5 ways to connect with cat owners

Get more cat clients in your door—and keep them coming back—with this feline-friendly advice.
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May 01, 2014

We’ve already outlined the differences between cat owners and dog owners in this video. Now, take the next step and follow these tips to connect with cat owners and start seeing more feline visits in your practice.

1. Recognize that cat owners require far more information about the need for and benefits of routine veterinary care than dog owners do. Don’t treat both the same. Most dog owners will return regularly without much prompting. Cat owners won’t.

2. Make the first visit count. The Bayer-AAFP Feline Study showed that 83% of owners take their cats to the veterinarian within the first year of ownership. Make sure that you capitalize on that opportunity to educate them on the importance of regular veterinary care.

This is your one and only opportunity to make the visit comfortable, to educate the owner about healthcare needs, and to drive home the fact that early disease detection and preventive care are far more economical than waiting for “something to happen.” Use the words check up. This common concept resonates with owners as they see the value for their own health and dental care.

3. Educate cat owners on training their cats to be comfortable with the carrier and on transporting them with minimum stress. Provide pheromone wipes to help clients acclimate their cats to carriers. Make your practice as accommodating to cats as possible with feline imagery, separate waiting areas, and a cat-only exam room, if possible. Use resources already available to accomplish these tasks. At AAFP’s website, catvets.com, you can download free brochures such as “Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian.”

4. Price routine wellness examinations as economically as possible. In the Bayer-AAFP Study, cat owners indicated that they were much more willing to open their purse strings for sick or injured pets. It’s the routine care that’s the obstacle. When setting fees, remember that there is more flexibility on therapeutic treatments than wellness examinations. Preventive care plans paid in monthly installments are highly attractive to cat owners as well.

In the Bayer-AAFP study, 40% of cat owners said they would visit the veterinarian, or visit more often, if their veterinarians offered reasonably priced wellness plans paid in monthly installments. There are commercially available programs to help you implement these plans in your practice.

5. Become a Cat Friendly Practice. The AAFP has developed a comprehensive program to help practices develop the skills, materials, and approaches to attract and keep more feline patients. It’s working! Find out more about the program at catvets.com.