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article imageOp-Ed: Cat-focused vet clinic under new ownership is surprise to patrons Special

By Jonathan Farrell     May 28, 2013 in Lifestyle
San Francisco - People can be very attached to their doctors and health care providers, traveling some distance or going out of their way to keep their physician. And, it seems this is so even for their pets.
Especially Cats Veterinary Hospital and Clinic on Taraval in San Francisco's Parkside District has a new owner and staff. This was a surprise to many pet-owners in the community.
Long-time Vets, Drs. Koral, Anne-Marie Benfatto and Ari Rozycki retired and the new owner Dr. Manprit Buttar and his staff of Drs. Holland and Carter have taken over the practice. When this reporter tried repeatedly to speak to Buttar, he would not respond to requests for interview. Only office staff members Ursula and Stan would verify that Especially Cats was sold to Buttar in June of 2012 and that previous owner Koral and her staff of Benfatto and Rozycki had retired.
This was a bit of a shock to several patrons who have been taking their cats to the well-established veterinary clinic for years. Established in 1983, for over 30 years, Especially Cats prided itself on its unique focus, "only cats." Cat lovers over the years praised the practice for its feline focused approach. Benfatto had mentioned in conversation to this reporter some years ago that ”having the focus only on cats makes my job as a vet much more efficient." She had been consulted for some information for an article about sweets, chocolate and pets.
"There is so much to learn in veterinary school," she said at that time. "All the various animals not just cats and dogs, is a lot." In Veterinary school, students are required to learn about farm animals, rodents, reptiles, and the list of things we had to learn was extensive." Benfatto mentioned that focusing just on cats allowed her to have more confidence. And, just when people think they know all there is to know about cats, they will surprise you with something new.
Oh and as for giving sweets to pets? That is not a good idea. "Cats actually, as Benfatto explained, don't really have a taste for sweets, whereas dogs will eat just about anything." "Cats are smarter about food and (potential) toxins than dogs," she said.
It was precisely because of this primary focus and attention to cats that cat owners flocked to Especially Cats. This is why some long-time patrons were surprised when Especially Cats was taken over by Buttar. It is not clear whether or not a notice was given or formal announcements were made. Only, it is obvious by some of the reviews posted on that long-time patrons are perplexed as to the change in ownership. Of the 136 reviews, eight expressed disappointment with the change in ownership.
One thing is certain reviewers’ note how much cats are adored at Especially Cats.
One reviewer/patron, Denise A, and others recall how much Drs. Benfatto and Rozycki loved cats. It was that love for cats that kept patrons returning year after year. Denise also claims that "Unfortunately, Dr. Rozycki has taken a year-long sabbatical to tend to animals in developing countries. Her post from this past August of 2012, noted that she was so pleased with Rozycki and Especially Cats she never took her cats to any other vet clinic in all the more than 20 years she (and her cats) had been a patron.
It is not clear why the former owner and staff retired and sold out so unexpectedly. Did Rozycki's departure for a sabbatical have something to do with selling the practice?
Rozycki has a blog and seems very happy in his travels as a animal vet overseas. Current owner Dr. Buttar would not respond. Office staff members Stan and Ursula would only confirm that practice was sold in June of 2012 and provided no other details. Yet several reviews on did note that prices/rates for service had increased.
From its new website, Especially Cats notes that cats are now the most popular pets, out-numbering dogs in the United States. The web site also says "we hope to lengthen and enhance the years that you can spend with your cat, by focusing on wellness care and preventative medicine through all life stages." (And this includes kitten and elderly cats too). Under its new ownership and staff, Especially Cats Veterinary Hospital is a full service cat clinic and wellness center. Especially Cats is comprised of a modern hospital, surgical unit, radiology department, an on-site laboratory with a complete veterinary pharmacy.
Located at 1339 Taraval Street, Especially Cats is open Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. For more information call 415) 681-5553, or visit the web site.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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