Choosing a vet
I've realised that when you first get a new cat, or start looking after a new community cat that people often don't know what to look for in a vet. This is especially pronounced if the cat has a serious illness and needs surgery. You can ask for recommendations from friends and other cat owners or caregivers, but this is often very subjective. Despite vaccinations and the like, which any vet can do with their eyes closed, you may have a cat (and I sincerely hope you don't) that has something which isn't run of the mill.
If you are considering a serious or delicate operation, do consider the following :-
1. Are you comfortable with the vet? Does the vet tell you what you need to know?
2. Ask questions - the vet may not always know what YOU want to know. I'm quite surprised how many people don't ask questions and then email me to ask what is going on. The best person to discuss this with is your vet and they're more than happy to answer your questions in most cases. Of course they do have a busy caseload, so on to
3. Write down questions to ask - often you may forget to ask something, so write them down systematically so you don't have to keep calling the clinic back.
4. Ask if the vet has experience in that particular surgery if you know it is a complicated surgery - there's no need to be insulting of course, but you want to know what the recovery rate is, and what sort of experience the vet has had. You wouldn't go for a heart bypass with a General Practitioner of course, so why would you do the same for your cat? In Singapore, we don't have Feline Oncologists for example, but there are vets out there with more experience in different areas. Find out what those areas your vet specialises in and if he or she has done the surgery before.
5. Ask the vet clearly about post-operative care and painkillers - self explanatory.