FAQ clinic

FAQ about the clinic:

  • Do I need an appointment? Yes, this is certainly a FAQ.  We are an appointment-only clinic.  We do not see walk-ins.  You will need to call us at (910)938-4515 or e-mail us at staff@coastalcatclinic.net for an appointment.  There may not be a doctor available at certain times.   By scheduling appointments, we try to get your kitty (and you) in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize stress to you and your cat.  Ideally this gives every cat the opportunity for the best veterinary experience possible.  Our office hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday, closed on weekends.
  • Are you open on the weekends? No, we are not open to the public on the weekends at all for any reason.  We do not discharge any hospitalized or boarding patients over the weekend.  Staff comes daily over weekends to feed, water, etc, but the doors will not be opened to the public.
  • Will I see the same veterinarian each visit? Yes, unless you happen to have an appointment on one of only a few days a year when Dr. Smith is out of town for continuing education, her own doctor’s visits, or planned vacation.  During any prolonged absence, Dr. Smith will hire a relief veterinarian to cover the clinic hours.  We only have one doctor other than those few days a year.  We will let you know in advance if Dr. Smith is not going to be in (very rare), so you will always see the same veterinarian each visit.
  • We are a veterinarian for cats only.  We don’t see dogs at all (not even little ones).   🙂  Yes, it is a FAQ for clients to want Dr. Smith to see their small dogs as well.  Sorry, but she hung up her dog scrubs years ago and has never looked back!

FAQ about health certificates:

  • Do you write health certificates? Yes, we will write interstate health certificates for our own clients.  We do not offer this service for non-clients.   Some international health certificates require months of preliminary arrangements, microchips, rabies titers, etc.  The base veterinary services has a higher level of USDA training and certification and is much better prepared to deal with overseas pet travel.  We are not a pet travel agency.  We are a veterinary facility and as such can not guarantee flight schedules, weather, etc.  A great deal of planning on the part of the owner is required for some international health certificates (esp travel to Britain, Japan, etc… even travel to Hawaii may require multiple jumps through hoops of fire in order to avoid lengthy, costly quarantines).
  • Dr. Smith maintains USDA certification adequate to write interstate health certificates, but that is the extent of it.  This allows clients to take their cats on air flights with them within the continental US.


FAQ about boarding:

FAQ boarding

kitty condos

  • Do you board cats? Yes we do.  We offer “bark-free” boarding.  We have large cat cages with perches and porthole doors into other compartments.  Space and season-permitting, boarders usually get to use 2 sections of cage during their stay.  Boarding kitties have a view of the front lobby and supervise the waiting room!   During Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other high-boarding times, cats may only be given a single section of cage, but even that is more space than you’ll have available from other local boarding facilities. Our rates are competitive with other boarding facilities in the area.  No weekend admissions/discharges are permitted.  No hurricane boarding is accepted.
  • What is needed for my cat to board with you? All cats must be spayed or neutered if old enough!   All cats need to be in good health, current on rabies and distemper vaccines, and be free of external parasites.  If your cat has any external parasites (fleas/ticks/ear mites), they WILL be treated with an appropriate product, usually Advantage Multi at your expense since these little beasties will invite themselves onto other peoples’ pets.  We will board stable diabetics and other pets with stable illness who are already patients at our practice but we can not extend that benefit to non-clients.
  • What should I know about traveling with my pet? The AVMA has published a nice article about common issues and information about traveling with your pet, whether in a car, on a plane, etc and can be found here.

FAQ about cats:

FAQ cats

  • I just got a cat.  What does he/she need at the first visit? A very good FAQ!  The answer to that question depends on many things, including the age and health of the cat.  Ideally we should begin seeing your kitten as soon as you get it.  Early intervention with safe and effective deworming and good nutritious foods prevents most problems before they can develop.  All cats and kittens should be vaccinated against rabies, should have a distemper vaccine, should be dewormed, and should be on a safe and effective flea control.   After an exam, any abnormalities or problems can be discussed with the doctor or a staff member who will try to answer any questions you may have.
  • How old is my cat in people years? There is no exact, universally accepted scale, but a good approximation can be found here.
  • Why do cats spray? That can be a very complicated FAQ.  The reasons can be many.   Stress, anxiety, territorial marking, medical problems, etc can all play a roll.  Unraveling that ball of yarn can be quite challenging but begins with an exam of your cat and then a consultation about your cat’s life style, environment, food, changes, etc.
  • My cat stays indoors all the time.  Why should she be vaccinated or go to the vet? The state of NC requires all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of 4 months to be vaccinated against rabies.  There is no provision in that law that says “…except  animals that never go outside”.  Yearly veterinary visits for your younger kitty and twice yearly visits for your cat over 8 years old will frequently prevent problems with early detection and good advice on care, feeding, etc.  Regular care, deworming and parasite control will keep your kitty healthier longer.  We are seeing more and more cats living into their twenties with good preventive health care and better nutrition.  It’s much easier (and less expensive!) to fix and manage something that has only been going on for a short while than something that has been going on for years.
  • Why does my cat…?

FAQ about spay/neuter:  FAQ spay/neuter

  • When can you spay or neuter my cat? We will spay or neuter your cat at 4 months of age, or 4 pounds, whichever comes first!  Your kitty does not need to be 6 months or older and certainly does not need to have a litter prior to being surgically sterilized.  We will need to see your cat for a pre-surgery appointment prior to making a surgery date for you so that we can examine your kitty and be sure that there are not other problems/issues which might expect to  cause problems with the surgery and to be sure that your kitty’s vaccines are current.
  • Does neutering entirely eliminate spraying? Maybe.  Cats spray for a variety of reasons, only some of which are sexually related.  Also, spraying is a learned behavior.  Ideally, cats will be neutered prior to learning to spray and it will hopefully never begin.  If your cat has already started spraying, neutering is the first step in trying to correct that behavior. At least if the spraying does not stop, the odor of the urine will become less offensive after a few weeks….
  • What do you do when you spay a cat? A “spay” is a complete ovariohysterectomy.  We remove the ovaries as well as the entire uterus above the cervix.  No more “heats”, no more kittens.

FAQ about cat teeth:  FAQ teeth

  • Do cats get cavities? Yes, but we don’t call them “cavities”.  We call them “feline oral resorptive lesions” or “neck lesions” for short.  They are painful and are not typically repairable with fillings, etc.  They will cause the tooth to need to be extracted when they get past the enamel and into the soft sensitive part of the tooth.
  • Do you clean cats’ teeth? Yes we do!  If needed we can also pull teeth.  We carry OraVet sealant (Merial) and BreathaLyser water additives as well as cat toothbrushes and toothpastes.
  • Why should I have my cat’s teeth cleaned? Just like with us, tartar and bacteria accumulates in your cat’s mouth.  Unlike us, cats don’t brush their own teeth.  Over time, the tartar and gingivitis can cause gum disease and  root exposure, tooth and bone infection.  All this causes mouth odor and pain and eventually tooth loss.  Having problems and infection in your cat’s mouth doesn’t always end there either.  Mouth problems can lead to heart problems, liver and kidney disease and other very serious issues in addition to pain.   Staying ahead of the teeth with regular dentistry (and tooth-brushing if the cat will permit it) is much safer for your cat’s health and much easier on your pocketbook than allowing dental issues to worsen and advance without care.

FAQ about fleas and flea control:

FAQ fleas

  • I can’t afford a prescription medicine for fleas.  What can I use safely on my cat instead?  A very good FAQ, Advantage 2 and Frontline, even the generic versions of the products, are safe for use on cats, even very young cats.  They may not be as fast-acting as the prescription products available these days, but if you use these, you won’t be calling us because you accidentally poisoned your cat.  NEVER use dog products on cats without consulting a vet first.  Some of them are lethal to cats.
  • My cat doesn’t go outside.  Does he still need flea control?  Maybe.  Just because your cat doesn’t go outside doesn’t mean a few fleas can’t hitchhike inside to him on your pant legs.  Or maybe he darted out the door the other day “just for a second”… that’s all it takes.  Or you have a dog, even if the dog is on flea prevention….  One pregnant flea, some cat blood, next thing you know you have a serious flea issue.   Some of the prescription flea controls (Advantage Multi and Revolution, for instance) also prevent feline heartworm disease and help to keep down GI parasitism when used monthly… oh and they are very effective for fleas too.  Bravecto is now also available as a topical liquid for cats for treatment once every 3 months.

FAQ about euthanasia:

FAQ misc

  • Do you put cats to sleep?   (Yes, and no!)  We do NOT do convenience euthanasias. Other places do, and you can call around, but we will not help you with this.   If you don’t want your cat anymore or need to move, that is not a good reason to kill it, in our opinion.  We have a link to listings of local humane organizations on this web site where you can try to place your cat in another home.  If your cat has an illness and is suffering, we can help your cat humanely on its way.  Fortunately, this tends to be a less frequent FAQ.
  • How do I know when it is “time” to euthanize my cat? Another very good FAQ as no one wants their pet to suffer.  Things to consider  are: does your kitty still seem happy to see you?  is he/she aware of his/her surroundings?  does he/she still enjoy their favorite treats?  can he/she sleep in a comfortable position?   A quality of life scale such as the one found here can be used to help you to decide when your cat should be humanely euthanized.
  • Will you euthanize my cat at home? Regrettably, we are unable to perform at-home euthanasias.  Dr. Smith’s liability insurance and controlled drug licenses do not cover her when she is not practicing AT her designated facility.  Also,  since we are a 1 doctor practice, if that 1 doctor leaves, there is no one on the premises to see appointments and take care of the sick cats in the hospital.
Coastal Cat Clinic, Jacksonville North Carolina, 28540 | (910) 938-4515