Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 7 - Last Day in Fes

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 7 - Last Day in Fes (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6)

Today our itinerary was simple.  Just stroll through Fes with no sites in mind and no agenda to speak of.  There’s 9600 streets and alleys.  Plenty to explore.

We made our way to Bab Boujeloud, but this time we veered right, onto the other main artery, Tala’a Sghira, to see what we’d find.  The first stretch consists of another market.  I saw one of my favorite sites again, a butcher stall with cats politely, if impatiently, waiting below.


We arrived at the Attarine medersa.  Attarine medersa translates to “Koranic school of the Spice Sellers”. This medersa is not as awesome as the Bou Inania medersa, but its graceful proportions, elegant geometric carved-cedar ornamentation and excellent state of preservation (it’s from the 14th century) makes it a really great example of Moorish architecture.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 6 - Full Day in Fes


Morocco Day 6 - Full Day in Fes (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5)

After last night’s foray into the hectic maze that is Fes, I was ready to tackle it head on.  Take a look at this map

Your best bet is to make your way to the main entry gate to the medina, Bab Boujeloud, which is depicted as an arch in the lower left corner.

Lots of signs pointing to it, so finding it wasn’t too tough.  From there, the road splits into the two main road in the medina, Tala’a Kebira, which meanders north, and Tala’a Sghira, which runs sorta parallel to the south of Tala’a Kebira, before eventually heading north and intersecting with it.  Tala’a Kebira is the road with most of the good stuff. 

We headed to just outside the medina, and started our first full day in Fes. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 5 - Fes

Day 5 – Goodbye Marrakech, Hello Fes.   (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4)

Today is a bittersweet day.  We were sorry to say goodbye to fascinating Marrakech, but excited to check out Fes.  We woke up early, took one last look at our beautiful riad from our balcony, and one last look at the lovely balcony outside our door.



We bid Sara and her brother adieu.  Anyone traveling to Marrakech would be guaranteed an excellent time if they stayed at Riad Tamarrakecht.  Sara and her brother really made the trip a pleasure.

Now we’re off to the train station.  Track 3.  Destination: Fes.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 4 - Essaouira

Morocco Day 4 (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3



Day trip!  Our destination: the beautiful coastal fishing town of Essaouira

Essaouira has an interesting history. Today, it’s a favorite destination for the picturesque fishing harbor, the twisting little alleyways, and the sand, sea and surf.  It used to be a hippie hangout for surfers and expat artists, and though the city now hosts a broader range of visitors, you can still see and hear the hippie/artist vibe in many places in town. 


The three hour bus ride was not very thrilling.  Mile after mile of dirt, dust and weeks, really.  Occasionally we’d spot a shepherd with a few sheep, or a few Muslim women, fully covered in the blazing heat, gathering up crops in little baskets, or maybe a wild donkey grazing on some hay in the distance.  Peaceful? Yes. Boring? Kinda.  And then, while sitting in my seat at the front of the bus, I noticed a cluster of people ahead on the right side of the road.  A break in the monotony.  But I had no idea what they were gathered around.  I had my camera in hand, and as we got closer, I saw what everyone was looking at.  The bus was moving at a decent pace, and I only had one or two seconds to fire off a photo, through the big front window of the bus.  Not much time to compose the photo or check the exposure.  So I set up and aimed away.  Presto!  The coolest shot of the entire trip. 


Yes! Those are goats in the tree! What the heck is the deal with that?!   I’ll tell you.

Inside Edition Stopped by Manhattan Cat Specialists to Talk to Cat Expert Dr. Plotnick!!

When your cat attacks you and holds you hostage, who ya gonna call? ... After you call 911, and a few news outlets, possibly Ghostbusters, then you call Dr. Plotnick.

INSIDE EDITION stopped by Manhattan Cat Specialists and spoke with veterinarian and cat expert Dr. Arnold Plotnick about that crazy cat that attacked its owners and held them hostage, bleeding and terrified, forcing them to call 911.

 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cryptococcosis in Cats

Cryptococcosis in Cats

by Arnold Plotnick MS, DVM, ACVIM, ABVP

Originally published in Catnip Magazine Volume 22, No. 2, 2014

About 10 months ago, I received a phone call from a cat owner seeking a second opinion.  Their 4 year old male orange tabby, Teddy, has always been a bit of a troublemaker, knocking things off counters, chasing imaginary mice, and leaving no houseplant un-nibbled.  Over the last few weeks, however, Teddy had been battling a stubborn upper respiratory infection (URI), and it was only getting worse, despite treatment.  I asked about his treatments, and they read me a list of about eight antibiotics that had been tried, all to no avail.  “We sometimes see a little improvement, but the sneezing and nasal discharge never goes away. Now his eye has become very runny.”  I asked if the cat had been tested  for the feline leukemia virus, or the feline immunodeficiency virus, as both of these viruses can suppress the immune system, making it difficult for some cats to defeat an infection.  “He was tested twice”, I was told.  “Negative both times.”  I asked if the cat was ever treated with antiviral medication, instead of antibiotics.  “Yes.  We gave him famciclovir for two weeks.”  I asked if there was any improvement.  “None whatsoever”, his owner told me.  Clearly, this was not a typical URI.  I recommended that they bring Teddy in for me to see him in person.  We scheduled an  appointment for that Friday.

I admit I was not prepared for the shocking site of poor Teddy’s face.    Copious thick, tenacious yellow mucus was covering Teddy’s nose and pouring from his nostrils.  The bridge of his nose was swollen, and the huge amount of discharge from his left eye had pasted down all the fur around his eye, sealing the lids shut.  To say that this was no ordinary URI was the understatement of the year.  “I don’t think this is a viral upper respiratory infection”, I told Teddy’s owners.  “I suspect Teddy has a fungal disease called cryptococcosis”.  

 (warning - graphic images)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 3 – Marrakech

Morocco Day 3 (Day 1 Day 2)

I started my Saturday in Morocco with our riad’s lavish rooftop terrace breakfast, only this time I was joined by the resident cat. 


Soon afterward, we were joined by the neighborhood tomcat, who hopped onto the terrace from a nearby rooftop, and made himself at home in the covered seating area on the terrace.  


Yesterday we explored sites in the northern part of Marrakech’s medina.  Today, we were going to check out the happenings in the southern part. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Reader Question: Can Cats Be Fed a Vegan Diet?

Don’t get me started on vegan cats and vegan cat owners forcing their cats to be vegan.

Forgive me if some of the terminology and physiology seems beyond the scope of this blog, but it’s important that I make clear ALL of the reasons why vegan diets for cats cannot and should not be done.

Cats are strict carnivores and need to consume animal tissue to avoid nutritional deficiencies.  There are specific, essential nutrients that are limited or scarce in plant material.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 2 – Marrakech

Day Two – First full day in Marrakech (Continued from Day 1)

Friday morning.  Woke up feeling refreshed and ready to explore the city.  After a great breakfast of eggs and a huge assortment of breads, pastries and jams (these folks are into carbs), we got ready to hit the town.  But first, I had to play with the riad kitty.  I knew the place had a resident cat, so I brought him a catnip toy from my hospital.

 
He’s pretty cute, no?


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 1 – Welcome to Marrakech

Day 1 – Welcome to Marrakech

It was that time of the year again: Memorial Day.  I like Memorial Day because not only does it signify the start of summer (my favorite season), it also means that I get to go on vacation!  My cat hospital is open seven days a week, and I can’t have our other veterinarian, Dr. Sheheri, work 11 days straight while I’m gone.  I need to pick a vacation time during which our hospital is closed for at least a day, so Dr. Sheheri can get a little break.  For the past five years, it’s been Memorial Day.

Ah, but where to go? Having visited most of the European countries (Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, Hungary, Austria to name a few) as well as a few countries in Asia (China, Vietnam, Thailand) and South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay), I was looking to conquer exotic new lands for my next trip.  It was time for a new continent.  Of course, as a veterinarian and animal lover, an African safari is the dream trip.  Alas, with limited vacation time, an African safari would have to be put on hold.  But this doesn’t mean that Africa is off the list, does it?  Why not “nearby Africa”, instead of “really far away Africa”?  And so… Morocco!

As you all know, I love to travel, and I love cats.  I don’t choose my vacation spots based on whether there’s a large local stray cat population, but if it so happens that there is, then it’s a big bonus for me.  I did a little research, and yes, Morocco has many cats.   Lots and lots.  Hundreds.  Thousands. Roaming the alleyways of the medinas.  Sleeping on couches in the dars and riads.  Napping in the public gardens.  Snoozing in the mosques.  That’s settled.  We’re going!

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