a choice in your area, a cats-only clinic is likely best for your cats’ care.

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