Cats are known to dislike traveling in their carriers and going to the vet. And since all cats need to be seen by the vet regularly, cat parents are looking to get routine veterinary care for their cat through alternative solutions. And that’s where mobile vet clinics come in.
The true yet discouraging fact is that vet visits can be so stressful for cats that many pet parents avoid bringing them to the vet all together. This can be potentially life-threatening for our felines. Mobile vet clinics bring the vet to you, so your cat can stay happy and healthy without stepping a paw inside a cat carrier.
If mobile veterinary clinics sounds like it’d be right up your cat’s alley, check out more below on why we love this service and how to choose one in your area.
What Is a Mobile Vet Clinic?
A mobile vet clinic is a veterinary hospital on wheels—ranging from a fully outfitted hospital including radiology, surgery and X-rays to a single veterinarian with a kit of tools. There are even mobile vets for cats who will show up at your home with everything they need to get the job done with as little stress as possible. Make an appointment, and the veterinarian will arrive at your door to examine your cat in the comfort and safety of your own home.
“Even the cats who get stressed (and many do), it’s brief and then they are back where they want to be vs. a long car ride back and forth. So, it’s a shorter period of stress,” says Raeyna Modrow-Longtin, DVM, with True Companions VetVan, an MVS Pet Care Partner, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
What Are the Benefits of Mobile Vet Clinics for Cats?
You, your cat and your “vet for cats” have the same goal. We all want your cat to get the care that they deserve in an environment that is as calm and relaxed as possible. If you are avoiding your cat’s annual veterinary exam because of the time and stress of the travel, a mobile vet may be right for you.
Mobile vet clinics provide veterinary care for cats in their own home, which is familiar to your cat and smells familiar to your cat.
Mobile vet clinics can also save you time. Instead of spending time in the car and the waiting room, you can spend your time getting things done while the mobile clinic is on the road. Mobile vets do their best to plan their appointments and travel times to be on time for you, but keep in mind that both the animals and traffic can cause unexpected delays.
Dr. Natalie Castania, DVM, from Bluemoon Veterinary Services, a mobile veterinary hospital in Cleburne, Texas, says that taking a cat to the vet is just too difficult for many people. Cat parents are much more likely to get their cats the regular care that they deserve when they use her mobile clinic.
“I’ve found a lot of people don’t want to deal with taking the cat in the carrier or the cat is a holy terror if they try, and those cats tend to do better at home,” she says. “They don’t get time to get worked up on a car ride and then deal with the smells and sounds of a clinic. Comfortable at home (or in my van now with COVID), I can distract a majority of them with food and they never even realize anything happened. I wish more people got regular care for their cats.”
Why Are Regular Vet Visits So Important for Cats?
Every cat needs to be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year. The veterinarian will examine your cat’s teeth to check for painful dental disease, listen to their heart and lungs for otherwise undetectable disease, palpate their abdomen to make sure that there are no masses, and check that all of their organs are approximately the correct size and shape and in the correct location. Your cat’s weight will also be recorded and compared to the previous weights to see if there are any changes.
Your veterinarian will check for ear mites, fleas and other parasites. Additionally, the veterinarian will talk to you about your cat’s lifestyle to determine what preventative care is necessary, like dewormer, heartworm prevention and vaccines.
At the visit, your veterinarian will ask you pointed questions about your cat to find out if your cat may be experiencing a problem that is undetectable to you. You see, cats are masters at hiding pain and disease. Veterinarians are trained to use their examination, and the questions that they ask you, to find out if there is anything making your cat to be in pain or sick.
Skip your cat’s annual visit and you are putting your cat at risk. Your cat may be silently suffering with painful teeth and joints. This pain could be responsible for your cat’s finicky behavior at mealtime, reluctance to use a litter box that requires a set of stairs, or even short temper. Diseases like kidney failure, diabetes and even cancer will progress unchecked instead of detected at a stage where they can be managed or even cured.
Skip Dr. Google and ask the veterinarian any questions you may have about your cat’s health and behavior. You will have comfort knowing that you are getting the best possible information and care for your cat.
Why Don’t Cats Go to the Vet Regularly?
According to Banfield’s “State of Pet Health Report” in 2016, there was only one cat seen for every five dogs across their veterinary practices. The question is, why are so many people taking the risk of not bringing their cat to the vet?
Cat parents may not know that cats hide disease and pain and think their indoor cat does not need care. They may know they should take their cat to the vet, but they simply cannot endure the cat carrier wrestling match and the panicked car ride.
But, there is a better way! It is critical to understand that cats are creatures of space. A cat feels safe when they are in a familiar space that smells like them. So, with mobile vets for cats, you can have the veterinarian examine your cat in their own home.
What Is the Cost of a Mobile Vet Clinic?
Typically, the cost of the veterinary exam and services at a mobile vet clinic are comparable to a traditional veterinary hospital, but you will pay a fee for the veterinarian to come to you. This is called the house call fee and can range from $50 to $100.
Dr. Castania says that her clients think the house call fee is worth it. “My prices are very similar to brick and mortar, just add the house call fee,” she says.
For mobile vet Dr. Modrow-Longtin, her prices vary according to location. “I cover a large geographic range in a metropolitan area. Prices vary enormously regionally within the area, so in some places my prices are a bit higher or some actually lower. But definitely in the same general range,” she says.
How to Find the Best Mobile Vet Clinic
Choosing the right mobile veterinarian for you may seem like a daunting task. Here are three ways to find quality mobile vet clinics in your area.
- Ask a friend. Your friends know what is important to you. Ask them if they have personal experience with a mobile veterinarian and any questions that you have about their experience.
- Ask your regular veterinarian. Some veterinarians that practice in a brick and mortar hospital will also have a mobile practice. If not, your vet can recommend the mobile veterinarian that they have worked with before and think highly of.
- Google. If all else fails, google “Mobile Veterinary Clinic Near Me.” This will give you a variety of options for available veterinarians. Make a list of questions and give a few of them a call. You can even schedule a meet-and-greet appointment to put a face to the name.
If you have a cat who would do anything to avoid leaving their home to visit the vet, don’t force it. There are options available to cat parents that allow them to get their cat the healthcare they need and deserve for a kitty that’s happy and healthy for all of their life.