Becoming a Cat Veterinarian is more than just a profound love for cats. Yes, those furry little animals can be too cute to resist, but to be able to provide the highest quality of healthcare for them one must first undergo some rigorous training to become a veterinarian.
Veterinarians are physicians that have been trained and educated by an accredited institution in order to diagnose and treat injuries and diseases in animals. A “vet” cares for companion animals such as dogs, rabbits, and cats. They are capable of diagnosing diseases, providing vaccinations, operating specialized equipment, analyzing X-ray films, and many more to give care to the general health of animals. A veterinarian that specializes in caring for cats (felines) can also be considered a small animal veterinarian.
Are you interested in becoming a cat veterinarian? Read on to find out what you need to do!
Feline veterinarians work in hospitals and animal clinics that cater exclusively to cats. They may also choose to operate in mobile health units to reach out to areas that don’t have easy access to veterinary care and services.
Here are the general responsibilities that cat vets perform on a routine basis:
• Provide basic health checkups
• Carry out vaccinations
• Prescribe antibiotics and medicines
• Neutering of animals and spray surgeries
• Give post-surgical assessment
Each day at work can be challenging and exciting. But like most small animal veterinarians, they are subject to working long and varied hours while on duty. Cat vets may be “on call” during the holidays or weekends for potential emergency situations.
There is so much demand for feline vets worldwide. As a result, numerous job opportunities are available to them. The American Veterinary Medical Association or AVMA reports that over 75% of vets work in private practice. A small animal veterinarian such as a cat vet could be just a small portion of that.
Aside from working in private practice, they can also provide their services to veterinary pharmacies, government research labs, educational institutions, and the military. It is even common to find a feline vet in institutions that provide mixed healthcare services such as those specializing in large animals.
For aspiring cat vets, you must first complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in any of the 30 accredited schools in the United States. There is a high level of competition getting into these programs and an even more rigorous training course for those eligible for graduation. Getting high grades in the sciences as well as great scores in your GEs can provide a huge advantage. Upon graduation, you will have to sit and pass the NAVLE or North American Veterinary Licensing Exam for you to be able to practice professionally.
There are approximately 2,500 veterinarians who enter into their professions each year. An employment survey conducted by the AVMA in 2010 showed that there were over 95,000 vets practicing in the United States alone, many of which were small animal veterinarians.
The ABVP or the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners also offers board certifications for practicing feline veterinarians. Only applicants that have a minimum of 6 years’ experience in the field along with having passed a thorough examination may qualify for this.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for veterinarians was approximately $82,040 in 2011. For veterinarians who specialized in specific animals, the median professional income was $97,000 in 2009.
Aspiring small animal veterinarians can expect to earn significantly higher salaries compared to their counterparts. This is due to their extensive training and experience in the field. In fact, the AVMA recorded 473 board certified canine and feline professionals and 290 board certified small animal surgeons in 2010.
As there are only a handful of qualified practitioners who enter into the veterinary field each year, the job outlook seems positive for those looking to become a cat veterinarian. Based on the data collected from the BLS, the veterinary profession is set to expand at a higher rate compared to all other careers—nearly 33% up until 2018. This means a steady demand for small animal veterinarians over the years.
If you love cats, then getting into this profession can not only be financially rewarding, but can also be emotionally satisfying as well. It is a long way to the top, but don’t give up. Consider all aspects first before you make that important decision in your career.
Cats, especially house cats, have long been domesticated and valued for their companionship. As more and more pet owners increase each year, there is a need to provide high quality healthcare services to these furry little animals. After all, they are part of the family and require an experienced and compassionate cat veterinarian to ensure that they live long and full lives ahead.