Photo: An Uninsured Koshi Kat In Simpler Days
Mourning A Lost Era
Gone are the days of veterinarians as portrayed in "All Creatures Great, and Small". Today's breed are all dollars, and cents. Who can blame them? It's harder to graduate from veterinary school than it is to become a doctor, and most vets spend years paying back student loans. Yet there's something crucial missing in the cold calculated economics - mercy, compassion, and concern for life itself. Yes, they can care, show mercy, and compassion, but you'll need to fork up the money first - or no can do.
Produce $600 now to save your cat's life, $200 to put your cat to sleep, or take your cat home to die a slow horrible, and painful death.
I've posted several photos of Koshi on my blog - he's the white cat with one black ear, and the black tail. Cat's with this color pattern are called "Vans". Van Koshi Kat came down sick.
We didn't even know how important it was to get Koshi to the vet. He just seemed to be having trouble urinating. We believe we caught it in the first twenty four hours. My wife noticed it first, and insisted Koshi be taken to the animal hospital.
Being a member of the working poor - I resisted. Thank goodness Koshi made it to the animal hospital. Koshi had somehow developed a Feline Urinary Tract Disease - in simple terms Koshi had a blockage. Such blockages are considered a life or death emergency, which if left untreated usually results in death within three to six days.
We're not talking blockage due to infection, but possibly crystals - similar to kidney stones, but in the bladder. Male cats fall victim more often than females. Koshi's a guy - a lovable little guy with no real sense of gender, but nature decided to pick on him because he has a guy sized urethra.
A shot of sedative, a plastic neck collar, and a quick catherterization put Koshi right back to normal. A few days of observation at the Vets, two weeks of careful observation at home, and a change in diet - and all should be well again.
Sounds kind of simple, but just imagine what it takes to insert a catherter into a cat's urethera - we're talking cats now! Four sets of razor blades - shudder! I'm definately not arguing with the price of the proceedure, as there was no choice but to sedate Koshi.
We have four cats, but this was the first time I have ever heard about FLUTD. One well known quality about cats is that they don't tend to whine when they are in pain. I guess this keeps cats alive out in the wild. Being able to ignore pain has advantages when you're a predator, and must fight, and kill to survive, but it's times like these when I wish cats could scream out, and say "Hey, I'm not feeling well".
Your Money, Or Your Cat's Life!
Although Christmas just became much more difficult to finance, we were lucky. We love our cat more than a bunch of Christmas presents. Even my teenage daughter said she understood what we were giving up, but love is more important than things, and Koshi is a bundle of love.
My daughter tells me that she overheard a girl pleading with her mother over the cell phone to help her pay for emergency treatment of her very sick dog. "But mama, I don't have the money", the african american girl said before breaking down into tears.
Most american families live paycheck to paycheck. I once picked up a brochure offering pet medical expense insurance, and after looking at the rates nearly broke out laughing. Anyone who can afford medical insurance on their pets would never need it.
When just putting food on your table, a roof over your head, and clothes on your back becomes a struggle coming up with enough money to pay for medical insurance for your pets is beyond most pet owner's reach. In a nation with forty five million hardworking people unable to insure themselves, or their family, paying for expensive pet insurance is a luxury only the upper classes can afford.
Was it wrong for me to have adopted four cats? Perhaps. I had intended on none, and ended up with one. Then one day we were adopted by a stray queen. A queen is a pregnant cat. I agreed to feed this poor stray the day I saw her jump out of my arms - clean off our porch in an attempt to catch a rabbit. She was a beautiful creature who was starving.
We took her in, and did the right thing. It took us a year to come up with the money to fix, and neuter her, and her two kittens, but we did it. We never let our cats outside. Outside cats live on average about three to five years, while indoor cats live around fifteen years.
We treat our cats with love, and they return it.
In the United States twenty thousand stray cats, and dogs are killed each day. While our society claims to love its pets every year is like the holocaust if you're a cat, or dog in America.
So perhaps I was wrong to have made that vow to these four little creatures who have shown only love to me, and my family, but I have so far honored that commitment, and will do so as long as possible.
The Spirit of Christ Comes To The Rescue
I want to extend thanks to some friends of the family who helped us out with this situation - you know who you are, and God Bless You, athough I'm not sure if you'll ever read my blog. I've said some critical things about organized religion, and certain aspects of faith's intrusion upon the domain of science, but there are some wonderful people out there who make the world a better place - and I know you did what you did because of your faith in Jesus.
"It's a wonderful world we live in, it's a wonderful world"