Tuesday, June 18, 2013
What would you pay for this cat?
His name is Steve. He's an orange tabby. Sure, exceptionally affectionate and purrs up a storm, but really your typical tom cat. If I were to put him up on Ebay, or Kijiji - what do you think he'd go for? Any guesses? $100? $500? How about $1000? This cat must have freakin' gold in his faulty kidneys, because as of last night, Steve is worth $1232.38. One Thousand, Two Hundred, Thirty-Two dollars and 38 cents.
He's supposed to be dead. If we'd done what we'd said we were going to do, we'd have had the vet call our animal care proxy, and Steve would now be dead on account of the fact that he's past the $500 mark. Once it gets to $500 we're supposed to get the vet to call our friend Narda and she's supposed to say "Kill it," when we can't. (She's also our medical proxy in the event that someone has to pull the plug on us; with the proviso that she has to laugh maniacally and say "Revenge is mine!" after we've been declared dead.)
I know, I know, you don't want to put a monetary value on your love for a treasured pet... but for a cat we got FOR FREE... $1200 freaking dollars? Steve went in to the vet's on Thursday night - and by Friday when I thought to inquire as to the balance, we were at $800 and change. Which is why Narda didn't get a call 'cause it was already past the $500 mark. And now we're into increments.
"Okay, we'll do the x-rays to see if he has stones in his bladder, but if he has stones, we're not operating." (Suitably heartless gesture of fingers slicing across the jugular, with accompanying gurgling/choking noise).
"Okay, we'll let you 'relax' him so that you can express his bladder, but if you have to catheterize again, he's done." (Again with the heartless gesture.)
Treating a cat with a bladder infection is kind of like being a compulsive gambler or playing the stock market. If I play one more round, just one more round, if I make this one last investment, I'll make my money back, except you won't - what you get in the end might be a healthy cat. Or you might not. But now, after having poured so much money into the cat, if we stop treatment - we have literally just wasted all of that money.
We could still lose this sucker all on account of the fact that animals are poorly engineered and can't talk. They can't say "Ummmmm, excuse me? It's hurts when I pee." Cats are healthy, healthy, healthy... until they're NOT. Until they almost drop dead. That seems like a pretty big evolutionary flaw to me. You get this close to death from a bladder infection? What the hell is that?
So that means, as of today, Steve is worth about $3.37 a day over 365 days. And I think he's worth that. For the sheer joy that he gives me, when he demands to snuggle down under the blankets at bedtime and curls into the crook of my arm. Now, if that were to be $13.69 a day? Not so sure. We don't have that spare money just sitting around. The last time one of our cats got really sick, David had just received an inheritance. We couldn't say we couldn't afford to treat the cat, because at that time? We could.
Now? We need to re-roof our house - we're going to have to do that on a payment plan. I just spent my entire month's wages on possibly fixing a cat. I had to move money around from our already overly-extended credit line to make sure there was room on my Visa.
There are those who will think that I'm stupid for putting that kind of money into an animal. There are those who think I'm heartless for even contemplating having him put down, when just another $1000 or $2000 would ensure his health. I'm driven by guilt and finances and... love. LOVE. For this stupid cat who couldn't tell me before he was at death's door that it hurt when he peed.