How we’re handling COVID-19 at T.H.E. Cat Hospital

Hospital Team 7 min readHealth Alerts, Hospital News

Our furry friends can be a great source of comfort, particularly during times of stress and uncertainty. But while it seems like the whole world has been put on hold, your cat may still need medical care for any number of issues. So, for the time being, we will remain open to examine and treat your cat.

To do so, we are making some notable changes to help protect you, your cats, our team, and the greater community. Read on for details.

We’re all in this together, and we truly appreciate your patience and understanding as the situation continues to evolve day-by-day.

Update 10/5/20: We’ve added a new video showing how Curbside Exams work. For more information, see our Curbside page.

Update 6/8/20: We have updated the hours to reflect our expanded availability.


Limited Availability

Limited Services

  • Overnight Hospitalization: If your cat needs overnight hospitalization, we will need to refer you to one of the urgent care facilities.
  • Grooming: If your cat is coming in for an exam, we can perform nail trims and rear shaves. However, all other grooming is suspended for the time-being.
  • Boarding: We are suspending all new boarding.

Limited Hours

Effective Tuesday Mar 24th, we will have reduced hours and days that we are open in both Tustin and Marina del Rey. The hours shown below are for the current week and update automatically to reflect any changes.

Tustin
Mon - Tue9 AM - 12:30 PM
2 PM - 5 PM
WedClosed
Thu - Fri9 AM - 12:30 PM
2 PM - 5 PM
Sat - SunClosed
Marina del Rey
Mon - Wed9 AM - 4 PM
ThuClosed
Fri9 AM - 4 PM
Sat - SunClosed

Appointments

Curbside Drop-Off Exams

To help protect you and our staff, we are adopting a Curbside Drop-Off model. Meaning, for the time being, we will only be allowing staff inside the hospital (the exception being during euthanasias).

In short, how it works is that when you arrive for your scheduled appointment, you’ll call to check in and can then wait comfortably in your car. When we’re ready, we’ll come out to your car and bring your cat inside for the exam. Once completed, we’ll call to discuss results & next steps, and bring your cat back out to your car (disinfecting the carrier when we give it back to you).


Shopping

Online Shopping Is Preferred

If you need prescription refills, food, or other medications, you can order them through our online store. Most prescriptions need to be approved, and we will be reviewing requests as quickly as we can. Like with all other supplies right now, please only order what you actually need so as not to take away supplies from people who need them most.

In-Person Shopping will be limited

If you would like to pick up food or medication in the office, you must call ahead. We will be taking payments over the phone so that we can have everything ready for you. And just like with our examinations, you’ll call our front desk when you arrive, and we’ll bring your purchases out to you.

Like all businesses, our supply of food and medicine is currently constrained, so we will be limiting the quantities we sell to ensure that those most in need can get supplies when necessary. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we try to help as many people as possible during these trying times.


Disinfectant Protocols

Even in normal times, we routinely disinfect our hospital with anti-viral cleaners designed to kill FeLV, FIV, Feline Herpes, as well as Coronavirus. In accordance with evolving CDC guidelines, we are increasing the frequency and robustness of our cleaning protocols, as well as giving all surfaces you might touch a thorough cleaning between appointments.

How we disinfect the hospital:
  • Counters are sprayed with a medical-grade disinfectant after each patient’s visit (including the reception counters).
  • Staff members wash their hands after each patient interaction. 
  • Credit card machines, door handles, and other shared equipment are wiped down after each interaction.
  • We will be wearing masks during each client interaction

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my cat catch COVID-19?

At the time of this writing (4/14/20), there have been a total of two widely reported cases of domestic animals testing positive for COVID-19 (a dog in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium). Both of these pets were living with humans that were previously infected. Additionally, IDEXX Laboratories has tested thousands of domestic animals, and none have tested positive. So, if you are currently infected with COVID-19, it is theoretically possible that you could transmit it to your cat – but there is no evidence of companion animals passing the virus to their owners.

If you are personally experiencing symptoms, the CDC recommends that you limit all interactions with your pets – which means avoiding petting, cuddling, kissing, or sharing food with them. If you must interact with them, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after any contact with them. You can get the latest information on the CDC website here.

Can my cat give me COVID-19?

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including cats and dogs, can spread COVID-19 to their owners.

Should I put a mask on my cat?

No. Simply put, there is no need for this. And as it would be an unusual item to have on their face, most cats would not respond well to it.

Why are you making all appointments drop-off only?

This was a difficult decision, but one that allows us to help the most people. Put simply, if someone on our team becomes infected, it’s possible we’d have to shut down our entire hospital for several days – which would severely impact our ability to care for other clients’ cats. So we feel the safest approach is to limit interpersonal contact. We know this is unusual, but this is an unusual time, and we appreciate your help and understanding.

Can I come in if I’m sick or have been in contact with someone who may be?

No. First of all, please take care of yourself. We also ask that you stay home and inform our team ahead of any scheduled visit so that we can make alternative arrangements for you (possibly a video call). We’ll do our best to help in this trying time, but we need to protect our staff.

Are the emergency clinics also open?

As of the time we published this post, the emergency clinics near both our locations were still open. As this may change, and they may have their own COVID-19 policies in place, it’s best to contact them directly if you have questions.

How can I stay up to date?

If there are any substantial changes to our policies and procedures, we’ll inform our clients directly. But for any smaller changes, we’ll keep this blog post up to date as well as posting updates on Facebook.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19?

There is a lot of misinformation being spread through social media. For the most accurate information, we recommend going directly to the CDC website.

How can I keep my spirits up?

We believe it’s important to stay connected with family and friends, and to keep a smile on our faces as much as possible. To help in our small way, we’ll be doing our best to share cute cat pictures and videos on Facebook and Instagram.


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