This is Dr. Marvin Moskowitz, a 10 year old Persian cat from California
who is not happy with the treatment he got in Florida.
The Crank’s brother, who lives in California, went to Florida recently, to try out living there for a while. He brought his cat with him.
They’re back home in California now, and neither the Crank’s brother nor the cat, whose name is Dr. Marvin Moscowitz, is likely to return to Florida any time soon.
One of the big reasons why has to do with a veterinary clinic in Boca Raton. The clinic, in addition to treating sick animals, also does animal grooming. Because Dr. Moscowitz is an indoor cat, his nails need clipping fairly regularly. In addition, Dr. Moscowitz needed a bath. So the Crank’s brother made a grooming appointment and brought in Dr. Moscowitz.
Next thing you know, the clinic was demanding to give Dr. Moscowitz a fecal exam.
“Why is that?” the Crank’s brother asked.
“He could have fecal worms. And if he leaves any worms in the tub, all the other cats we bathe will catch it,” the clinic’s front desk guardian explained.
That sounded odd. Not to mention that the explanation also raises questions about how thoroughly the clinic washes out its tub between cat baths.
“That’s ridiculous,” said the Crank’s brother. “Dr. Moscowitz has never been outdoors in his life, except in a carrying case. He’s an indoor cat.”
“This is Florida,” insisted the front desk guardian, ominously. “Anything can happen.”
Anything? Like what? Was she implying that a scouting party of fecal worms congregated at the curb at Miami Dade airport waiting for an easy mark? And that when the Crank’s brother and Dr. Moscowitz arrived from California, the worm scouting party noticed Dr. Moscowitz in his carrying case, and deliberately crawled in through the vents and jumped into Dr. Moscowitz’s behind while he and my brother waited for a car to pick them up?
Somehow, what the front desk guardian was saying didn't quite add up. But she stuck to her story. “This is Florida. Anything can happen.”
This argument went on for a while, but finally the Crank’s brother gave in and agreed to let Dr. Moscowitz have a fecal exam so that he could also get a bath and a manicure. He left the good doctor at the veterinarian for a few hours, and came back when he had been told to come back.
It turned out that Dr. Moscowitz hadn’t been bathed because he began to “bite and scratch,” according to the clinic’s own records. Hey, if somebody had just shoved a probe up your butt looking for fecal worms, you might bite and scratch too. Whether you’re a cat or not.
The Crank’s brother was presented with a bill not only for the manicure, but also for the fecal exam.
“Great,” said the Crank’s brother, “I’d like to see the fecal exam test results.”
“Oh, we won’t have the results until they come back from the lab tomorrow,” said the front desk guardian.
“Then the story you gave me about requiring the fecal exam to avoid infecting other cats wasn’t true,” said the Crank’s brother.
The front desk person simply repeated the amount due, including the amount for the fecal exam.
“I’ll pay you for the nail clipping. I’m not paying for a fecal exam that Dr. Moscowitz didn’t need and that was administered for a specious reason. Now give me my cat,” said the Crank’s brother.
“If you won’t pay the full amount, you’ll have to wait until the veterinary staff manager discusses this,” said the front desk guardian.
“Wait? How long?”
“Well, the manager is in a meeting about something else now. They’ll be finished in an hour or so.”
“Give me my cat right now or I’m calling the police,” said the Crank’s brother.
The threat of calling the cops evidently put the fear of God into the front desk guardian. She brought out Dr. Moscowitz. The Crank’s brother paid for the nail clipping , but not for somebody sticking a probe up the cat’s ass for an unnecessary — but revenue-generating — lab test.
They’re back in California now. And the Crank’s brother recently received a frosty e-mail from the clinic. Here’s the text with the name of the clinic redacted to help some lawyer in Florida avoid getting over-stimulated:
"[CLINIC NAME REDACTED] will not be able to offer you any future services. At [CLINIC NAME REDACTED], we strive to provide exceptional care and to act only in the best interest of our patients. In order to accomplish this goal, we make every effort to achieve a level of mutual trust, open communication, and respect with each one. After several failed attempts working with you and after discussions with staff members, we feel our relationship with you is not a good fit. [CLINIC NAME REDACTED] has elected to end all services with you effective immediately. Please do not call, email, text, or trespass at [CLINIC NAME REDACTED]. Attached to this email are Dr. Marvin medical records for you to consult a new veterinarian for continuation of care."
Dr. Marvin Moscowitz yawned when the letter was read to him, and then went off to his kitchen (in California) to lap some water from his bowl.
The medical records in question were, in fact, mostly copies of records from Dr. Moscowitz’s California veterinarian, so the operation manager in Boca who e-mailed them could have saved herself the trouble. The Crank’s brother had given the clinic copies of those records to begin with.
The fact that the clinic is conjuring up calls, e-mails, text or trespasses — tresspasses! — indicates that the fertile imagination of somebody at the clinic can be applied to a lot more than inventing reasons to subject a cat to a fecal exam.
Oh, and since this is a political blog, and this story would be incomplete without a political moral, here’s a political moral:
Government regulation exists to protect people — and sometimes even to protect cats — against the depredations of people out to do whatever it takes to move money out of your bank account and into their own. Evidently, the process of regulating veterinarians in Florida, if it exists at all, needs some work. But that’s just on a local level in one state.
When the Trump Administration starts nullifying regulations left and right, somebody’s going to suffer. You may unwittingly fall into the hands of payday lender loan sharks. You may find your air suddenly getting more polluted. You may find acres and acres of what was once pristine wilderness turning into an ugly industrial mining site.
And for all I know, before very long, you may go out for a haircut or a manicure and end up having someone shove a probe up your butt — and then billing you for it.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask Dr. Marvin Moskowitz.