New owners couldn't see Cat Clinic close for good

The Cat Clinic has returned to Eastside Costa Mesa.

After a brief closure and a slight name change — it used to be called the Cat Clinic of Orange County — the dedicated feline veterinary hospital and hotel at 1680 Tustin Ave. has reopened under new ownership.

Or, as the trio likes to say, it's "new old" ownership.

That's because all three of the women — Dr. Diane Steinberg and registered veterinary technicians Tracy Neurauter and Tracy Darling — used to work there before buying the place.

In Steinberg's case, she founded the clinic back in 1988 when it occupied a nearby space where Plums Cafe and Catering is today.

The trio took over the current two-story, 5,550-square-foot facility from its former owner, Dr. Kelly Wright, who bought it from Steinberg in 2007 but closed it in September because of financial difficulties. Wright has since relocated to work in the Bay Area.

The clinic reopened in early November.

Cats and their owners will be pleased to know that the facility still has its patient records and is largely the same as they remember it.

The Cat Clinic offers veterinary care, cat supplies and a boarding hotel wing with 50 spaces. Rates start at $23 a day.

And the little glass bubble that playful cats like to crawl into so they can peer out toward the airy lobby? That's still there too.

There are two big differences now, though, namely a new website, www.CatClinicVet.net, and new phone number, (949) 642-3494.

Steinberg, a board-certified feline veterinary specialist since 1995 who married into a veterinarian family, was semiretired before she took up the opportunity to return to the clinic she founded.

When Wright owned it, Steinberg worked there on a part-time basis. Later, she did house calls.

But when opportunity arose to buy the clinic, everything happened quickly, Steinberg explained.

"I didn't anticipate coming back," she said, "but I definitely didn't want us not to be a cat hospital anymore. We worked really hard to make it into a really nice place for cats. The idea of it not being that was enough to get us to say, 'Let's do it.'"

Neurauter first worked at the clinic in 1999 as a receptionist. She later became the office manager.

For some clients, seeing the Cat Clinic back in business "was the best news they heard all year," Neurauter said. "There's a need for this place in Costa Mesa, for sure."

Darling, who also has a veterinary technician specialty in small animal internal medicine, lives and works in Pennsylvania as a veterinary ICU nurse. For the Costa Mesa facility, she helps with things like writing blogs about feline care, maintaining the website and updating its social media accounts.

"We're back," Steinberg said, "and looking forward to seeing our old clients and meeting new ones."

Copyright © 2017, Daily Pilot
A version of this article appeared in print on December 04, 2015, in the Local section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Owners couldn't see Cat Clinic close for good - After briefly shutting down, the veterinary hospital reopens after being purchased by three former workers." — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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