If your small animal practice is like many, you’re not delivering enough services to your feline patient base. How unfortunate for all those deserving cats out there! Well, in most cases it is all about the client/cat “experience”. First, let’s face it. Clients need to get their cats to and from the practice with all involved staying in one piece! Take a look at the materials available on the Catalyst Counsil’s website, including videos you can place on your practice website and Facebook page explaining safe and uneventful cat transport. Another fact we have to face: clients don’t want their cats to get “freaked out” during a vet visit. Let clients know you are “feline friendly” by including some artwork and educational posters about cats in your reception area.
If possible, devote one exam room to your feline patients. Try placing a feline pheromone atomizer in the room. Have cat toys and fresh catnip in the room for patient visits. Get your team well trained in handling and restraining feline patients. Have your staff members review the brochure: “Making Your Practice Feline Friendly” available from Hill’s, so they have the tools to better manage feline patients. To really cater to the cats, feature a “cats only” morning or evening once a week in your practice so your feline patients will not have to hang out in the waiting area with their canine brethren.
To capture more services for feline patients, you’ll have to market well, too. Many cat owners do not realize the health issues their cats face, especially as these guys begin to age. How many of your clients believe their indoor only cats are just fine and do not need vaccines, parasite prevention and other preventive care? It is up to you to get these patients in and recommend what is best. Go through your patient base and determine how many cats out there are overdue for care. Target these clients with e-mails and phone calls designed to educate and secure an appointment. Perhaps offer a 50% off “welcome back” exam for cats that have not been in for over a year. Once the patient is in your exam room, you and your team will need to explain the importance of preventive care. Always offer a fecal exam. Run senior laboratory screens including a CBC; chemistry panel; T4 and urinalysis.
For more tips on offering services to felines, take a look at the archived webinar: “Building Your Feline Business: Easier than Herding Cats” available on the IDEXX Learning Center Website. Finally, don’t forget about making your practice website and Facebook page “feline friendly”. Let folks know on your homepage that you welcome cats. Be sure your Facebook posts include humorous and educational material focused on the needs of indoor and outdoor cats.