Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reader Question: Is there any Advice for an Owner of a Longhair Cat that gets Heavily Matted?

Dear Dr. Plotnick,
I have two domestic shorthair cats who are brother and sister. They will be 12 years old in April. The problem is that the female gets matted fur that I cannot remove unless I shave it off – which I am afraid to do. The mats do not seem to bother her, but they look uncomfortable. They are located on her chest area. Do you have any advice for me?

Bonnie L.

Dear Bonnie,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Reader Question: My Cat is Peeing Outside the Litter Box. Is it because of the Other Cats in the Household?

Dear Dr. Plotnick, 
I have a male cat, 18 years old, who is urinating all over the house even though I am cleaning the litter box (shared by 3 cats) daily. I haven’t changed the type of cat litter, or his diet. This behavior is not new but there is an aggravation.

The two other cats are 1 male and 1 female. Could his behavior be due to the third cat being a male? What can I do to make him urinating in the litter? My veterinarian could not find any reason for this behavior.

Jacqueline B.

Dear Jacqueline,

Monday, November 9, 2015

Aung San Suu Kyi and a brief history of the Burmese democracy movement

            Readers of my blog know that travel and cats are my two passions.  Friends, clients, and readers have been asking me where I'm going next.  A few months ago, I decided that Burma (now called Myanmar, although I'm going to keep calling it Burma) was my next destination, and I've been preparing for it ever since, reading travel guides, history books, Burma-related blogs, and putting together an interesting itinerary (that of course includes cats.)  

Burma has been in the news lately, because of their upcoming election.  I shouldn't say "upcoming", because as I write this, the elections have just wrapped up, and results are trickling in.  We'll know more in a few days.

You really can’t talk about Burma without talking about the world’s most famous former prisoner of conscience, Aung San Suu Kyi.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you have to have heard about this remarkable woman.  Aung San Suu Kyi has served as the human face of the Burmese freedom struggle.  She is to Burma what Nelson Mandela was to South Africa. Because many Americans only have a vague awareness of what's going on in Burma and who Aung San Suu Kyi is, I thought I'd devote this column to (hopefully) Burma's next leader.         

            Undoubtedly, much of Aung San Suu Kyi’s standing comes from her status as the daughter of Aung San, the revered father of modern Myanmar.  Despite the illustrious parentage, her early life gave no hint of path she would later follow.  Born in Yangon in 1945, she was just two years old when her father was assassinated. She spend many of her younger years abroad, first in Delhi where her mother, Khin Kyi, served as Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal, before studying at Oxford University, where she met her future husband, Dr. Michael Aris, the late distinguished Asian scholar.  She later worked for the UN in New York before marrying Aris in 1971.  She and Aris spend their first year of their marriage in Bhutan, where Aris tutored the royal family.  They then returned to England, living in Oxford, where Aris became a university lecturer.  Aung San Suu Kyi continued her studies at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.  She also raised two sons. 

            So how did the bookish and retiring wife of an Oxford lecturer rise to such global prominence? 

Friday, November 6, 2015

50 Cat Safe Plants For Your Garden

50 Cat Safe Plants For Your Garden

Guest post by Laura M. Sands

Growing cat-safe plants in your garden is a wonderful goal for pet owners and non-pet owners, alike. Avoiding toxic plants helps to ensure the safety of your own pets as well as neighborhood cats who may occasionally roam your yard. According to the ASPCA, plants like Aloe and Branching Ivy are particularly harmful to cats, but with so many plants that are safe for a cat to enjoy you’ll hardly miss any that should be avoided.

Some of the most beautiful and cat-safe plants for your garden include:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Feline Body Parts - The Liver

Feline Body Parts – The Liver
"Liver Me This"
by Arnold Plotnick, MS, DVM, ACVIM
  • Published in Catster   Volume 1, No. 3, Sept/Oct 2015
“What am I? Chopped liver?”  You’ve probably heard this figure of speech before, the speaker implying that he’s worthless.  I can assure you, as a cat veterinarian, that the liver (unchopped, at least) is anything but worthless.  In fact, the liver is one of the most important and versatile organs in the body.  If you’re impressed with the ability to multitask, then you’ll really admire the liver.  It stores glucose, to supply the body with energy when needed.  It makes clotting factors, to control bleeding. It detoxifies the blood.  It stores vitamins and minerals.  It helps digest food. It metabolizes drugs. You name it, the liver probably does it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Aggressive Neighboring Cats

Aggressive Neighboring Cats

Guest post by Laura M. Sands

He’s handsome and brave, fun to watch and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. As he strolls through the neighborhood while barely acknowledging your presence, you decide that you’ve just got to get close enough for a proper introduction. You make up your mind to just go for it as your cat silently approaches to join the fun. Before you can take another step, though, fur is quite literally flying and a friendship is ruined before it even begins.

So what just happened here? Well, while you were daydreaming about all of the fun you could have together, an aggressive neighboring cat decided that three's a crowd and that your cat is no longer allowed in his territory. The bigger problem here is that his territory is your yard, so how do you protect your outdoor cat from future harm?

How to Handle an Aggressive Neighboring Cat

Friday, October 16, 2015

Last day in Oslo: The National Gallery and the Contemporary Art Museum, a last peek at the Opera House, and then (sigh)... home.

Our short little trip to Oslo is coming to an end.  Our flight back leaves at 6:00 p.m.  Need to be at the airport at 4:00.  Gotta catch the train at 3:30.  This gives essentially half a day more of sightseeing before we say goodbye.  So, one more stroll up Karl Johans gate as we make our way to The National Gallery.

The National Gallery is Norways' largest and most prestigious art gallery.  It is housed in a  huge 19th-century building.  What it lacks in internationally famous painters (aside from Edvard Munch), it makes up in Norwegian art.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oslo: City Hall and the Opera House, The Edvard Munch Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and a final walk through Grunlerløkka.

Our next to last day in Oslo started with a trip to City Hall.  City Halls tend to be the dominant buildings in Scandinavian capitals, rather than churches.  Perhaps that's why Scandinavia always ranks so high on the list of countries with happy, satisfied people.  Here, people pay high taxes, have high expectations, and usually get what they expect: a government that cares about its citizens and spends their money wisely, i.e. free health care, free universities, and well paying jobs.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Arrival in Oslo: Walking tour of this beautiful city.

In my job, I have a fair amount of vacation time that must be used up before the end of the year.  It’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy.  Fortunately, the opportunity arose for a lil’ five day mini-vacation in the middle of August.  I wanted to go somewhere with a relatively short travel time, and I don’t know why, but Scandinavia beckoned.  Having been to Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, I was left with Norway and Iceland as two relatively nearby vacation spots.  I checked and saw that flights to Oslo, on Norwegian Air Shuttle, were super-affordable, so using my Barclay Card air miles, I snagged two round trip tickets. Time flies, as it tends to do, and before I knew it, we were in the Carmel car on the way to JFK.

Oslo, the smallest of the Scandinavian capitals, is a great city.  Clean, friendly, loads of museums, great restaurants, tons of outdoor space, a beautiful harbor... this is a city that really has its act together.

A word now about Norwegian Airlines.   Yes, the airfare was surprisingly affordable.  It almost made me wonder if there was some catch somewhere.   There is.  You pay for your ticket, and then practically everything else is a la carte.  After you purchase your ticket, you don’t get a seat assignment.  You get your seats when you check in at the airport, unless you want to select your seat ahead of time online.  The cost?  33 euros!  That adds about $40 per seat, or $80 onto the ticket price.  And that’s one way.  Add another $80 for the flight back, and now you’ve added $160 to the total cost of your ticket.  Checked baggage? It’ll cost you.  Unlike most airlines, your first checked bag is not free.  It’s 42 euro!  Food?  Forget it.  They don’t even give you water on the plane unless you’ve pre-paid online or you order while on the plane.  Meals cost a fortune.  The person sitting next to me ordered dinner.  It was a tiny little spoonful of rice, some chicken, and a few veggies.  Not worth it.  The air temperature in the cabin was very low.  They had the place chilled like a meat locker.  Fortunately, I brought a sweatshirt, because if you wanted a blanket, guess what?  Yep.  $5.   Every seat has a screen on the back, so you do have choices of movies and TV shows, but it’s a crappy selection.  No headphones?  That’ll be $3. So, if you don’t mind risking getting a mediocre seat (our seats were fine, it turned out), taking all carry-on luggage, and bringing your own food (which I did),  packing a  sweater (which I did), and having your own headphones (check) and your own favorite movies and shows loaded on your iPad/laptop/iPhone (check), the flight is a bargain.  The bottom line:  flying Norwegian Airlines?  Plan ahead!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Amsterdam and Paris 2015 - Day 10 - Last day in Paris. Exploring Montmartre and the Museum Fragonard at the Veterinary School.

Day 10 -  Last day in Paris.  Exploring Montmartre and the Museum Fragonard at the Veterinary School.
(Continued from Day 9)

For the last day, I figured we should take the obligatory trek to Montmartre.  

It's a trendy neighborhood, and it has so much history.  So many struggling artists, poets dreamers and drinkers came here for the cheap rent and wild nightlife.  

The Metro takes you to Rue des Abbesses, where you encounter the rust-red Neo-Gothic Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre church.  It was built in the early 20th century. 

Nearby was Le Cafe Qui Parle, with their popular weekend all-you-can-eat buffet brunch.

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