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Published: Aug 03, 2012

Unfortunately, many people only bring their feline to a veterinary hospital when they have a sick cat. However, routine medical care is crucial for the long-term health of your cat.

Selecting a veterinarian for your pet is a personal decision. You'll want to choose a provider that you feel comfortable communicating with and asking questions of. Many pet owners suggest asking friends, family members or neighbors for recommendations of vet clinics.

Another way to find a vet is through the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). AAHA is an organization that compiles lists of accredited veterinarians and clinics in any given area. Pet owners can find an AAHA-accredited facility by visiting

The ASPCA recommends visiting a potential veterinarian without your animal first in order to determine if he or she is a good fit for you. Check to see whether the space is clean, modern and well-organized. Finding out how many vets are on staff as well as the office hours is important as well.

Cat owners should know that many vets have taken steps to make their practices more cat-friendly.

Ensuring a clinic is cat-friendly takes a little bit of research. The CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, says cat owners can determine if a vet clinic is a good fit for them in several ways.

For instance, the first time you call, the person answering the phone should be able to tell you what the practice recommends for routine wellness care for cats that are the same age as your cat. This should include not only the basic vaccinations but also preventive medications and annual visits.

Many cat-friendly veterinary clinics either have separate exam rooms for cats or offer special times during the day when they only see cats.

They may also help you with tips and resources for transporting your feline to the office. Most cat-friendly practices recommend a carrier with a removable top so that if your cat seems nervous or scared it can be examined without extracting it from the carrier.

In addition, you can ask what type of cat-friendly training the staff has undergone.

Remember that finding a vet is an important part of pet ownership as you'll need a professional to rely on for cat emergencies as well as routine care such as cat vaccinations. While building a good relationship with a veterinarian is beneficial for you and your pet, finding a new animal health provider may be necessary for a variety of reasons.

It's important to ask for your cat's health records when leaving a practice so you can pass them along to your new veterinarian and ensure the best care for your furry friend.