Common Cat Questions

Posted on by David Dilmore, DVM

For the past five months, I have been answering questions from clients submitted through Ask a Vet at banfield.com, Banfield’s Facebook page and Twitter handles. It’s been very enlightening and has given me insight into the things that confuse clients, as well as where they have the most questions about treatment. The questions submitted cover all ranges of age and diseases states, from “What food should I feed my kitten?” to “When do I know that it is time for euthanasia?” There are many recurring themes to these questions. The most common ones that I have seen from cat owners include questions about house soiling, skin conditions and questions about medications.

  • House soiling. This behavior usually involves urinating outside of the litter box. Often it involves urinating in a specific area or on a specific object. There are also questions about defecating outside of the litter box as well. With all of these issues, my first recommendation is for owners to take their cat to the veterinarian. However, I often see questions where owners have taken the cat in to see the veterinarian and they are still having issues. This is sometimes a question about lack of efficacy in treatment. In other cases it is about the diagnosis and/or treatment. Talking to owners and making sure that they understand the diagnosis and treatment plan is critical in these cases. Many owners may be unclear about the behavior modification needed to address these issues. Explaining the reasoning behind adding another litter box, trying a different litter, and/or cleaning the litter box daily can help clients understand their role in the treatment of elimination issues.
  • Skin issues. In most cases this includes itching or a rash. This is often associated with the cat having fleas and the clients are asking for a recommendation on which flea product to use. Many cat owners do not know the difference between flea medications and why the flea sprays or baths that they are using do not work. Make sure to talk to all cat owners about flea prevention. Recommending the product that is best for their cat can help prevent a lot of the confusion that clients have on this issue.
  • Medications.  These questions usually relate to how long a cat should be on a particular medication, dosing problems or certain side effects that they are seeing. Many of these questions may have been addressed at the time of the veterinary visit but the clients did not understand the instructions given. Taking the time to talk to clients about how to give the medication, the potential side effects and duration of treatment is very important. Sending home a client information sheet on medications can help when clients are unclear or have questions that they did not ask at the time of the visit.

Many of the questions clients have can be preemptively addressed by making sure that the client understands what is being recommended, as well as what to expect after the veterinary visit. Patiently answering clients’ questions, recommending appropriate preventive care, sending home proper client education handouts, and setting up a follow-up visit can help prevent any confusion the client has about the diagnosis and treatment prescribed. This can lead to a happier clients and healthier pets.

About David Dilmore, DVM

David Dilmore, DVM, graduated from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. Dr Dilmore joined Banfield in 2004. He was the lead doctor and chief of staff of the Denver SE hospital from 2004 to 2009. From 2009 until 2012 he was the medical director for the Northern Colorado region. He has been in his current role as medical editor since March of 2012. Dr. Dilmore and his wife, Heather, have one dog, a 14-year-old Australian Shepherd named Gus. View all posts by David Dilmore, DVM →


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