6 Tips For Finding A Cat Veterinarian

Tips For Finding A Cat Veterinarian

6 Tips For Finding A Cat Vet
Kali-Ma & Dr. Tenenzapf

Nearly a year ago Kali-Ma’s vet closed and I was devastated. She turned ten this year and these are critical years that she has a competent, compassionate vet that I know and trust. She is a senior cat now and requires added attention. For more on senior cats please read: Tips for Senior Cat Care

It has taken me a year of searching but we finally found a veterinarian we are both happy with. Dr. Tenenzapf at North Hills Veterinary Hospital http://www.northhillsvh.com/ is everything we dreamed of and more and he was worth the wait. 

Finding a cat vegetarian took time and patience. Kali-Ma is a Therapy Cat and I settled for nothing less than the best for her as I am certain all pet parents seek.   I hope these tips help someone else out there that may be in a similar situation.


You are seeking a doctor to provide care for your beloved pet for its lifetime. You need to rely on them for preventative care, knowledge of the latest training to treat your cat, and possibly surgical care if required, etc. This is not a relationship to be taken lightly.

So, before I started seeking a vet a made a list of the most important qualities that were important to me.  This is my list and everyone’s will not be the same:

  • Knowledgeable: I want to know where he/she went to school and if they kept up on their training
  • Integrity: I wanted honest and truthful doctors and personnel. People that do the right thing because it is the right thing to do even when no when is watching.
  • Patient/Compassionate: They need to be kind and have patience with me and my cat. I don’t want to be treated like a number when I come in. Also, heaven knows Kali-Ma can require some patience from time to time.
  • Cleanliness: It has to be clean! It ever my cat would have to stay overnight I have to know that it is a clean place – hospital clean!
  • Fair Pricing: I expect to pay a FAIR price for services rendered. I do not mind paying but do not overcharge or try to sell me things I do not need. 

Now….where do I find this vet?

2. Ask People Know Where They Take Their Pets

Ask the pet people in your life where they take their pets and why.  Is it the price, the care? Why are they going there? Then refer to your list of what you want in a vet and see if it is a place you want to visit.

I visited a place referred by a friend and I really liked the doctor but the technicians were very rude and the clinic was dirty. The pricing was also very cheap. I just couldn’t imagine if anything serious ever happened to Kali-Ma leaving here there. So, my search continued.

3. Cat Only Vets 

I found a “specialty” cat only vet in our area that I took Kali-Ma to for an appointment. I thought I was taking her to the best of the best. It turned out disastrous.

Kali-Ma likes dogs however she has little to no appreciation for other cats. This vet had an ‘office’ cat running loose that aggravated Kali-Ma to no end. They also had glass see-through exam room doors to heighten the experience.

Lacking any integrity, they were what I refer to as ‘food pushers’.  She tried to sell me prescription dental food that was cornmeal based. It was a very bad cat food. Kali-Ma didn’t need it and she clearly was looking to make $$$ which was also evident when I checked out as the bill was it nearly double as other vets I paid for the same services. 

Kali-Ma eats the best food on a dehydrated cat food diet. She has done extremely well on this food plan for over a year. Reasons To Feed Your Cat Dehydrated Food She basically eats raw duck meat every day. This vet tried to sell me dry cornmeal mixed with chicken! 

I am sure there are cat only vets out there that work for some and are worth the price, but it didn’t work for us.

4. Emergency Vet Referrals

Unfortunately sometimes our kitties have to visit the pet ER and they give us referrals to vets. Kali-Ma had an ear infection and since we had no vet they referred us to one. Well, that didn’t go so well either.

We were crammed in a small waiting room with five dogs and then one of the dogs had a bowel movement on the floor. It wouldn’t have been so bad but no one picked it up! The girl behind the desk sat there looking at it and the owner never moved. Everyone in the waiting room looked for something to cover their nose with.

Needless to say, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough and never returned. They had no cleanliness or compassion for their customers. We were all like cattle just being passed through.

5. Internet Research

When all else fails just google it! That’s what I did and I finally found a forever vet for Kali-Ma at North Hills Veterinary Hospital.  Her doctor, Jonathan Tenenzapf, DVM, graduated from Ohio State in 2015. Now we are die-hard U of M fans, but we are overlooking that as Kali-Ma REALLY likes Dr. T!

6 Tips For Choosing A New Cat Vet
Kali-Ma At North Hills Veterinary Hospital

He has all the qualities and more that I was seeking. Everyone at North Hills loves her and we are very happy there. It’s a major relief to know that Kali-Ma will have good health care now.

6 Tips For Finding A Cat Veterinarian
Kali-Ma & Dr. Tenenzapf

From the moment we walked in I felt like we were family. You can tell just by the way he holds her and looks at her that he is genuine in his care for her. I HIGHLY recommend this vet to anyone in the area. 

6. Mobile Vets

Maybe you cannot find a vet or get to one. Or maybe vet visits stress your cats. Well, what about a mobile vet?

Mobile vets are becoming more popular these days. These vets will come to your home and perform basic services, preventative care, and general non-surgical medicine.

If you are interested and in the Rochester Hills area contact: https://baynevet.com/

Final Thoughts……

My cat isn’t a part of my family she IS MY FAMILY. This coming January 31st it will be nine years since she rescued me. For those years it’s been just me and her alone on this journey together. I cannot imagine a morning without her whisker on my cheeks or night without her paw gently on my arm. She walks to the door every morning and greets me at that same door every evening. Throughout the year she provides joy to so many through her Cat Therapy everywhere she goes in her little pink polka-dot stroller.

For a year I struggled to find her a veterinarian I could trust her care to. To say I am relieved to have found Dr. T. and his team is an understatement. They are really a great compassionate team with integrity. I KNOW they will do the right thing even when I am not looking.

I also know that what is important to me in a vet is not the same thing as everyone else. So, make a list and start there. What do YOU WANT IN A VET FOR YOUR CAT?

Happy Tails To You ….Until Next Time……

About Author

Gloria Tripp

Owner of Tails of Kali-Ma LLC where I blog about the tales of Kali-Ma the therapy cat. These tales include cat care tips, cat stories, and cat life lessons based on my life with Kali-Ma as part of a cat therapy team. I am a registered therapy animal owner, freelance copywriter, aspiring author, and lover of everything cats!


  1. Kate Hansen

    It’s good to know that you need to see if they went to school for their training. My husband and I are planning on getting a kitten for our house in a couple of weeks, and we want to make sure that we can find the right vet that can help us with keeping her healthy. We’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind as we search for a veterinarian for our kitten once we get one for our home.

    1. HI Kate. kali-Ma and I searched a long time for our puurfect vet. We really love him! I am so glad that our blog was of assistance to you. Happy Tails to you and your new kitty!

  2. Mike Sanders

    I like what you said about looking online to find the right vet for your cat. My sister has been telling me about how her cat has been sick recently, and she wants to make sure that she gets the right care. I’ll share this information with her so that she can look online to find the right vet.

  3. rachel frampton

    I just recently bought my cat Penny about tow months ago, and since this is my first time to own a pet, I don’t know any good vets yet. I guess you’re right; it is important to seek referrals from my acquaintances who have pets and where they take them for checkup and grooming. I’ll also see to it that to come up with a list that I would like a vet to provide my cat before looking for one.

    1. Thank you, Rachel, for stopping by. All the best to you and “Penny”. Wishing safety and wellness to both of you during these uncertain times. Happy Tails to you! 🙂

  4. Molly

    Hi Gloria!
    Always happy to see what Kali-Ma is doing!
    Thank you for addressing this topic. A few years ago I researched a new vet for my pets and I am so glad I did! Sometimes we stay with a doctor (even for humans) out of habit or loyalty and don’t realize the world of difference a great doctor can make.
    To be able to totally trust your vet can ease your mind.
    I belong to a pet loss grief group since my kitty passed away in April. I have heard so many surprising stories of vet treatment, good and bad. I would never wish for anyone to doubt their choice of vet once it’s too late.
    It’s a load off of my mind to know my two dogs, and newly adopted kitten😻, are in the best care.
    Thanks again! Best wishes to you and Kali-Ma!

    1. Hi Molly. So very nice to hear from you. I couldn’t more with everything you said. The year I spent seeking a vet for Kali-Ma was torture. It’s a weight off my mind knowing she has good health care now. Congratulations 🎉 on the kitty. I’m sure your cat 🐈 over the rainbow 🌈 is happy you adopted one. The transition isn’t always easy. Kali-Ma rescued me when I was in mourning so many years ago. All the best to you and your pet family 🐾😊❤️ Gloria and Kali-Ma

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