The Kitty Clinic in Clinton Township, Mich., caters to cats.
Mindy gets comfortable as the clinic's "receptionist."
Clinic kitty Cricket greets all clients who walk through the door.
RuPaul hangs out in the back of the clinic.
“With dogs, you can muzzle them if they get aggressive, but with cats, you need three or four people in the room to control this tiny thing,” says Dr. Tina Ruiz, a veterinarian at The Kitty Clinic, a veterinary hospital in Clinton Township, Mich. “Cats are not dogs, especially when it comes to handling them.”
Dr. Ruiz, who went to veterinary school knowing she wanted to work exclusively with felines, understands the benefits of providing medical and surgical care exclusively to kitty patients.
“Veterinary medicine has become extremely advanced, and cats are a unique species with different diseases than other animals,” Dr. Ruiz said. “Because we treat so many cats every day, we regularly see the same diseases. This allows us to diagnose our pet patients faster.”
More cat-only veterinary practices have been opening their doors in the past few years to not only provide tailored medical attention to felines, but also to create a calming experience for patients and pet parents.
Cats can get very tense around dogs and other animals in a traditional veterinary office. This may result in a stressful—and unproductive—appointment.
“One of the benefits of a cat-only clinic is that our office is very calming,” Dr. Ruiz said. “There are no barking dogs here, just our sweet office kitties.”
The Kitty Clinic also accepts a lot of cat patients that are turned away by other veterinary practices because they were too aggressive.
“Even though cats are little, they can get so angry,” Dr. Ruiz said. “We still love them though.”
The challenge of handling aggressive cats isn’t nearly as difficult for The Kitty Clinic as making sure cats get the veterinary care they need.
Although felines are increasingly popular as household pets and now outnumber dogs in the US by more than 10 million, according to the CATalyst Council, fewer cat parents take their felines to the veterinarian.
According to a recent study, one-third of pet parents haven’t taken their cat to the veterinarian within the past year because of “feline resistance.” That’s really a nice way of saying it’s because the cats just don’t like it.
In a bad economy, that outlook is impacting cat-only veterinary practices.
“Before the recession, the veterinary industry was moving in the direction of encouraging more practices to be cat only,” Dr. Ruiz said. “However, this is not the case anymore. Cat-only clinics have definitely been hurt the most.”
But despite the challenges, Dr. Ruiz expresses a true passion for what she does.
“At the end of the day, my favorite part is seeing the loving relationship between cats and their owners who visit our hospital,” Dr. Ruiz said. “We treat every kitty that comes in here like family.”
Learn more about The Kitty Clinic.
Do you love your veterinarian? Tell us why!