We are pleased to announce that The Cat Doctor is pretty much back to business as usual, providing in-home visits with the addition of extra PPE and strict social distancing – please see below for more information.
There is no doubt that the coronavirus outbreak and associated restrictions are causing a great deal of stress for everyone these days. We all want to make sure that both our families and our pets stay safe and healthy in these uncertain times.
It is important to remember that COVID-19 is a disease of humans, not pets. We are following the advice of official organisations such as the WHO, WSAVA, BSAVA, RCVS and the UK Government closely and although this information is subject to update at any time, current guidelines state that there is very little to worry about with regards to pets and COVID-19. Although a few cats have tested positive for the virus, there is no evidence that cats can transmit the disease to humans although they can potentially carry it on their coats for short periods of time like any other object.
This essentially means treating your pets as you would other people in terms of social distancing, and maintaining good personal hygiene at all times.
An excellent FAQ regarding cats and COVID-19 can be found on the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) website, with the more complete and regularly updated reference listed below.
The Cat Doctor as a mobile veterinary practice is prepared and in fact very well-suited to continue providing care as normal to your cat. In contrast to a clinic, we have no waiting room and we see only a handful of people and their cats each day, which automatically limits our contact with those who may be infected.
As a responsible veterinary healthcare provider, we have developed a set of procedures to ensure both our patients and their human companions stay as happy and healthy as possible during the coronavirus pandemic:
Option 1 – Limited Contact
For clients who are not considered high risk and would like to carry on as normal, we will continue to visit you and your cat in your home with the following added precautions:
- We will ask you to kindly maintain a distance of 2m (6 ft) at all times. This distance still firmly applies even as the government relaxes it’s own guidelines, as we cannot risk spreading the virus to others or being taken out of action to self-isolate if a client later tests positive. This is best achieved by staying in a separate room and we will advise the best way to maintain social distancing once we see the layout of your house.
- We will wear protective clothing (gloves, aprons and masks) as appropriate.
- We will use medical-grade hand sanitizer before and after each visit. This is something we already do but just thought we would point it out now!
- We will spray the exam area, surfaces we have touched and ourselves with a pet-safe disinfectant if indicated.
- We can take payment by card or bank transfer without the need for you to handle our card machine. The cost of this visit will be as normal (£83 plus any necessary treatment).
Option 2 – No Contact (Isolation)
For clients who are shielding or have been told to self-isolate – instead of coming into your home, we will instead recommend a video consultation unless it is clear that your cat requires urgent physical attention.
If a physical visit is not required, we can often assist via WhatsApp video or telephone call. For existing clients, we can use this to provide medical advice and dispense medications as required, provided we feel it is safe to do so. We are also happy to advise on routine care and ongoing chronic medical conditions from a distance. This is ideal for owners who require new prescriptions for their cat’s flea/worm prevention, for example.
For those that are not already registered with us (ie, if we have never physically seen your cat before), the RCVS recommends against us dispensing medications after just a telephone or video consultation. You are therefore advised to speak with your current practice if you require medications to be prescribed remotely as they may be able to do so in certain situations, even if this isn’t normally the case. If you are not currently registered at another practice however, you are welcome to contact us and we will do our best to assist.
Please note that we are unfortunately no longer able to make isolation visits in the Catmobile as we are currently booked to capacity with standard home visits. If your cat requires urgent attention and you are unable to leave the house, we are not able to enter your house either – please contact a local clinic and arrange for a friend to take your cat in according to the clinic’s own guidelines.
Finally, if at any point you need to go into hospital or feel you are too ill to care for your cat, please let us know and we will do our best to assist according to your individual situation until you are feeling well enough to look after them again.
Don’t worry, no matter which option you choose, your cat will still receive the same gentle handling and cuddles as normal!
We will be constantly re-evaluating our policies in line with current government and health service advice. If you have any questions about our service during these uncertain times, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Useful resources regarding COVID-19 and pets
When educating yourself about COVID-19 and particularly how this relates to your pet, please don’t fall prey to uninformed or intentionally inaccurate social media or website posts that aim to spread fear and/or misinformation. See below for a list of official resources that you can use:
- ABCD FAQ on cats and COVID-19 –
- ABCD full report on cats and COVID-19 –
- BSAVA update on COVID-19 and pets –
- WSAVA advice regarding COVID-19 and companion animals – https://wsava.org/news/highlighted-news/the-new-coronavirus-and-companion-animals-advice-for-wsava-members/
- WHO general information and updates on COVID-19 – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- NHS overview of COVID-19 – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- UK Government advice on staying at home and self-isolation – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance