Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Year in Review

It’s hard to believe that I’m already writing my end-of-the-year blog post. Every year seems like time has just whizzed by, but 2014 really zoomed by exceptionally fast.

I made a concerted effort to read more books in 2014 than I did in 2013, and it worked.  This year, I read 30 books!  I gave each one my personal star rating, from 1 to 5, with five stars being the highest.  Rather than list them in the order that I read them, I’ll list them from best rating to worst.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reader Question: Treatment for Low-Grade Intestinal Lymphoma

Dear Dr. Plotnick,

My 12-year-old cat Molly has just been diagnosed with small-cell intestinal lymphoma, following a surgical biopsy.  What can I expect in terms of treatment and prognosis? Thank you very much.

Susan M. S.

Dear Susan,

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reader Question: Broken Paw and Surgery Recovery

Dear Dr. Plotnick,

My cat broke her paw and she had surgery within 24 hours of it happening. She is recovering (surgery was a week ago today) and she seems to be getting back to herself a little more every day.  She is eating, drinking and cuddling and resting most importantly.  Can you please let me know when a cat has surgery on her paw wrist, uses the splint from 2 – 3 weeks and does the proper rest for 8 – 10 weeks - are the chances good for a full recovery? I am very concerned for her and want her to be ok – I am of course just very worried about her well-being. What do you think?


Dear Fiona,

Monday, December 8, 2014

Feline Asthma

Feline Asthma

My first appointment of the morning was to see Gypsy, a 5 year old neutered male Siamese owned by Gail Harstein.  The chief complaint written in the appointment book was the vaguely worded “hairball problem”.  In the exam room, I asked Gail to elaborate.

“He’s been trying to cough up a hairball for weeks”, said Gail, “but nothing comes up.”  As a feline practitioner, I hear the mistakenly used phrase “coughing up a hairball” at least once a week.  Hairballs live in the stomach.  Cats vomit hairballs.  Vomiting is associated with the gastrointestinal system.  Coughing is derived from the lungs; it is associated with the respiratory system.  When I hear the phrase “coughing up a hairball”, further questioning is necessary to determine whether the cat is vomiting or coughing.   Gail described what she was seeing.  “He hunkers down, extends his neck, and makes a raspy noise a few times.  After about a minute, he’s done, and he trots off on his merry way”, she said.  This was a classic description of a coughing cat.  Any ambiguity was further dispelled when Gail followed with, “Here, I took a video.”  In this age of smartphones, anything can be recorded instantly, and Gail’s short video was definitive: ten seconds of Gypsy coughing his head off.  I told Gail that there are several potential causes for coughing, but in a young Siamese cat, feline asthma is at the top of the list.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reader Question: How Contagious is Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)?

Mona Lisa, a sweet rescue kitten with FeLV.
Dear Dr. Plotnick, 
Originally published in Cat Fancy Magazine, October 2014

I recently took in a very sweet feral kitty and discovered that she tested positive for feline leukemia upon a blood test in March. I was told that if she retests negative, she is free and clear.  Does that mean she will no longer be able to transmit the disease to the healthy cat that is already living with me? I have not been able to find any information to confirm what I have been told.

Thank you so much,
Diane B.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Very Treatable Ailment - Hyperthyroidism in Cats

A Very Treatable Ailment - Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Although its cause is a mystery, most cats diagnosed with hyperthyroidism have an excellent prognosis. 

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM. 
Published in Cat Fancy, September 2014

When Mie S. brought her 15-year-old cat, Cookie, to my cats-only veterinary hospital, she was well aware that he had lost a substantial amount of weight. However, she was shocked when I announced the current reading on the scale. “Wow! Eight and a quarter pounds?” she exclaimed. “He used to weigh 16 pounds!” Knowing that the most common disorders that result in weight loss in geriatric cats are diabetes, hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease (CKD), I was already formulating my questions for her as I carried him back from the scale to the exam table.

Was he drinking a lot of water and urinating excessively? Yes, Mie said, he was. I wasn’t surprised, as all three of the illnesses mentioned above can present with excessive thirst and urination. How about his appetite? “Ravenous,” she said. Cats with CKD tend to have a decreased appetite, so kidney dysfunction moved a notch lower on my list. Cats with diabetes and hyperthyroidism tend to have good appetites. Not just good, though. Exceptionally good, like Cookie’s. While diabetes can occur in almost any age of cat, it classically hits cats in middle age, around 8 or 9 years old. Hyperthyroidism, however, is a geriatric cat disease, tending to affect cats around 13 or older. With Cookie being 15 years old, my mental list had hyperthyroidism first, diabetes second and kidney disease third.

Typically, you cannot feel the thyroid gland in a normal cat’s neck during a physical examination. In cats with hyperthyroidism, however, the gland enlarges and begins to drift downward on the neck. I carefully felt the groove between Cookie’s trachea and the jugular vein, and as I got a little lower … presto! I could easily feel an enlarged thyroid gland. Looks like Cookie read the textbook.

What Is T4?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Caring Words from Clients

Dear Dr. Plotnick and Gina,

I just want to say thank you so much to Dr. Plotnick and to Gina for coming to visit my cats Sherlock and Bartlett yesterday for a home exam. Even though they were terrified, my cats definitely were better off seeing a vet in their home than going outside into the scary world of Manhattan.
I was especially touched that while trying to calm my cat Sherlock, Gina gave him a kiss on his head. It really helped calm him down, because he actually loves getting kisses. I also was very pleased and relieved with the gentle way that Gina and Dr. Plotnick dealt with Bartlett's spiderman attempts to run off the table. 

I was also surprised that Dr. Plotnick really did call me the next morning with the blood test results for both cats. With human health care, you certainly don't get results so soon or have a doctor call when they say they will.

I was very relieved to hear that both cats are in excellent condition, and amused that somehow their blood test figures were remarkably close to each other. I have wondered if it is possible for cats to have fraternal or identical twins, and if my cats are an example of this? They have distinct personalities but are also very alike. 

Again, thank you so much for the excellent care and kind and gentle way that my cats were treated. I will be sure to request another home visit next year for their next exam!

Heidi, Bartlett, and Sherlock

INFO: Feline Veterinary House Calls with Dr. Plotnick

Friday, October 3, 2014

Photog Man Do in Puerto Vallarta

We had just gotten back from a ten day vacation to Morocco, so this seemed a little indulgent, but Mexico is inexpensive, and we hadn’t been to the beach in years.

After my Morocco trip and before this Mexico trip, I did take one more photography class, and the added instruction did make a difference.  So this blog post is more about photography than cats.

We arrived in Puerto Vallarta, and sadly, the Weather Channel was right about the gloom. I knew we would have three full days in Puerto Vallarta.

We headed into town to check things out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Unique Keepsake Idea for your Passed Feline Companion

Wow! What a unique, creative keepsake idea for your lost, loved companion.

One of our clients commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of her cat using her cat's own ashes.

Thank you for the kind words Laura and Lee

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Double Whammy: When Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Hyperthyroidism Occur Together

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common cause of illness in cats, especially in older cats, and the incidence is increasing.  In 1990, for every 1000 cats admitted to veterinary teaching hospitals, there were 45 cases of CKD.  In 2000, the number increased to 96 cases per 1000 admissions.  In my feline specialty practice, CKD remains the most common illness we encounter, and the most common reason for euthanasia.  

Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats.  It is mainly a disease of elderly cats, with cats typically being around 13 or 14  years of age at the time of diagnosis.  Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland, located in the neck, secretes an excessive amount of thyroxine, the main thyroid hormone in cats.  (Thyroxine is commonly abbreviated as T4.)  Untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure and dangerous high blood pressure.

CKD is incurable.  With the exception of a kidney transplant, it is difficult or impossible to improve kidney function in cats with CKD.  The focus of treatment is to delay the progression of the disease, improve the cat's quality of life, and extend a cat's survival time.  This is usually achieved through a variety of dietary and drug interventions.    There are many treatment options for hyperthyroidism. In fact, depending on the treatment option, hyperthyroidism may be curable.  

Because both diseases are primarily found in older cats, it is not uncommon for both disorders to be present in a cat simultaneously.  In fact, most published reports indicate that about 10% of hyperthyroid cats have concurrent CKD at the time of diagnosis.  While the treatment of hyperthyroidism is fairly straightforward, and the methods for controlling CKD are well-established, treatment of thyroid disease in cats with concurrent CKD must be undertaken with caution.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 10 – Our Last Day in Morocco

Day 10 –  Our Last Day in Morocco (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8-1 Day 8-2 Day 9)

Hard to believe, but our last day in Morocco is upon us.  Today’s agenda is to explore as much of Tangier in one day as we can, and then head back home to our own cats, who we miss a lot. 

We started the day at the Gran Café de Paris.  With its tufted brown leather seats impeccable service, and walls covered with fading photos, you feel like you’re back in the ‘50s here.

This is a famous café.  Burroughs wrote here, and parts of The Bourne Ultimatum were filmed here.  The outdoor seats are a popular gathering spot to watch the paseo (the evening stroll that everyone takes) on the boulevard.  We sat outside and had a nice breakfast.

Across the street, just outside the French embassy, two kittens were playing non-stop, and they provided a good half hour of breakfast entertainment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 9 – Train Trip to Tangier

Day 9 – Train Trip to Tangier  (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8-1 Day 8-2)

I’ve always wanted to visit Tangier.  The city is at the meeting point of two continents and two seas, and it defies comparison with any other city in Morocco.  For the first half of the 20th century, Tangier was an international city, with its own laws and its own administration.  It attracted a lot of writers, including Paul Bowles, the American novelist whose “The Sheltering Sky” is arguably considered the best travel novel ever written.  (After visiting the city, I read another book of his, “Let it Come Down”, which is set in Tangier, and which I really loved.)  William S. Burroughs spent much of the 1950s in Tangier, which he referred to as “Interzone” in his books.  He wrote Naked Lunch while living in Tangier.  Tangier was also the world’s first and most famous gay resort, favored by people like Joe Orton and Tennessee Williams. 

The city’s tourism future wasn’t looking too rosy for a while, though. Over the years, the city gained a reputation as a place to avoid, due to lots of sleazy characters who liked to prey on tourists.  The new king, King Mohammed VI, however, is a cool guy, and he promoted a bunch of renovation and building projects, including a new marina and remodeled port that aims to complete with some of the better known holiday ports along the Mediterranean. 

Day tripping Spaniards are a big part of the tourist market, as Tangier is just across the Strait of Gibraltar.  Other first time visitors, however, might be in for a rude awakening, as mobs of faux guides and bona fide hustlers greet the arriving ferries and immediately start figuring out how to separate these tourists from their money.  I had done my reading, though, and I was prepared.

We left Fez early in the morning and caught the 10:30 train to Tangier.  Again, we had a first class ticket, and we had the travel compartment almost entirely to ourselves.  Before we knew it, it was 2:55 p.m. and we had arrived in Tangier.  The train station is located two miles west of town.  We grabbed a cab and were soon at the famous El Minzah Hotel.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Take Your Cat To The Veterinarian Day - August 22nd, 2014!

Friday August 22nd, 2014 is Take Your Cat To The Veterinarian Day!

Might I suggest Manhattan Cat Specialists if you are in New York City.  212-721-2287 for an appointment.

Did you know that approximately 10% of pets presented to veterinary clinics for annual check-ups have some underlying disease or abnormality? Most of these pets appear normal on their physical examination, and therefore any abnormalities go undetected without a wellness health screen. That's why I recommend a physical examination for your feline twice a year for life.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 8, Part 2 - The Donkeys of Fes Need You!

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 8, Part 2 - The Donkeys of Fes Need You! (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8-1)

After visiting the Royal Granaries in Meknes, we decided to skip the medina in Meknes.  It was a tough decision, but we had hired our driver, Naji, just for the day, and we had to decide what to do:  explore the souks and food stalls in the Meknes medina, or visit the American Fondouk, a veterinary hospital just outside the Fes medina.  For me, this was an easy decision.  I’m a veterinarian, and I was struck by the number of stray cats in the cities we visited, and how so many of them are in ill health.  I was also very aware of the number of mules and donkeys in the Marrakech and Fes, and was anxious to learn about their veterinary care as well.   Naji wasn’t sure of their operating hours, but we were willing to risk it.

The drive back to Fes was about 90 minutes.  As we got close, Naji pointed out a white compound with tall green hedges all around it.  “There it is”, he said.  I spotted the American flag alongside the Moroccan flag.

Obscured by the hedges was the sign identifying the building.

As we approached the imposing door, we saw the posted hours.  Open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  I looked at my watch.  4:30.  Sigh.  Naji could see the disappointment in my face.  So he tried something radical.  He knocked on the door.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Signed Copies of The Original Cat Fancy Cat Bible Available at Manhattan Cat Specialists

The Original CatFancy Cat Bible

The Definitive Source for All Things Cat

by Sandy Robins with Arnold Plotnick, MS, DVM, ACVIM, Lorraine Shelton, and Sarah Hartwell 

Pick up a signed copy of The Original Cat Fancy Cat Bible at Manhattan Cat Specialists.

Or you can purchase an unsigned copy on Amazon:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dr. Plotnick's Moroccan Cat Adventure - Day 8, Part 1 - Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis

Day 8, Part 1 - Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis (Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7)

Fes’s location allows for some neat day trips.  A popular destination from Fes is the city of Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis.  Mark and I have always enjoyed Greek and Roman ruins, and the ruins and Volubilis were said to be impressive.  So much so that the site was a key location for Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ. 

I made reservations in advance with a tour company, and on the morning of our third day in Fes, we were met at our riad by Naji Redouane, our driver. The van he was driving was equipped to hold six passengers, and I knew that there was a possibility that we’d be touring with a small group, but as luck would have it, Mark and I were his only passengers and we had the van to ourselves. 

The drive to Volubilis was about 90 minutes. Most of the drive was like the drive from Marrakech to Essaouira: brown, dry, and boring, however, as we got closer, a spectacular vista appeared on our right.

Naji, having made the drive countless times, knew it was coming up, and stopped for us to stretch our legs and take in the view.

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!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dr. Arnold Plotnick is now officially a book author - "The Original CatFancy Cat Bible"

Hot off the presses! It's...
The Original CatFancy Cat Bible
The Definitive Source for All Things Cat
by Sandy Robins with Arnold Plotnick, MS, DVM, ACVIM, Lorraine Shelton, and Sarah Hartwell

That's right, Dr. Plotnick co-authored his first book.  We are very ecstatic here at Manhattan Cat Specialists.

We will also sell copies in the cat hospital.  If you purchase one in person or bring a copy in, you'll get it autographed.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"The Devil Wears Cat Hair" - Post on Veterinarians Behaving Badly

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld/Harper's Bazaar

Having served over 30 years to the veterinarian world and by devoting my life to cats, I have had a fair share of experiences.  Nowadays, if an instance comes up, I've probably had to deal with a similar situation in the past, which in turn, reminds me how to deal with the curve-ball current situation.

I love treating cats, and I love my clients.  They’re cat people, and cat people are cooler than the rest of the population. Every now and then, however, I’m thrown a curveball, and I’m faced with a client who is clearly not behaving the way one would ever expect.  After 26 years of practice, you start to collect these stories in your head. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Photog Man Do - Cat Doctor Takes on Photography

Traveling the world is one of my great pleasures in life.  It expands my horizons and it’s good to get out of my comfort zone now and then.   Like most travelers, I like to document my trip by taking lots of photographs.  As the years go by and technology marches on, the cameras that I’ve taken with me have become obsolete.  Well, not obsolete, per se. They just pale in comparison to some of the newer models.  Lately, I’ve resorted to using my iPhone, as the megapixels and image quality have increased considerably with every new model that comes out.  Plus they’re light and convenient, and barely take up any room in one’s pocket. 

I recently decided to get into digital photography.  I figure with the amount of traveling I do, and the cat pictures that I like to take, and this blog, I should probably bump up the quality a notch.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What exactly is the FVRCP Vaccine? - Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia

What exactly is the Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP) vaccine?

Cat owners bring their cats to the veterinarian regularly for vaccinations.   We divide vaccinations into “core” and “non-core”.  Core vaccines are those that EVERY cat should receive.  Non-core vaccines are given to cats based on that cat’s particular lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, the vaccine most pet owners are familiar with is the rabies vaccine, as it is required by law in most jurisdictions. Obviously, it’s a “core” vaccine.  The other core vaccine for cats is the FVRCP vaccine.  But do most cat owners really know what the letters in FVRCP really stand for, and what the vaccine really protects against?  If not, read on…

Friday, January 31, 2014

When to Vaccinate, Deworm, Spay, Neuter, Blood-Type, and Microchip Your Kitten

You have just become the new proud parent of the wonderful furry creature known as "a kitten".  

Let me make this perfectly clear, do not do what your instincts might be telling you to do.  This is not the first step to kitten parenting:

Below is the kitten feline protocol to guide you through the important first steps of parenting a kitten.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rat Man Do

I'm a cat veterinarian, and this blog is supposed to be primarily about cats. But I'm also a native New Yorker, and today I filmed a quintessential New York moment on my iPhone that involved a different four-legged creature, as you will soon see.

I live in Chelsea. I take the number 1 train to work. Every morning, I go through the turnstile on the West 28th Street station, and take my place on the platform. Like most New York subway riders, I obsess over where to stand on the platform so that the train drops me off right at the stairs on the platform of my destination station. My place on the 28th Street station is at the far north end, so I can get in the first car. Not just the first car, but the first car, fourth set of doors.

At about the level of the fifth car is a green dumpster.

Several mornings, while waiting on the subway platform, I've been startled by the site of a black rat zooming at high speed along the base of the platform wall. The rat runs from beneath the dumpster, along the wall, to the end of the platform, and then down those steps to the subway tracks.  It’s a black rat.  Medium sized.  Can’t tell if it’s the same rat on those mornings, but I think it is.

One morning, I thought that it would be pretty neat to film the rat zooming along the wall, but with a camera that would be right down at the rat's eye level. I don't know why I thought this would be neat, but I did. With the advent of smartphones, this should be pretty easy, no?

I didn't expect there to be so many obstacles. The main obstacle was the presence of other commuters at my end of the platform. Many mornings, I'd get to the end of the platform, set down my iPhone, set the video camera, and patiently wait. Then I'd see up ahead another passenger heading up to my north end of the platform. Muttering curses under my breath, I'd go over and pick up the iPhone. I didn't want anyone spotting the phone. Reason 1: I didn't want them to take it. Reason 2: I didn't want them to know that I was filming. I don't know if they would realize what it was that I was trying to capture on film, but if they did realize it, I'm sure they would think I was crazy. Anyway, this was by far the major reason for not capturing the rodent on video.

The second obstacle was the absence of rat. The vast majority of mornings, he just didn't appear. A few mornings, I got to the level of the dumpster just to see him up ahead, halfway down the platform! Yes, a few infuriating mornings I missed him by, like, thirty seconds!

This went on for months.

But a January brings hope anew, and this morning felt different. I arrived at the turnstile just in time to see my train pulling away. Just missed it. Normally, I'd be silently fuming, but this morning, I saw it as an opportunity. The next train wasn't due for 7 minutes. Lots of time to catch a rat. As I passed the dumpster, I saw that the platform was wet from the melted snow above dripping down from the nasty ceiling. A wet platform seemed a more rat-friendly environment.

I went to the end of the platform, set down my camera, and waited. The minutes passed. Passengers went through the turnstile at the middle of the platform, but amazingly, none headed up to my north end. The clock ticked away. Train due in three minutes.  Train due in two minutes.  The LED light flashed. My train was a-comin'. An announcement blared that my train was approaching the station. Alas, another unsuccessful morning. And then…

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: My Year in Review

2013: My Year in Review

The year has finally come to a close. It was a busy  year for my cat hospital.  We're less than ten clients away from a pretty neat milestone:  5000 clients. We added two new employees to our hospital staff – Gill and Zoe.  We treated a million cats and had some very interesting cases.  This blog post, however, is going to skip all the veterinary stuff.  This is the end-of-the-year blog post where I talk about the fun things I managed to partake in. 

At the top of the list are the books I read.  I'm an avid reader, or at least I try to be.  Last year I read about 26 books.  This year, I read 24.  That averages to about 2 per month.  Not bad, really.  Here's what I read, with my little capsule reviews:

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