Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Great Wall of China Cats

In May of 2012, I took a trip to China.  While in Beijing, I made plans to visit the Great Wall, of course.  A few weeks before my trip, I sent an e-mail to my tour guide, Vivie, telling her that I was a cat veterinarian and that I like to encounter kitties in whatever country I’m visiting, if possible. She said she’d ask some of her friends and colleagues about trying to maximize my chances of encountering cats while on the trip.  A few days later, she wrote back, informing me that a friend of hers told her that there’s a colony of stray cats that lives behind the ticket booth at the Great Wall.  She said that they tend to be out and about early in the morning.  I told her that I definitely wanted to get there early and see if I could encounter them.  
 
When I did eventually get to Beijing, Vivie took me to the Great Wall early, as promised.  Armed with a ziploc bag full of bacon that I had swiped from our hotel’s breakfast buffet, I scouted around the base of the ticket booth, and I did indeed encounter about 7 or 8 cats.  They were sweet and friendly, and I fed and patted them all. 

In November of 2013, clients of mine (Todd and Christine P.) told me that they were going to take a long (four weeks!) trip to China.  They had always wanted to visit China, and they had read my blog posts that described the sites and experiences that I had while there, which they said had only reinforced their desire to visit. (This was flattering to hear.)  On my recommendation, they hired the same tour guide, Vivie.  A few weeks later, toward the end of their trip, I received an e-mail from Todd and Christine.  Embedded in the e-mail was a photo of several cats at the base of the Great Wall ticket booth, chowing down on some kibble.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Potential New Blood Test to Detect Cancer in Cats



A Potential New Blood Test to Detect Cancer in Cats

The thymidine kinase (TK) test has great potential to help diagnose and monitor the most common form of cancer in the cat. 


                Lymphoma is the most common malignancy in cats, accounting for approximately 33% of all diagnosed cancers in cats.  Diagnosis is usually achieved either via cytology, where a needle is inserted into the affected tumor or lymph node and cells are removed and evaluated on a microscope slide, or via biopsy, where a small piece of the tumor or lymph node is removed and then examined by a pathologist. 

                In some instances, a diagnosis can be elusive. For example, some cytology samples end up being non-diagnostic; the cytologist may indicate that the cells look suspicious for – but cannot be conclusively identified – as lymphoma, and that a biopsy specimen is needed to be certain.  In some cats, obtaining a biopsy specimen can be problematic, since procuring a biopsy specimen requires anesthesia, which may entail unacceptable risk if the cat is in frail health or has a cardiac condition that precludes anesthesia.  Performing a surgical biopsy can be expensive, and may be cost-prohibitive for some cat owners. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Is it Feline Heart Disease, or is it Feline Lung Disease?



Is it Heart Disease, or is it Lung Disease?
Distinguishing cardiac disorders from pulmonary disorders is about to get a whole lot easier,
thanks to a new blood test.


Zilpha’s Dilemma
                 
A client of ours, Jo M., wasn’t too worried when her 15 year-old tortie, Zilpha, stopped eating and became lethargic.  She had been through this scenario a year earlier, when Zilpha was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, and she suspected that this was another flare-up. 

I examined Zilpha, and her clinical signs were indeed compatible with pancreatitis, but more worrisome to me was the observation that Zilpha was breathing hard.  I knew that Zilpha was asthmatic, but she had always been well-controlled on her medication.  I asked Jo how long Zilpha’s breathing had been labored like this. She told me at least a few days.

Intravenous fluid therapy is an important aspect of the therapy for feline pancreatitis, so I admitted Zilpha to our hospital to begin treatment.  However, I was concerned about fluid administration, because if Zilpha’s heavy breathing was due to heart disease rather than lung disease (i.e. the asthma), aggressive fluid therapy could make things worse.  To gather more information, I took x-rays of Zilpha’s chest.  

The images were not challenging to interpret, however.  The radiographic pattern in the lungs fit with asthma, but pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid within the lungs, a cardinal sign of heart failure) can have a similar appearance. The changes in the lungs caused the silhouette of the heart to be obscured, preventing an accurate assessment the size of the heart.  Cardiac ultrasound is the most informative test to determine if heart disease is present.  Unfortunately, this procedure requires the expertise of a veterinary cardiologist.  With no clear cut diagnosis and Zilpha’s breathing getting a little worse, I had no choice but to send Jo and Zilpha to a nearby referral center for cardiac ultrasound.  If there was a quick and simple blood test to distinguish lung disease from heart disease, I could have begun treating Zilpha promptly. Is such a test even a possibility? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kittens for Adoption at Manhattan Cat Specialists (New York City) - October 2013

OCTOBER 29th 2013 - New York, NY - Kittens, kittens, KITTENS! Kittens for adoption!  Kittens need homes in New York City!  We have a plethora, a slew, an overabundance of kittens for adoption here at Manhattan Cat Specialists.  If you are in the New York City area and are interested in adopting a kitten (or kittens), please contact us.  If you cannot adopt, please share this post, and hopefully we will be able to find forever homes for these kittens.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cat Question: Are all orange tabby cats male and are all calico cats female?

Are all orange tabby cats male and are all calico cats female?

Hear the science behind uncommon female orange tabby cats and the extremely rare tortoiseshell or calico male cat. 

(Originally posted on Catchannel.com)
Question: I have heard that all orange tabby cats are male, and to find one that is female is rare and worth up to $1,000. I also have heard that calico cats and tortoiseshell cats are female and to find a male is just as rare and prized. Is there any truth to this?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Here's 24 Cute Funny Excited Cats Having Fun and Going Crazy - Purrfect Cat & Kitten Reaction Gifs

If you're going to venture out into that great big world known as "the internet," not only will you want to wear some flea and tick medication, but you will also need to react to what you have just read, seen, or witnessed.  Whether it's a blog post, a youtube video, or a comment thread, you NEED to have cat reaction GIFs handy for your engaging replies and clever retorts.

Having cute, funny, and excited cats in a collection of GIFs is any must-have for the web wanderer.
Here's 24 GIFs of cats excited and felines having fun and going crazy.

Are you ready?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Creepy Rabies Case

Last year, I wrote about the latest rabies surveillance numbers in the U.S.  I had noted that the number of feline rabies cases had increased in 2010.  I don’t have the numbers from 2011, but I do have the latest report for 2012, and I’m happy to see that the number of cases of feline rabies (257 cases) is less than what was reported in 2010 (303 cases).  The rest of the report wasn’t very interesting, except for the last section, where they described a case of human rabies from February of this year. 

In February, a man was presented to an emergency room in Maryland for pain in his right hip.  He developed encephalitis and hypersalivation soon after admission, and died after 22 days of hospitalization.  Five days before he died, samples were obtained and submitted to the CDC, and rabies was confirmed.  The virus was analyzed, and was shown to be a variant associated with raccoons.  During the patient investigation, no known exposure to animals was elicited from the patient history.  However, the patient had received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor approximately 17 months before the onset of rabies.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Poezenboot Redux

I recently had the pleasure to take a trip to my favorite international city, Amsterdam.  I first visited this wonderful city in 1998.  Although I have traveled to most European countries, I hadn’t had a chance to return to Amsterdam until 2011.  At that time, I was fortunate to discover the Poezenboot, a cat shelter/sanctuary permanently docked in the Singel canal.  I visited the boat and met Ruth and Judith, two staff members who were super-nice and very informative.  They gave me a detailed tour and told me some of the history of the Poezenboot.  I wrote an article about the experience for Catnip magazine, and for this blog.  


On my recent trip to Amsterdam, I stayed with a friend whose new apartment just happens to be right around the corner from the Poezenboot.   Naturally, I went to visit.   On the day I went, the Poezenboot’s hours of operation were from 1:00 to 3:00.   I arrived at 12:30.  Sitting outside, on the sidewalk adjacent to the stairs leading down to the boat, were four people who I assumed were employees.  I recognized Ruth immediately.  Before I could re-introduce myself, Ruth said that they don’t open until 1:00.   “Yes”, she said, giving me a look that said, “Do I know you?” 


“I don’t know if you remember that about two years ago, I visited and wrote an article about the Poezenboot for a magazine…”


“Oh yes!  Of course!  You’re the doctor!” she exclaimed.  I told her that I was visiting Amsterdam and that I wanted to stop by and say hi and see the kitties again.  I asked if Judith still worked there.  “Yes, Judith is inside.  Come on in!”

Friday, July 19, 2013

Facts and Myths about Feline Spaying and Neutering


Spaying and neutering are probably the two most common surgical procedures performed in veterinary practice.  The primary purpose of these procedures is to take away the ability of cats to reproduce.We use the term “spay” to describe the surgery performed on a female cat.  The proper medical term for the surgery is an ovariohysterectomy – the removal of the ovaries and uterus.  “Neutering” is the term we use to describe the surgery performed on males.  The medical term is orchiectomy, the removal of the testicles.  Another synonym would be castration.  Frankly, neuter sounds less, um, aggressive.


Reducing feline overpopulation is not the only benefit to spaying and neutering.  If you spay a female cat before they ever come into heat, they will almost never develop mammary tumors in the future.  After one heat, spaying still significantly reduces the risk.  After two heats, there is no mammary tumor-sparing effect.  Spaying also reduces the risk of developing ovarian and uterine cancer.  Pyometra is a uterine infection that is potentially life-threatening.  Spaying a cat removes the uterus, thus eliminating the risk of pyometra development.  Neutering a male cat obviously eliminates the possibility of developing testicular cancer.  Dogs that aren’t neutered are at significantly increased risk of developing prostate disorders.  Male cats, for some reason, almost never develop prostate disease, regardless of whether they’re neutered or not. 


Despite the health benefits listed above, some cat owners still harbor fears about neutering and spaying. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Type B, or Not Type B - Henry Saves a Life

Last Tuesday, at our hospital, Manhattan Cat Specialists, we were scheduled to perform surgery on Galet, a 6 year old domestic longhair.  Galet is a challenging case.  She is FIV positive.

As most of you know, FIV is the feline equivalent of HIV.  Cats acquire this infection usually though the bite of another infected cat.  Initially, cats may show a little fever and possibly some swollen lymph nodes upon infection, but they rapidly recover, and then continue with life as if nothing has ever happened to them.  However, over the years, the T-cell count continues to drop, until there are too few T-cells to protect the cat against illness, and opportunistic illnesses and infections start to occur.

Galet has a mass at the back of her throat.  It is a soft mass, and at the moment, food is able to pass around the mass, enabling her to eat.  Our concern is that as the mass grows, it will obstruct her ability to swallow, and she will no longer be able to eat.  The mass looks to be removable surgically, so that was our plan.  We performed pre-surgical bloodwork and were surprised to discover that Galet had become significantly anemic since the last time we tested her blood.  Although she still had enough red blood cells to be safely anesthetized, she was on the cusp.  We needed to find the cause of her anemia and treat it, so that she would be a better candidate for surgery.

There are many causes of anemia, and to list them all and explain how to figure them out is probably beyond the scope of this blog post.  Because Galet is FIV positive, and FIV suppresses the immune system, an infectious cause should be high on our list.

There is an organism called Mycoplasma (formerly known as Hemobartonella) that is an infectious cause of anemia.  It is a red blood cell parasite.  When this parasite attaches itself to the red blood cells, it makes the cells look different.  The immune system’s job is to recognize what is “you” and what is “not you”.  When it sees something that is not you, it tries to destroy it.  We tested Galet for this organism, and lo and behold, she tested positive.  Fortunately, Mycoplasma is treatable, and treatment was begun with the antibiotic doxycycline (which kills the organism) and dexamethasone (an anti-inflammatory drug that tells the immune system to stop attacking these different-looking red blood cells.)  Galet was to come back in a few days for her surgery, on the presumption that her red blood cell count would be improved and she would be stable for surgery.

Tuesday morning, I received a call from Galet’s owners.  They wanted to postpone the surgery because Galet was much weaker.  She could barely stand or walk, and they felt that she wouldn’t make it through the anesthesia.  They wanted to give the antibiotics and other medicines a few more days to kick in, so that she’d be a stronger candidate for surgery.

I was worried.  A cat too weak to stand or walk is in trouble.  Certainly we should postpone the surgery, but I suggested that they bring her in anyway, for me to evaluate.  They agreed.   On examination, she was indeed very weak.  I looked at her gums and could see they were pale, confirming the anemia.  The last time we saw Galet, her hematocrit (the percentage of her blood that is comprised of red blood cells) was 17.  The normal value is between 29 and 48%.  Our quick in-house test confirmed my fears.  Galet’s red blood cell count was a shockingly low 9%!  This is barely enough red blood cells to keep a cat alive.  While waiting for her medications to kick in, Galet’s anemia worsened, to a life-threateningly low level.   If Galet was going to survive this, she needed a blood transfusion.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Can You Transfuse Dog Blood into a Cat?

Every now and then, a cat develops anemia that is so severe that a transfusion is required to save its life. Cats have distinct blood types, so it is important to make sure that a severely anemic cat receives the proper blood type. Blood types in cats are classified similar to those in people. There’s type A, type B, and type AB. There is no type O, however. Most cats are type A. Purebred cats have an increased probability of being type B. Type AB is exceedingly rare.

Cats have, pre-formed in their bloodstream, antibodies against the opposite blood type. So, cats with blood type A have antibodies against type B. Cats with blood type B have antibodies against blood type A. If you transfuse a type-A cat with a unit of type B blood, a transfusion reaction will occur and the cat will become sick. The antibodies against the type B blood will attack the transfused red blood cells, shortening their lifespan. It becomes worse if you give a type-B cat a unit of type A blood. Cats that are blood type B have lots of antibodies against type A blood. The transfusion reaction is immediate and severe, and sometimes fatal.

So, what would happen if you were to give a cat a unit of dog blood?

Monday, June 3, 2013

5 Kittens Available for Adoption at Manhattan Cat Specialists - June 1, 2013

Manhattan Cat Specialists 
230 West 76th Street
New York, NY 10023
212.721.2287
mcs@manhattancats.com




Veterinary House Calls for your Cat in New York City with Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists

Manhattan Cat Specialists Now Offers House Calls and In-Home Veterinary Services!

Dr. Arnold Plotnick Feline Veterinary House Calls for Cats in Manhattan, New York City
Dr. Arnold Plotnick, a veterinarian & feline expert for over 30 years, has been examining cats at his Upper West Side practice, Manhattan Cat Specialists, for a decade.   Nearly every day, he hears that a client or cat owner in New York City wants Dr. Plotnick's expert care for their cats yet they cannot make it to our cat hospital.  Now, Dr. Plotnick is bringing the services of Manhattan Cat Specialists to homes in New York City.

There are many reasons why house calls are requested:

* Some cats get so nervous on the trip to the vet that they urinate, defecate, or vomit (or all three!) in their carrier on the way to (or from) the office.

* Cats who are normally angels at home turn into devils once they enter the veterinary office.

* Some cats, with their sixth sense, know that a veterinary visit is imminent, and they hide under the bed or the couch, making their capture and transport to the office an ordeal for the client.

* Many of our clients have multiple cats, and bringing two, or three, or five (or seven, or sixteen) cats to the office becomes a logistical nightmare.

* As our feline population ages, our clientele are aging right along with them, and some of our elderly clients find it increasingly difficult to bring their cat to the office.

* Many owners would like their terminally ill cats to be euthanized in their own home when the time comes.

For these reasons, Manhattan Cat Specialists has decided to now provide house calls and in-home veterinary services.  Initially, house calls will be limited to Thursdays, in Manhattan only, however, this may change in the future, depending on the demand.

If you elect to schedule a house call, Dr. Plotnick and Gina Manes (veterinary technician / animal behavior) will come to your home with the necessary equipment and supplies to give your cat the same kind of experience that he or she gets in the exam room.  This includes a complete physical examination, blood and urine collection for lab analysis if necessary, vaccinations, microchipping, feline leukemia and FIV testing, blood typing, subcutaneous fluid administration, ear cleaning, claw trimming, blood pressure measurement, application of Soft Paws, and many other procedures.  And of course, when the time is appropriate, euthanasia can be performed in a gentle, compassionate manner at home, and then take care of the cremation arrangements for you.

Dr. Arnold Plotnick Manhattan Cat Specialist Feline House Calls in New York CityOf course, some procedures cannot be performed in the home, for example, x-rays and surgery.  After the examination, if it is determined that your cat needs these or other advanced diagnostic procedures, or needs to be admitted to our hospital, transporting your cat to our hospital for further treatment would be arranged. Life threatening emergencies cannot wait, and should not be scheduled for house calls.  Cats who are having difficulty breathing, are having seizures, are unconscious, or are bleeding uncontrollably should be brought to our practice immediately, or to an emergency hospital if it is after hours.



Dr. Plotnick strives to provide expert care to all felines so if you and your furry companion could not make it to see Dr. Plotnick at his veterinary practice, he will come to you.  To schedule an appointment, call 212-721-2287 or email mcs@manhattancats.com.

Dr. Arnold Plotnick | Cat Veterinarian House Calls in New York City
Manhattan's Cat Expert Dr. Arnold Plotnick and Veterinary Technician Gina head off to a Feline House Call in New York City.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Preventing Cats from Chewing Electrical Cords


Although cats are generally more discreet about what they put in their mouths compared to dogs, some cats have a penchant for chewingunusual objects.  One thing both dogs and cats often chew on are electrical cords.  This can be a hazard for two reasons.  First, it can be a danger to your cat, because of potential electrical burns.  Second, it can be a danger to your home, as an exposed wire can be a fire hazard. 

Cats that chew through electrical cords often experience burns on their lips and/or tongue.  More serious problems can arise, like seizures, respiratory difficulty, and even cardiac arrest. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hill's y/d for Feline Hyperthyroidism - Managing Hyperthyroidism in Cats with Diet


Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats.  It is mainly seen in elderly cats, usually over 10 years of age.  It occurs when the thyroid gland in the neck starts producing too much thyroid hormone.  This causes cats’ metabolism to increase, and cats will start burning calories like crazy, causing them to lose weight.  They try to compensate by eating more food, but they usually cannot keep up, and cats will lose weight despite having an excellent (often ravenous) appetite.   Other clinical signs are possible, such as excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness or hyperactivity, and excessive vocalization at night.

(See: Hyperthyroidism in Cats - The Fact Sheet)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Power of Words in Veterinary Medicine - The Unedited Version

The Power of Words in Veterinary Medicine (The Unedited Version)

A cancer diagnosis had become as common as a urinary tract infection. I had forgotten the impact of a poor prognosis.

 

In our celebrity-driven, reality TV-obsessed world, it’s become pretty apparent that in the year 2012, the classic objects of desire – money, fame, and power – remain as coveted as ever.  Although we veterinarians tend to live in our own little bubble, by no means are we immune to the ways of the real world.  Speaking strictly for myself, I have no desperate desire for fame. My small but devoted cadre of followers of my clinic’s Facebook page and my personal blog is more than sufficient to make me feel recognized.  As for wealth, I certainly wouldn’t mind a little more of it, but I do own my own practice and we’re doing pretty well, and given the economic woes that many of my clients have experienced these past few years, I consider myself fortunate to have a steady job and a nice paycheck and there’s no justification for me to whine about finances. 

It’s the “power” part of the equation that I find myself dwelling on instead.   Fame and wealth may seem elusive, but as a veterinarian, I have more power than I have ever dreamed of.  I suppose if I were to broach the topic of power to a group of veterinarians, most would suspect I was referring to the power one might acquire when advancing from an associate position to becoming a partner or perhaps even a practice owner, attaining the power to control one’s own life a little better, i.e. less worrying about job security, fleeting benefits, non-compete clauses, or sudden changes in schedule.   However, this is not the type of power that’s been occupying my thoughts.  I’m referring to the power we have, as veterinarians, to completely ravage the lives of others with a simple sentence or two. 

Dr. Arnold Plotnick joins the Petocracy Team of Animal Health Experts

Get Free Answers from Resident Experts Like Dr. Arnold Plotnick on Petocracy.com

There’s no substitute for the hands-on care of a local veterinarian, but sometimes you just need to ask a simple question about a worrisome symptom or issue.

At petocracy.com, they have assembled a team of pet experts that includes licensed veterinarians, clinical specialists, and certified professionals in various pet-related fields. The team is standing by to provide answers to your specific pet health questions, for free.

Dr. Arnold Plotnick is the resident cat health expert at Petocracy -- After you have signed up to the site, connect with him here: http://petocracy.com/Community/Profile/aplotnick

In addition to the resident experts, petocracy.com features hundreds of articles, videos and conversations. All content is curated, meaning that real people are reviewing information for accuracy and relevancy to the interests of the pet owners community.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Letting Your Cat Outdoors Can Be Dangerous


Letting Your Cat Outdoors Can Be Dangerous


As a feline practitioner and advice columnist, I receive many letters from concerned cat owners.   I received a letter a while back from an owner whose cat used to live indoors and outdoors.  He would essentially come and go as he pleased, through the cat door in their kitchen.  Most of his time was spent outdoors, in the owner’s backyard.  Everything was fine.  A new job opportunity has resulted in the owner moving to a new home.  The street out front has much more traffic, and the backyard is considerably smaller.  The owner is very concerned that if he lets the cat outdoors, the cat may get lost, or maybe get injured.  The cat, however, is miserable being cooped up inside all day.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Love to FleaCures.com

We would like to send a meow-out and paws-up to our informative friends at Fleacures.com.  Recently, the website had a little question and answer with Dr. Plotnick about the joys of being a cat blogger.

Fleacures.com is an excellent source of information for all things feline versus flea.  They get very specific on why you need to protect your furry friends, how to protect, what to do if there's an infestation, and more.

Check out the mini-interview, and their website FleaCures.com

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex (EGC) in Cats - Part 2


So, Lilly came back two weeks later.  Check it out!  The owner reported that the long-acting steroid injection seemed to work immediately, and the lip ulcer started getting smaller.  The foot responded pretty well, too, she said, with the lateral lesion resolving, and the larger medial lesion shrinking noticeably.  As you can see, the erosion on the upper lip is about 75% improved:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Top 8 Signs that you Need to take your Cat to the Veterinarian Immediately


Would you know a cat emergency if you saw one?  I discussed feline first aid for cats and kittens (what to do in a cat emergency), but now I want to point out signs that should cause the pet owner to say, "This is a cat emergency! I need to get my cat to the veterinarian immediately."

It’s amazing the variations that I’ve seen amongst my clients in terms of how often they bring their cat to the veterinarian. I have some clients who bring their cat in if they hear one sneeze, or find one puddle of vomit. I’ve had others who hold off on bringing their kitty to the clinic until the cat is on death’s doorstep. (Fortunately, my current clients never wait that long. However, years ago when I used to practice on cats and dogs, it was a different story.)

I personally believe that cats should be examined by a veterinarian a minimum of twice a year. In adult cats, six months is the equivalent of about two years in human years. A lot can happen to a cat in six months. If not every six months, then certainly at least once a year.

There are scenarios, however, when a cat should be seen RIGHT AWAY. I’m sure there are some people who would perhaps add a few other signs to my list, however, I tried to narrow the list down to a realistic number of signs without getting too carried away.  Here are the top 8 signs that you need to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Removed a Pair of Bladder Stones from a Cat

Ouch! How'd ya like to have these things bouncing around in you bladder?


Bladder Stones removed from a cat
Kitty is doing fine after surgery.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex (EGC) in Cats - Part 1

Recently, I saw a pretty dramatic case.   A feline patient came in kind of looking like those people in that old Twilight Zone episode.  You know the one:

Beauty is in the eye of the ulcer

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kosher Cat Food: Can Cats and Their Owners Keep Kosher during Passover?


Kosher Cat Food.  Can cats keep kosher during Passover?  Can kosher cat owners keep cat food in the house?  Can we pass over the passover rules for cats? Oy Meow!


A friend of mine who lives in Atlanta, Richie, wrote to me the other day, telling me that in his never-ending search for  foods that his finicky cat Pinhead will eat consistently, he spotted an interesting designation on one of the cans’ label:  Endorsed by the cRc, Kosher for Animal Consumption.

I myself had never seen or heard of food that was supposedly kosher for cats.  I have heard of vegetarian cat owners trying to find vegetarian cat foods (which is impossible, as cats are true carnivores and cannot subsist on a vegetarian diet.  And don’t even think about vegan diets for cats), but never a kosher kitty diet.  Fortunately, Richie and I have a mutual friend, Doug, who lives in Israel and is orthodox in everything (except his love for punk music).  Doug shed some light on the topic:

The cRc is the Chicago Rabbinical Council, a well-known and respected rabbinic organization operating in the Chicago Metro area.

There is absolutely zero requirement within Jewish law for animals to eat "kosher" at any time during the year.

During Passover, Jews are not only required not eat leaven products, but they cannot even own them.  Not owning leavening, by the way, even extends to the food you keep on hand to feed your pets.

Here’s where it gets crazy:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Arnie and Brad - Three Years Later


It’s hard to believe, but three years ago I wrote a blog post about my “lil’ bro’” Brad and I reconnecting after ten years.  If you go back to that post, you can read the story of how he and I met back in Baltimore when he was just a little kid, and how, after being out of touch for ten years, we reconnected.  Not only did we rekindle our friendship, I decided to hire him!

I figured it was time for an update.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Relationship Between Coat Color and Personality in Cats

Although most of us cat lovers will tell you that it’s a cat’s personality that matters most, many of us will admit that we find ourselves drawn to a cat’s particular coat color.  At my cat hospital, my technician Hiromi is drawn to orange boys.  I tend to go for the torties.  My technician Gina favors black cats.  A close friend of mine, Arden Moore (the famous writer and pet educator) feels that there is certain personality traits are tied to coat color in cats.  Only a few studies have been done, however, that explore the potential link between coat color and cat personality, and these have shown mixed results.  One study from 1995 suggested that orange male cats may have difficulties in “tolerating the proximity of other males”.   A study (that was never published) on the reactions to novel situations showed that orange and cream colored kittens reacted more aggressively than other colors of kittens when held by an unknown  human.  A more recent study (in 2010) looked at cats of certain coat colors (black, orange, brown, and tortie) and compared them to cats of the same coat color but with white patches (i.e. black and white, orange and white, brown and white, and calico) in terms of how the cats reacted to novel situations and handling by a stranger.  No significant differences were found between any of the coat color groups.

No significance. Good.

So, studies of actual personality differences based on coat color are decidedly mixed.  But what about people’s perceptions of cats of a certain color?   Whether studies show differences or not, people definitely do associate personality and color.  It’s not just coincidence that black and brown cats are the less likely to be adopted from shelters compared to other colors.  Studies have shown that the color of a cat plays a significant role as a basis for adopting a cat, however, the cat’s personality takes on the greater role when it comes to whether or not to keep the cat in the home once it’s been adopted.

Exactly how are certain colored cats perceived by people?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Manhattan Cat Specialists - Ten Year Anniversary


It all started in a 5000-watt radio station in Fresno, California…

Actually, it all started exactly ten years ago.  On January 2, 2003, Manhattan Cat Specialists opened its doors to the public.


It’s truly hard to believe that a decade has passed. Our story, in a nutshell:

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