When I first moved to Orange in 2004, a neighbor boasted about the Cat Care Clinic off of Lincoln and Tustin Ave. A pet clinic that focused on cats only? Like a cat, my curiosity was piqued.
I started taking my (now late) cat Bella there. Then, when we rescued Maximus Decimus Meridius, we took him there too. I always felt so confident when my fur babies were in their capable hands. Yes, in part because they were medical professionals focusing on animals. But knowing they only focused on cats made me feel even more assured. The way I would feel seeing a cardiologist for a heart problem versus a primary care physician.
The Cat Care Clinic has grown extensively over the last few decades. And for good reason. Dr. Elaine Wexler-Mitchell, its founder, had a vision that focusing on cats would make all the difference. I can certainly relate to that!
Dr. Wexler-Mitchell was kind enough to give us a glimpse into what inspired her to open one of the best cat only clinics in the country.
SM: Did you always know you wanted to be a veterinarian?
Dr. Wexler-Mitchell: I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a kid. I always loved animals, was a good student, and thought it would be an interesting and challenging career.
SM: Why did choose to focus on veterinary medicine for cats only?
Dr. Wexler-Mitchell: I worked at a dog and cat practice when I first graduated from vet school. When I decided to start my own practice, my husband and I discussed what would make my practice be more unique. Cat only practices were starting to open in some areas and after I joined the American Association of Feline Practitioners and met some great people who had cat practices, it seemed a good fit.
SM: How did the Cat Care Clinic come about?
Dr. Wexler-Mitchell: I opened in 1991 with a technician I knew and my mother and mother in law helping with phones. I knew cats weren’t getting the best care at most clinics. Often they were handled like small dogs– and that didn’t work.
SM: What makes the Cat Care Clinic such a success?
Dr. Wexler-Mitchell: I believe it is the practice culture and my willingness to work hard and set an example. I’ve been fortunate to hire and train great people, and many of these team members now manage the practice. I think I’m a fair and honest person that cares about my team, the clients, and the kitties! The clinic’s goals are to provide excellent customer service and top notch care.
SM: Are you a cat parent and if so, tell us about your kitties.
Dr. Wexler-Mitchell: I have two mixed breed cats at home. They are unrelated stray kittens I adopted about 8 years ago. They get along very well with each other and put up with my crazy work schedule. I also have two rescue cats at the clinic. One came from a shelter in the the Inland Empire and the other I brought back from Hawaii!
I always recommend that my clients use cats-only veterinarians. Cats already face a lot of challenges during vet visits, not the least of which is the fear produced when you remove them from their home territory and their familiar scents. Add in scents and sounds from other species, some of which would consider cats prey, and you end up exacerbating your pet’s anxiety.
I wish more cat-loving vets would set up cats only practices, but the problem lies with the consumer. Dogs remain the cash cows 9so to speak) of the vet world. We cat lovers need to bring our pets in for more frequent veterinary care if we really want to encourage fine practices like yours. Thank you for all you do!
Couldn’t agree more!