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1. Your vet should do a health check on the cat you intend to adopt before you adopt him/her. This rule applies to purchases of pedigree purebred cats, really, because money is involved and there will be a purchase contract. You need to know exactly what you are buying. Apparently vets don't like to upset their clients ;). If a person buys a nice looking, fancy purebred cat and takes her to the vet afterwards and the vets decides that the cat is very ill, he has to provide some depressing advice to his client. He'd rather do the check up before purchase because then he'll be much more useful and proactive.
2. Vets like clear instructions. If two different family members discuss the cat's health problem with a vet and provide slightly conflicting information it does not help the vet. Perhaps he'll become exasperated or make a mistake. It will certainly increase the workload sorting it out. It pays, actually, for the cat's caretaker to have some knowledge of cat health and then that person should be the one to take the cat to the vet and provide clear instructions and responses to the vet's questions. Also the cat's owner should really have some prepared questions when attending a vet. A bit of preparation helps, and helps to keep the vet contented.
3. When making an appointment with your vet choose a mornings over late afternoons, avoid busy Saturdays and Mondays, the day after Sunday when health problems will have built up. The idea here is to try and get the maximum performance out of your vet.
4. Visiting a veteriarian is a good chance to improve your knowledge on cat health while coming away with a complete and comprehensive picture as to your cat's health with respect to the existing problem. Ask questions nicely but don't overdo it.
5. Ask about the cost before agreeing to go ahead. A dicussion on cost should include follow up visits and any medication and dietary requirements that follow - the overall cost. A clean, clear picture on the cost will avoid any tricky and possibly upsetting discussions when it is time to pay. Money is a source of disputes. Getting things clear at the beginning should avoid disputes which in turn keeps the relationship with your vet on an nice footing.
6. Keep your expectations in check and also your emotions. Taking your cat to the vet is often nerve wracking. Both you and your cat are anxious. This emotion can be a barrier to a good session with the vet.
7. Vets and their staff can become stressed when under pressure due to emergency work etc.. They make mistakes. Clients should be tolerant of some odd mistakes. Consistent low performance should mean the cat owner looks for another vet. It is certainly worthwhile searching for a vet that is genuinely good and then cultivating a good relationship. This should include praising your vet when praise is due. A card thanking her for her good work will probably pay dividends in the future and keep the relationship warm.
One last point: the cat is the vet's client. The cat's owner is the "agent" acting on behalf of her cat and in a trusted position. All decisions are for the benefit of the cat not the owner.