by Elisa Black-Taylor
I HATE this collar!
Good morning readers. Today I'd like to talk about another service I hope none of us ever need. After hours emergency cat care. Unfortunately, we are all likely to need this at one time or another.
Whether it's an accidental or illness emergency concerning our cats, we all must prepare ourselves beforehand. It's too late when something comes up and nothing has been researched.
Being prepared could mean life or death for your cat.
Readers, today, for your cats' welfare, you WILL have homework. So lets get started with the supplies you need.
1. Small clipboard with a magnet on the back. Magnets can be purchased at most fabric stores and glued onto the back of the board. Make sure your magnet is large and strong enough to hold the clipboard to the side of your refrigerator.
2. Small business sized envelope. These are usually manilla in color. Make sure it's slightly smaller than the clipboard because this envelop will contain the medical record of your cat. If you have several cats, use an envelope for each with the cat's name written on the front. Write, type, or use copies of where your cat has been treated in the past and place in the envelope. Add to it at each vet visit. Do this even if your cat has been healthy.
3. Small lined note pad or stenographers pad that will be clipped to the board in front of the medical records envelope(s).
Please use a little common sense with the idea to keep your clipboard on the refrigerator. If you have 20 cats in your care, the board may need a better permanent home. My point is have it handy and don't move it around. You won't be thinking straight under stress and the last thing you need during an emergency is to send out a search party for a clipboard.
Now you're going to call your regular veterinarian and ask about after hours emergency cat care. Here are the questions.
1. Do you handle emergency after hours calls yourself or does another vet fill in?
2. What is your response time to get to the office if I need you? (VERY IMPORTANT FOR AN ANIMAL BLEEDING TO DEATH OR IN SHOCK!)
3. How much is the standard after hours fee before any tests are run and can is a payment plan offered for an expensive visit? Don't be afraid to ask this question because a vet would rather you come prepared to pay than claim ignorance on the fee being high. Some fees are close to outrageous and you need to know how much to expect.
Now that you've asked and written down the answers to these three questions on, it's time to move on to emergency cat clinics. Most large towns now operate at least one. You're going to call one or two and ask the following questions.
1. What hours do you operate? Come clinics are open 24/7. Others open in the evening at the time a regular vet closes and remains open until 8a.m. Or 9a.m.
2. What is your base fee just for walking through the door with my cat. Again, just to get an idea in your head as to how much money you need to keep available for an emergency.
3. Do you accept cat insurance and is it a reimbursement or can you hold a personal check for a few weeks? Can you hold a personal check for me or offer a payment plan if I don't have cat insurance? This is a good question to ask even if you don't have cat insurance because most veterinary clinics want all of the fee the day of the service.
The next day you head out near the location of the clinic, note the location. Know beforehand which lane of traffic you need to be in. Have an idea of the time it takes to drive to the clinic at a normal speed. Just because a clinic is 5 miles away doesn't mean you can get there in 5 or 10 minutes. Pay attention to traffic flow.
Make a Google or other map of the clinic location and place it at the front of your clipboard. This way you have the clinic name, phone number and directions in front of you should they ever be needed.
Know the best route. The internet suggestion on the fastest route may not necessarily be the best. Keep all of this on your clipboard on the side of your refrigerator so it's easy to grab and go.
Take the clipboard with you!
If your city has a veterinarian who will meet you at the clinic and also an emergency clinic, you need to decide which option is best once a cat emergency happens. Blood loss, shock, poisoning or cardiac arrest are all situations where a few minutes can mean life or death for your cat. Don't depend on your regular vet out of loyalty. Do what is fastest and best for your cat. A clinic may have a team of doctors depending on it's size.
I hope this article will help you prepare for an after hours cat emergency. If I've missed anything, please feel free to comment and add it to this article.
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