Recent posts on muzzling and vet-client divorce have led to comments that intimate the desire for veterinarians to treat their cats in feline fashion—not as small dogs, as some practices tend to do.

Veterinarians can’t always love all species equally. It’s sort of like saying you really don’t care if your bedroom is painted red or blue. Everyone’s go an opinion on which they prefer, right? I also understand that while red might work best in the bedroom, the kitchen might not be the right location for a heavy russet presence (1970’s styles notwithstanding).

The point I’m trying to make is that vets often prefer dogs over cats and vice versa. And that not all hospitals are created equal when treating cats with the same respect they afford their dogs.

Partly that’s because studies show that pet owners are more likely to spend their hard-earned dollars on dogs over cats—by like two to one. It’s hard to get deeply involved with a case when you know your client is likely to nix their cat’s proposed treatment based on the fact that he’s feline—subconsciously though it may be.

But it’s also because cats can be tougher to work with. It’s my opinion that felines require a little more patience—as do their owners. After all, cat people can be a little quirky—not that I mind, full of my own quirks as I am.

Moreover, some practices are just not set up to handle cats as well as they handle dogs. Barking, in particular, is a huge stressor for cats. And that can be rough for kitties whose vet visits take place across a shallow wall from a room loaded with boarding dogs.

Let’s be honest: Some cats are better off going to a cat hospital. Not only are feline practitioners, on average, more likely to be up-to-date on issues like vaccine protocols and cat-specific approaches to medicine and handling, but the atmosphere is typically serene compared to dog and cat facilities.

Problem is, these practices are not always available. Nor should you assume that feline-exclusive veterinary practices are always the right choice.

For starters, it’s tough to take your dog one place and your cats another. It’s hard to build multiple relationships with professionals when finding a vet is already such a difficult prospect. 

So let’s get back to the issue of how many cat-only practices are available in any given municipality. In major metropolitan inner cities there’s often a wealth of opportunities to sample and select from a variety of feline practitioners whereas in places like Miami (for instance), there are only a couple to choose from. The chances that they’re far from you is probably quite high—not exactly the best approach during a serious emergency or possible emergency.

Nonetheless, it might be worth your while to give your cats the chance to experience one of these places. If your cat(s) seem inordinately stressed at the vet’s, should they act out aggressively at your average cat-dog hospital, and especially if you’re looking for a veterinarian with cat-specific skills, you might want to give this tack a try.

But that’s not to say your own vet can’t be persuaded to use another room (if the barking is louder in one than another). And it’s not even a given that every dog and cat hospital will be noisy and/or cat-phobic/cat-unfriendly.

Still, it’s important you investigate every opportunity to have your felines cared for in the manner you believe she deserves. If that means seeking out a cat hospital, vets like me agree—as much as we like treating cats and would mourn your loss, we want you to be satisfied.