A few years ago, one of our cats had a urinary tract blockage. When that happened, the cat’s bladder became almost rock-hard. He was in pain.
Naturally, this came to our attention late on a Saturday evening. Our choices were to leave the cat in pain or head to the emergency vet. One x-ray, one emergency catheter, and 2 nights in the vet’s office later, we charged the $750 bill and brought the cat home. He lived about two more years and had to be on a special UT-friendly diet. He spent the next two years with poor bladder control and very little energy.
About the same time, I had a coworker with a cancer-ridden cat. Until that time, I had no idea that you could get chemotherapy for a cat. Between the chemo and the regular surgeries to remove tumors, they were dropping a few thousand dollars every few months.
Recently, a friend’s cat ate a ball of twine and narrowly avoided intestinal surgery that would have cost $2500. He was willing to pay instead of seeing his 8 year old cry. I figured a new kitten would soothe her hurt.
How much is too much to spend on an animal?
When our cat needed a trip to the fuzzy emergency room, we had no savings. I’m not sure how we were keeping our bills paid. $750 was a lot of money, but we didn’t hesitate. Afterward, we discussed it and decided that it wouldn’t happen again. When a pet needed that much care, it would be time to put it down.
We’ve currently got a 17 year old arthritic cat. I tried discussing its end-of-life options, but my wife looked at me like I was asking her to punt bunnies into a lake. I fear we’re going to be paying a lot to stretch out the end of the cat’s life.
Now, before anyone tells me that I hate animals, we have 5 cats, 3 kids, 2 gerbils, 2 pythons, and a dog. We are an animal-friendly house. Or we keep spares.
That said, it’s the natural order of things. People outlive their pets. When you buy a pet–with the exception of giant tortoises and some birds–some part of you knows you are going to outlive it. What’s the right amount to spend, trying to stretch out the most uncomfortable years of a pet? When does the financial burden outweigh the companionship? When do I go from cold-hearted jerk to financially-responsible pet-owner?
For the pet owners out there, how have you dealt with this? How much would you spend to keep your pets kicking?