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Author Topic: The sick cat quandary  (Read 1239 times)
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Gratch
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« on: March 18, 2011, 11:57:13 AM »

I have an awesome Siamese cat named Saba.  Saba is going on 14 next month, and over the last couple years, he's lost a significant amount of weight (gone from 16 lbs down to 6).  The vet had previously said it wasn't anything we should be overly concerned about as some cats tend to lose weight as they get older.  However, he has also started throwing up a lot, so the vet wanted to run a blood panel at his checkup last week.  It came back that he has a major thyroid issue that is causing him all kinds of problems.  Poor dude.  frown

So here were the choices the vet gave me:

1. Do a radiation treatment that is 95% effective.  However, it will cost us around $1,700.

OR

2.  Do nothing and basically let him waste away until he dies.

After my last sick cat's ordeal (a kidney failure issue that ended up costing us about $2K by the time it was all done...and he still died), I told Mrs Gratch that I was capping any vet expenses at $1,500.  Frankly, I don't even know where I'd find $1,700 right now, other than adding to my already significant credit card balance.  However, it seems like a very cruel fate to let Saba - who is completely healthy otherwise - simply continue to waste away until his liver gives out because I'm too cheap to pay for it.  My conscience is already screaming at me about that one.  I actually doubt the vet would agree to just put him to sleep since he's otherwise healthy.  Then again, he is nearly 14 years old, and that's a pretty good run for a cat.

I really torn on this...don't have a clue what I'm going to do.  Can't justify $1,700, but I feel like I'm basically murdering my fantastic pet if I don't...he deserves better than that.  Dammit.  frown
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 12:14:27 PM »

its a hard choice,especially if you are struggling

as he is at the moment healthy,can you not at least start to save up,perhaps?

At 14 years of age(next month) don't take the cats age into account to think that its the beginning of the end,the Guinness book of records is 38 years old for a cat(no matter what Guinness say in the link below),and i was actually reading last month that a cat is still alive at 39 and doing fine(but the Vet can only confirm that the cat is 'Very Old')..and my mum got two cats from the shelter who had been mistreated and they were they guessed at least 7 years old at the time and that was over 10 years ago


I hope all goes well whatever you decide anyhow
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 12:17:07 PM by metallicorphan » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 12:28:25 PM »

It's a really hard choice.  I don't know where you live but is it possible to shop around for the treatment?  Maybe in a city that's close by if you're in a smaller area?  Vets are like doctors where every one of them has a different price and a $1700 treatment may be a $1000 treatment an hour or two away.  Looking around on the web there are plenty of places advertising the average cost of thyroid surgery and radioactive iodine treatment at $900-1200.

http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/cat-hyper.htm
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 12:37:20 PM »

Quote
he's lost a significant amount of weight (gone from 16 lbs down to 6).

Two years ago, we lost a cat due to a thyroid issue with this exact same extreme weight loss (including vomiting). We dropped $1,200 onto credit cards to try to save him, and then still lost him.

He was a great cat. I miss him a lot icon_cry

Good luck with whatever you choose to do!
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 12:44:20 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 18, 2011, 11:57:13 AM

I have an awesome Siamese cat named Saba.  Saba is going on 14 next month, and over the last couple years, he's lost a significant amount of weight (gone from 16 lbs down to 6).  The vet had previously said it wasn't anything we should be overly concerned about as some cats tend to lose weight as they get older.  However, he has also started throwing up a lot, so the vet wanted to run a blood panel at his checkup last week.  It came back that he has a major thyroid issue that is causing him all kinds of problems.  Poor dude.  frown

So here were the choices the vet gave me:

1. Do a radiation treatment that is 95% effective.  However, it will cost us around $1,700.

OR

2.  Do nothing and basically let him waste away until he dies.

#2 is an outrageous thing for any vet to say, if he really did say that  icon_evil -- if he did, imho, get a 2nd opinion. If the vet's offended, tough for him/her. You should have the option for a prescription treatment (though it's a lifetime maintenance one, not a "take a bottle of pills and then it's cured" type thing).

My late cat Molly lived fine with hyperactive thyroid (generally that will make it harder for a pet to keep on their weight; humans can get this issue commonly too, I've read), on a regular Tapizol (a pill that keeps the thyroid "level" in check) prescription for nearly a decade after the hyperactive thyroid diagnosis. Tapizol is a "lifetime medication, and the cost does eventually add up. I paid maybe $50-$60 per bottle. Dosages varied over the years, but for most of her life it was only maybe a half pill morning, and half evening.

Not all cats are comfortable with pills. Molly was relatively docile and would let me slip them into her mouth; when my mom took care of her when I was out of town, she'd put some hairball gel on it and slip it in her food that way.

If you read the pets thread, Molly was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at age 16 last May, and I eventually had her euthanized in September when her renal system failed and her blood pressure collapsed one Friday. I live with a certain amount of guilt every day that maybe if I'd gone for the expensive radiation treatment back around 2001-2002, maybe none of this congestive heart failure stuff would've happened -- but maybe it was just her time too; I'll never know for certain if one thing led to another.

So my advice from experience:
A) If I had Molly's life to do over, I would've gone ahead and done the expensive radiation treatment. It's about the same cost as a high-end PC, right?  icon_smile And yes, there are no sure things, but the radiation treatment for thyroid seems as close to a sure thing as possible. Keep in mind radiation is involved.  Probably a special ER vet would handle it and they might need to "quarantine" your cat for a time after the procedure.

B) But a vet should give you the option to treat your cat via prescription. You can Google hyperactive thyroid for cats online to get more information. Keep in mind though you'll have to bring you cat in regularly for blood tests to ensure the medication is working. All those visits and prescriptions add up over time (over the pet's lifetime) and it's a lot more long-term hassle and things to remember.

If you choose the latter, I recommend getting a big ole' "pill box" with snap open lids, with at least two slots per day. I finally resorted to that last summer with Molly and it made it a lot easier to get the pills cut ahead of time and remember to give her the pill pieces regularly. Use a timer-clock if need be. The ironic thing is, at the time of Mollly's death, her thyroid readings had finally gotten back to normal (although even then, she still needed at least a minimal amount of the Tapizol daily).
=======================
Whatever you do, good luck!  icon_smile If you have any questions about Tapizol (there may be other hyperactive thyroid medications too -- that's just the one I can speak to from experience) and stuff, feel free to PM me. I'm NOT a vet though.  icon_smile I can just tell you how it went with my cat, and what sort of medication and blood test costs were involved.

I hope to finally adopt another cat this summer, after I return from an overseas business trip. I still think about Molly the cat every day.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 03:16:13 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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Gratch
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 01:10:43 PM »

Quote
#2 is an outrageous thing for any vet to say, if he really did say that  icon_evil -- if he did, imho, get a 2nd opinion. If the vet's offended, tough for him/her. You should have the option for a prescription treatment (though it's a lifetime maintenance one, not a "take a bottle of pills and then it's cured" type thing).

My late cat Molly lived fine with hyperactive thyroid (generally that will make it harder for a pet to keep on their weight; humans can get this issue commonly too, I've read), on a regular Tapizol (a pill that keeps the thyroid "level" in check) prescription for nearly a decade after the hyperactive thyroid diagnosis. Tapizol is a "lifetime medication, and the cost does eventually add up. I paid maybe $50-$60 per bottle. Dosages varied over the years, but for most of her life it was only maybe a half pill morning, and half evening.

Not all cats are comfortable with pills. Molly was relatively docile and would let me slip them into her mouth; when my mom took care of her when I was out of town, she'd put some hairball gel on it and slip it in her food that way.

If you read the pets thread, Molly was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at age 16 last May, and I eventually had her euthanized in September when her renal system failed and her blood pressure collapsed one Friday. I live with a certain amount of guilt every day that maybe if I'd gone for the expensive radiation treatment back around 2001-2002, maybe none of this congestive heart failure stuff would've happened -- but maybe it was just her time too; I'll never know for certain if one thing led to another.

So my advice from experience:
A) If I had Molly's life to do over, I would've gone ahead and done the expensive radiation treatment. It's about the same cost as a high-end PC, right?  icon_smile And yes, there are no sure things, but the radiation treatment for thyroid seems as close to a sure thing as possible. Keep in mind radiation is involved.  Probably a special ER vet would handle it and they might need to "quarantine" your cat for a time after the procedure.

B) But a vet should give you the option to treat your cat via prescription. You can Google hyperactive thyroid for cats online to get more information. Keep in mind though you'll have to bring you cat in regularly for blood tests to ensure the medication is working. All those visits and prescriptions add up over time (over the pet's lifetime) and it's a lot more long-term hassle and things to remember.

If you choose the latter, I recommend getting a big ole' "pill box" with snap open lids, with at least two slots per day. I finally resorted to that last summer with Molly and it made it a lot easier to get the pills cut ahead of time and remember to give her the pill pieces regularly. Use a timer-clock if need be. The ironic thing is, at the time of Mollly's death, her thyroid readings had finally gotten back to normal (although even then, she still needed at least a minimal amount of the Tapizol daily).

In fairness to the vet, he did talk about a third option of doing a prescription treatment.  However, the cheapest we could find the medication was $60/month, and Saba would have to go back for a blood panel every 4 months (another $200) to ensure that the dosage is being maintained correctly.    At an ongoing yearly cost of around $1,400, that seemed like an even worse option than a one-time treatment of $1,700, so we never seriously considered it.  I also thought about getting a second opinion, but it would require about $300 just to do so (appointment fee + blood panel).  We've had this vet for about 10 years now...I trust him.  FWIW, the treatment itself is actually only $1,000, but requires him to be hospitalized for around 7 days.  That's the other big chunk of the cost.

I'm leaning towards just trying to figure out a way to pay for the treatment.  Saba's been a wonderful companion for a long time (although I had cats growing up, he was the first pet that I personally adopted) and deserves better than just wasting away in pain.  However, this experience has solidified my decision that I will not be getting another animal after he passes.  Being down to 1 cat and 1 dog is plenty, thanks.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 01:27:11 PM »

We just had that problem with our dog, but not to the same degree. He swallowed a piece of a toy that got lodged in his intestine and it cost ~$1000 when it was all said and done to get it out. However, we didn't have a problem with it because he's only 4 years old. We talked about it and said that if he were over 10 years old there's no way we would have done it.

Thing is, we love our animals, but they simply don't understand why they're in pain. If they're suffering or feeling weak, you can't explain it to them. They just feel bad and that's all you can do. I've always thought that the best thing for a sick animal is to humanely put them down, not because you want to get rid of them, but because that's what your loyal friend deserves. He deserves to end his life relatively happy for all the joy he's (or she's) provided you instead of wasting away or suffering with treatment that they don't understand. It just seems the most humane option: Set a date, make their lives as happy as possible until then, give them every treat they love and everything they like, and then let them go to sleep peacefully one day.

Dang it, I'm crying now.
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 01:43:17 PM »

Can you put the cat in a box with an acid trap triggered by radioactive decay? Perhaps the superposition of states will keep him in stasis until a solution is found.

But in all seriousness, you have to think about their quality of life, before, during, and after a successful treatment. I don't know what this treatment entails, but if its anything like chemotherapy for cancer patients then I would wonder whether the pain of the treatment is almost as bad. I would opt for the least pain possible and let the cat enjoy the life he has.
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 02:01:36 PM »

Sorry for your loss.
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2011, 02:47:19 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 18, 2011, 01:10:43 PM

Quote
#2 is an outrageous thing for any vet to say, if he really did say that  icon_evil -- if he did, imho, get a 2nd opinion. If the vet's offended, tough for him/her. You should have the option for a prescription treatment (though it's a lifetime maintenance one, not a "take a bottle of pills and then it's cured" type thing).

My late cat Molly lived fine with hyperactive thyroid (generally that will make it harder for a pet to keep on their weight; humans can get this issue commonly too, I've read), on a regular Tapizol (a pill that keeps the thyroid "level" in check) prescription for nearly a decade after the hyperactive thyroid diagnosis. Tapizol is a "lifetime medication, and the cost does eventually add up. I paid maybe $50-$60 per bottle. Dosages varied over the years, but for most of her life it was only maybe a half pill morning, and half evening.

Not all cats are comfortable with pills. Molly was relatively docile and would let me slip them into her mouth; when my mom took care of her when I was out of town, she'd put some hairball gel on it and slip it in her food that way.

If you read the pets thread, Molly was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at age 16 last May, and I eventually had her euthanized in September when her renal system failed and her blood pressure collapsed one Friday. I live with a certain amount of guilt every day that maybe if I'd gone for the expensive radiation treatment back around 2001-2002, maybe none of this congestive heart failure stuff would've happened -- but maybe it was just her time too; I'll never know for certain if one thing led to another.

So my advice from experience:
A) If I had Molly's life to do over, I would've gone ahead and done the expensive radiation treatment. It's about the same cost as a high-end PC, right?  icon_smile And yes, there are no sure things, but the radiation treatment for thyroid seems as close to a sure thing as possible. Keep in mind radiation is involved.  Probably a special ER vet would handle it and they might need to "quarantine" your cat for a time after the procedure.

B) But a vet should give you the option to treat your cat via prescription. You can Google hyperactive thyroid for cats online to get more information. Keep in mind though you'll have to bring you cat in regularly for blood tests to ensure the medication is working. All those visits and prescriptions add up over time (over the pet's lifetime) and it's a lot more long-term hassle and things to remember.

If you choose the latter, I recommend getting a big ole' "pill box" with snap open lids, with at least two slots per day. I finally resorted to that last summer with Molly and it made it a lot easier to get the pills cut ahead of time and remember to give her the pill pieces regularly. Use a timer-clock if need be. The ironic thing is, at the time of Mollly's death, her thyroid readings had finally gotten back to normal (although even then, she still needed at least a minimal amount of the Tapizol daily).

In fairness to the vet, he did talk about a third option of doing a prescription treatment.  However, the cheapest we could find the medication was $60/month, and Saba would have to go back for a blood panel every 4 months (another $200) to ensure that the dosage is being maintained correctly.    At an ongoing yearly cost of around $1,400, that seemed like an even worse option than a one-time treatment of $1,700, so we never seriously considered it.  I also thought about getting a second opinion, but it would require about $300 just to do so (appointment fee + blood panel).  We've had this vet for about 10 years now...I trust him.  FWIW, the treatment itself is actually only $1,000, but requires him to be hospitalized for around 7 days.  That's the other big chunk of the cost.

I'm leaning towards just trying to figure out a way to pay for the treatment.  Saba's been a wonderful companion for a long time (although I had cats growing up, he was the first pet that I personally adopted) and deserves better than just wasting away in pain.  However, this experience has solidified my decision that I will not be getting another animal after he passes.  Being down to 1 cat and 1 dog is plenty, thanks.

True but think about the time factor too.  $1400 spread over 12 months is far better than $1700 right now.  You also have the option of ordering the pills online once the dosage is stabilized and it's unlikely the blood panels would be needed every four months for the rest of her life.  Still the ultimate decision is up to you.  It sounds like you're leaning towards the treatment option buy maybe you could do both...start with the much, much cheaper medication option and start saving for the treatment a year from now?
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 02:59:39 PM »

We have a 7lb cat (Dru - he's a bed-weasel) with a thyroid problem (he's 16), and as deaf as a doorknob. He gets a quarter of a pill in the morning and a quarter at night. The pills cost me ~30bux every 3 months. We had to get his levels checked twice in the first 3 months, now just once a year. We also give him chicken ( rotisserie ) which turns him into a bed-weasel with a tennis ball in his belly.

Here he is with his "sister" who passed away almost a year ago (stroke, kidney failure - she was 18).


left- Kenny (10yrs, nick: 'ten-ton-tenny', he thinks he's king shit, but he's got a "fragile mind")
middle- 'Cedes (18, now deceased, nick "KAH-Thump" the sound of her sliding/jumping off our bed)
right - Dru (16, deaf, his meow is funny to say the least, will put his face into yours while you're lying down until you lift the covers for him to climb under.)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 03:05:10 PM by Purge » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 03:29:55 PM »

most vet hospitals now have interest free (or low interest for 12 month) or even flex pay type payment plans . I would ask about them. My dog has had cancer twice each time costing around 7k each time...the latest offering is almost like a credit card through a third party, ask. If they dont have one, go to hospital that does. I say you need to do it.
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2011, 03:31:10 PM »

Quote from: ericb on March 18, 2011, 02:47:19 PM

True but think about the time factor too.  $1400 spread over 12 months is far better than $1700 right now.  You also have the option of ordering the pills online once the dosage is stabilized and it's unlikely the blood panels would be needed every four months for the rest of her life.  Still the ultimate decision is up to you.  It sounds like you're leaning towards the treatment option buy maybe you could do both...start with the much, much cheaper medication option and start saving for the treatment a year from now?

Unfortunately, the prescription treatment would not be a cure, just something to simply help regulate the issue.  If we went that route, it would be ongoing for as long as he's with us.  The radiation treatment, otoh, would essentially "fix" the problem once and for all (assuming it worked, of course).
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2011, 05:18:38 PM »

I can honestly say I dont envy you your decision.  Im a dog owner and Chewie is like a child to me.  If I were in your shoes, that expense would bankrupt me as my financial situation is very precarious right now.  I would have to add the moral implications of filing bankruptcy on that bill as well.  There would be some very pissed off credit card companies when I was through.
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2011, 09:41:11 PM »

I don't have any advice, just sympathy. $1,700 is a huge sum to spend on an old cat. But letting him go when you have an alternative would be a hard decision to face. I don't think I'd go that far into debt to keep a pet alive for a few more years, but my wife would probably have the opposite opinion. I don't know what we'd agree on but it would certainly be a crisis.
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2011, 11:00:51 PM »

We had to drive 90 miles to Seattle (twice, because it was an overnight) for that same treatment, but it only cost $700. I would definitely see if you can get it cheaper.

We also had the option of the lifetime medication, but didn't relish the idea of giving a pill every day (for our sake, and Kleine's).

The treatment was successful, but we lost her about a year later to a tumor in her intestine, which one vet thinks was just another manifestation of the thyroid issue.

Ale
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2011, 11:33:21 PM »

I went through bad end of life issues with a couple of my cats and I told myself that if I ever got more cats I would be conservative with end of life care.  Hell, we can't even afford end of life care for people much less cats.  Realistically if you've given the cat 14 good years I wouldn't feel guilty no matter what the decision is.  This is cynical, but if you let the vets make the decision for you you will spend a lot of money.  We go to a cat care clinic and one of the vets was let go and she emailed everyone saying she was let go because she wasn't generating enough billable hours.  The Vets were super nice, but there was a slight sense of being pressured to spend money on tests and stuff that didn't really seem to do enough good to justify the costs.  I'm not sure I'm helping, but in my opinion you should put your family's finances ahead of your cat.  Especially if he/she is 14 years old.  I wouldn't want my family going broke to keep me alive once I reach a certain age, much less for a cat.

Anyway, it's a tough call -- and I have to say I'm not sure I practice what I preach.  I still feel guilty about putting my cat to sleep when at fifteen it started peeing uncontrollably around the house for a bloody year.  We tried everything and spent at least $1200 in care for the cat over the last year but we couldn't get anywhere.  The cat was wrecking our floors, peeing on my kids bed and if we confined the cat it would meow 24 hours a day and his health would deteriorate even more.  It was likely diabetes, but the insulin never did work.  Anyway, my wife had had enough for a while and I finally gave in and agreed to put the cat to sleep.  I think I had nightmares for months afterward.  Nothing quite like holding a cat to calm him down as he is being put to sleep to create horrific memories. 

Good luck though, it's a terrible place to be in so try not to judge yourself too harshly no matter what you decide. 

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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2011, 11:47:26 PM »

Tr giving your cat kitten food - the formula for kittens or the actual canned stuff. It's very high in calories, so even if the cat throws up, it might retain more nourishment.

Worth a shot.
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2011, 01:52:33 AM »

Good post, plywood. Yes vets are in business to make money, and sometimes that crowds out all other considerations at a clinic. We switched vets 10 years ago for that reason. Every single visit for whatever reason ended with a sales pitch for their catfood, for example.

Our replacement vet is drifting in that direction now. They used to sell technician appointments for routine vaccinations that cost about 1/3 of a normal office visit. A couple of years ago they cut those out for cats over 10 years old. I understand their reasoning -- older cats need more screening -- but it should be my choice. Every visit ends with a sales pitch for a full blood panel and $1,000 worth of dental work, and if you protest the cost they try to sell you their easy financing plan.
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2011, 02:35:31 AM »

Thanks to everyone for your input...it's really helped today.  I'm leaning towards doing the treatment.   I can't even imagine sitting in the vets office and holding him while they give the final injection, knowing that it's simply because I wouldn't pony up the $$.  Call me a softie, but I'd have a really hard time dealing with that.  I might be getting a bit of a bonus I wasn't expecting towards the end of the month, and I'll cut corners where I have to in order to make it work.  Saba deserves that much.

For reference, here's Saba 5 years ago at 16 lbs:



Here's Saba tonight at 6 lbs:

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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2011, 03:51:23 AM »

I'm in the same boat right now. I get a panicked phone call from the wife just before my lunch break today. "if you see a charge from so and so, the cat's at the vet. He's really sick..." and then the tears start. I tell her to hang tight and I'll call her back at lunch.

Half an hour later I get a call from my bank calling to alert me to four purchases made within a 10 minute timeframe totaling $1850 as they had to tap into our savings/overdraft protection, and basically 80% of our money just disappeared.

The vet is refusing to tell me what's happening as I'm not listed as the pets owner, and I'm just not sure my wife actually knows what's going on. After I politely informed her we are now flat broke and won't be able to cover rent for next month, she went to her parents place for the night.

They open again at 7am. My inner car salesman asshole attitude is coming out in style tomorrow.

I hate to sound heartless -- My cat is my sportscenter buddy in the morning, he watches it with me as I have my morning coffee before work, sleeps by my feet at night and curls up on my lap whenever I play the xbox. I love the little furry bastard, but now we're screwed.
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2011, 04:45:57 AM »

Sorry for your predicament Gratch.

I've already decided that if one of our cats gets sick, and I can't possibly afford treatment (or they are so old that treatment would not really be worth it), then they will be stuck with the "let God sort it out," option. Being the animal lover that I am, I just could not make the decision to put one of ours to sleep. Hell, I still have flashbacks to this day of shooting a bird with a BB gun when I was 12, and I didn't even kill it. If I actually watched my cat be put to sleep they'd have to lock me in the loony bin. Maybe it's selfish of me to let them suffer but I just can't make that call.
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2011, 12:52:09 PM »

I can't tell you what to do, but I'll provide a contrasting perspective here since everyone seems to be leaning one way.  Our family had a golden retriever mix that we loved for many years.  We picked him up as a stray puppy when he was jumping outside my window one night.  He'd come with us through 2 moves and 14 years.  Then we were facing yet another move.  By now he was suffering all the symptoms of old age: bad joints, incontinence, vision & hearing problems, etc.  He basically banished himself outside after he couldn't control his bowel movements anymore and I remember looking out the window every morning to see if he was still breathing or moving before going to school.  We decided the process of moving would put a huge stress on him and if he survived it, he would end up in a strange, unfamiliar place for however long he had left.  So we had him euthanized before the movers came to pack everything.  It was sad, but everyone agreed it was the right decision.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2011, 01:42:59 PM »

Quote from: YellowKing on March 19, 2011, 04:45:57 AM

I've already decided that if one of our cats gets sick, and I can't possibly afford treatment (or they are so old that treatment would not really be worth it), then they will be stuck with the "let God sort it out," option. Being the animal lover that I am, I just could not make the decision to put one of ours to sleep. Hell, I still have flashbacks to this day of shooting a bird with a BB gun when I was 12, and I didn't even kill it. If I actually watched my cat be put to sleep they'd have to lock me in the loony bin. Maybe it's selfish of me to let them suffer but I just can't make that call.

That doesn't sound like being an animal lover at all... that just sounds horribly selfish.  Putting a pet down when it's become time is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but unnecessarily prolonging suffering is just wrong.  Once you have a pet you are taking the responsibility to make those hard decisions.  If you can't do it, don't get a pet.

Hope the treatment is a success and you have many more happy years with your cat, Gratch!

Our last dog we spent thousands and thousands of dollars on for various things over the years... it was hard to pay pay for ($3000 head/ear surgery!, $1000 for eating a towel! $500 for eating compost... the list goes on), but it was totally worth the extra quality years we got with her. She was an amazing dog, and when we finally reached the end (spending another $500 to be told 'yep, she's got a couple days left), taking her to the vet to end it humanely was a really tough decision, but one that had to be made (on my wife's birthday, no less).  The actual death was shockingly fast and peaceful.
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2011, 02:36:33 AM »

Sorry to hear about this difficult situation. We have 3 cats of our own. I hope the treatment helps!
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« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2011, 01:10:18 AM »

Quote
That doesn't sound like being an animal lover at all... that just sounds horribly selfish.  Putting a pet down when it's become time is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but unnecessarily prolonging suffering is just wrong.  Once you have a pet you are taking the responsibility to make those hard decisions.  If you can't do it, don't get a pet.

I've never been put in the situation so I can't tell you 100% what I would do when the time came. All I can say is that I don't feel like I should determine when something should live and when it should die, especially when I'm not in a position to determine how much it is truly "suffering."

I've had many pets in my lifetime. I take excellent care of them. Every animal I've ever owned has far outlived its average lifespan - be it gerbils, birds, cats, or dogs. I rescued a diabetic cat that was going to be euthanized (because it was inconvenient), and my wife and I have given her two shots of insulin a day every day for the past four years. You're entitled to your (uninformed) opinion, but I guarantee you I'm about as good, compassionate a pet owner as you're ever going to meet.
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« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2011, 10:50:23 PM »

UPDATE:  I picked Saba up from his thyroid radiation treatment and subsequent hospital stay today.  He gained nearly a pound since the treatment 5 days ago (from 5 lbs to 6), so early indications are that it worked pretty well.  Going to be a fun next couple weeks though, as we have to keep him completely isolated until May 11 (he's still passing radioactive waste...I'm wondering what superpowers he gained smile).  i can clean out his litter box (with gloves on) and feed him, but that's the only interaction we can have.  We're locking him in the basement, but this creates problems because the other cat is used to using the litter box and food down there.  So we'll be locking that cat in the bedroom with a separate littler box and food, and will have to keep the door shut so the dog doesn't get in and eat it all.  Ugh.

Between the treatment, the hospital stay, and the two blood tests, this will end up costing a little over $1,800.   icon_eek  It better cure him, as I sure as hell don't have another penny to spend on anything else.
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« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2011, 12:01:00 AM »

I hope all turns out well.
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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2011, 12:12:55 AM »

Try kitten formula and see if it helps put the weight on.

Best of luck with your kitteh!
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« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2011, 09:03:51 AM »

well done Gratch on making that hard decision i hope all turns out well for Saba
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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2011, 07:31:09 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 19, 2011, 02:35:31 AM

Thanks to everyone for your input...it's really helped today.  I'm leaning towards doing the treatment.   I can't even imagine sitting in the vets office and holding him while they give the final injection, knowing that it's simply because I wouldn't pony up the $$.  Call me a softie, but I'd have a really hard time dealing with that.  I might be getting a bit of a bonus I wasn't expecting towards the end of the month, and I'll cut corners where I have to in order to make it work.  Saba deserves that much.

For reference, here's Saba 5 years ago at 16 lbs:



Here's Saba tonight at 6 lbs:


While no treatment has an iron clad guarantee, I've generally heard good things bout the radiation treatment for hyperactive thyroid working (even if it's an awful lot of money). It's a personal decision like anything though, and I don't pass judgement on anybody who decides on a different form of treatment (Tapizol like with my cat, or otherwise).

I hope everything works out and here's to more good years and hopefully some gradual weight gain for Saba.  icon_smile

I think whenever I adopt a new cat (hopefully this summer some time), I've got to look into some form of reimbursement-type health insurance. I'm not certain how much it would cover of radiation treatment like this, or my own cat's sort of "catastrophic" ER care for her congestive heart failure last May, but I think even a small % reimbursement would've been helpful, at least in avoiding "sticker shock" in vet medical care.
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« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2011, 08:45:50 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on April 28, 2011, 07:31:09 PM

I think whenever I adopt a new cat (hopefully this summer some time), I've got to look into some form of reimbursement-type health insurance. I'm not certain how much it would cover of radiation treatment like this, or my own cat's sort of "catastrophic" ER care for her congestive heart failure last May, but I think even a small % reimbursement would've been helpful, at least in avoiding "sticker shock" in vet medical care.

Yeah, this whole experience has made me really think twice about ever getting another pet.  While I love my furry "kids", the cost of animal care over the last few years has been through the roof.  I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I can (sort of) afford it, but with a daughter and possibly another baby in the future, I don't think I want to make the long term investment - both mentally and financially.  I think after our 3 dudes pass (Saba is 14, the other cat is 11, and the dog is 7), we'll just call it good for a while.
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