I was thinking of all of you yesterday when a new kitten arrived. Fresh off the plane from her “breeder” in the midwest, this little ragdoll was sneezy and sniffly and slightly miserable-looking. Nothing new, this version of animal abuse. Nothing we haven’t already talked about a zillion times before. ‘Tis the season and all that.

This time, however, I was thinking of the comment one of you made (please forgive my holiday-addled brain but I cannot recall whom or where) on the subject of sourcing pets from inappropriate places. You (generous commenter) said you have a policy: Once is enough. Any client who brings you an inhumanely sourced animal again gets no joy. You’ll refuse to work with them.

What a concept. It was on my mind while examining yesterday’s kitten because this rare specimen born of abusive husbandry practices happens to belong to a family who must think the fourth time’s the charm. 

Yes, four. First kitten is now middle-aged and his upper respiratory infection have never left. Since he arrived one holiday midway through the last decade he’s been chronically sniffly and sneezy. We’ve pulled multiple polyps from his pharynx. His hips are for s--- (that’s a medical term). He’s a poor-doer all around.

The next two? They came off their plane with a communal case of ringworm so severe it took two months and so many lym-sulfur dips I’m surprised they aren’t still yellow and stinking of rotten eggs. That was last year’s “mini-Persian” fiasco. 

So what is it that possesses people to do this? We could debate that issue ad nauseum (as we have before) but that’s not really the point of this post. The point is more to do with what would possess a veterinarian to prostitute themselves to those whose degree of recidivism rivals Michael Vick’s pre-jail antics (another issue we should probably not touch today). 

So if a veterinarian continues to service a client who [she believes] does bad deeds, whether because they fight their dogs, starve their pets or serially purchase internet kittens, should she deny them her services? 

I’m not exactly sure what I should do given that 1) I don’t own the hospital that employs me and 2) I don’t have more clients than I know what to do with. 

But I know what my 70 year-old family physician would do. She’d have sent them to hell by now. This is the woman who berated me mercilessly for my smoking habit, yelled at her patients when they refused to follow through with her recommendations and once (in my presence) went so far as to ask a patient not to come back until they acquired some “common sense.” “I’m too busy for patients like you!” So goes her tough love style. 

All talk of economics and job security aside, that kind of confrontation is just not my style. Much though I respect the ability to speak one’s mind, it’s not always appropriate in the context of a professional setting like mine. 

Which is why––armed with moral indignation and high on Dolittler comments––I took things a little too far in the face of all that snot-stained fur. Appropriating the words of great modern philosopher, I couldn’t help but offer an ill-received but oh-so-apropos, “Oops...you did it again.”