Should he stay (away from the vet) or should he go (in for surgery?)
November 2, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Who wins? The spouse who wants to pay the thousands of dollars to fix what's wrong with their cat or the spouse who doesn't.

This one needs a major surgery. One that costs about $2000. We thought he might be able to live with his condition, some cats can, but aparently ours isn't one of those cats.

Some extra details that might help:
- Both my spouse and I make about the same amount of money and we are both the saving/plan-for-the-future type.
- The big guy is only just turned 3 years old so he's quite young.
- We've already spent about $2000 on vet bills just a year and a half ago due to the Plastic Eating Event of 2009.
- He's basically our first child.
- It will not be an emergency surgery. It can wait about a month or two.

I'm thinking I shouldn't tell you which opinion I happen to hold but if it seems from the comments that it would help, I'll disclose.

Have you ever been in this situation? What do you do when one spouse says yes and the other says no? If your cat friend was in the same tough spot, would you fix him up? Thank you!
posted by smirkyfodder to Pets & Animals (79 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What does the spouse who says no propose as an alternative?
posted by booknerd at 7:57 AM on November 2, 2010

What's the prognosis if you do the surgery? Long happy life? Questionably long life of questionable value? Would this put you into debt or put a dent in savings?

My husband and I have a ceiling for kitty costs. Which is heartwrenching. But which makes sense to both of us based on his senior status.
posted by freshwater at 8:01 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Because the big guy seems to be doing OK at the moment, the spouse who says no, says to keep him comfortable until he seems like it's time to put him to sleep. We haven't discussed what makes it time for him to be put to sleep. Right now, the mister cat is pretty happy but is having breathing problems when he is too active.
posted by smirkyfodder at 8:01 AM on November 2, 2010

If you have your own job, and your own paycheck, then you have at least some of your own spending money. Use your spending money on the cat. (And by 'the' cat, I mean 'your' cat.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:01 AM on November 2, 2010 [8 favorites]

What's the prognosis of the surgery? Will it give him a chance at a normal life span? He's a young guy, and if the prognosis is good and you're able to pay for it without serious hardship, I don't see why you wouldn't do it.
posted by crankylex at 8:01 AM on November 2, 2010

Response by poster: He has an 80 - 85% chance of surviving the surgery. If he survives, he'll live a long, happy life with very little chance of any complications.
posted by smirkyfodder at 8:02 AM on November 2, 2010

Unless the money would kill you, go for it. Honestly I am not much of a cat MONSTER but if I were married and my spouse wanted to lash out some serious cash to keep an animal they love alive and we could spare the money without dying ourselves...yeah, why not? Other people have spent more for less.

So what would I do? I'd say to my spouse, listen, we can spare it and this is a living thing which will die unless we do something. We won't eat out quite so often for a month or so and it'll be fine. And this means a lot to me.

I mean, it's just money. There's always more of it, if you know where to look. Your little pal is not so easily replaceable.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:02 AM on November 2, 2010 [30 favorites]

Unless the money will truly put you in jeopardy of missing a mortgage payment, or prevent you from purchasing some necessary human health care, get the kitty surgery. Or be prepared to be "the spouse who killed the cat" for the rest of your marriage.
posted by Buffaload at 8:02 AM on November 2, 2010 [25 favorites]

We don't make an awful lot of money, but we have no ceiling for kitty costs. Ours is definitely our child.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:03 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

smirkyfodder: "Who wins?"

I'm a cat owner, and I've faced similar issues. No one wins. There is no objective answer.

For me, it would come down to post-op quality of life. Will this operation "fix" whatever's wrong, or does he have a condition that will require ongoing care throughout his life?
posted by mkultra at 8:04 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

I have been in a similar situation recently, and my partner and I were unanimous in going ahead with the procedure. We are crazy cat ladies, though.

A big factor here is, how does the cost of the procedure relate to your yearly income? Is it a small fraction? Large? If you put it on a credit card, how quickly could you pay it off?
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 8:04 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Personally, I'd never spend $2000 on a pet in one go. Can't justify it. I know animals are awesome, and I've loved all of the pets that we've had, but $2000 is just too much.

The bigger question here seems to be how you and your spouse are going to deal with these kind of financial decisions when there is a difference of opinion. That's going to involve a pretty piercing discussion of how you handle money in general, i.e. to what extent have you merged your finances and to what extent do you retain the ability to make purchases without your spouse's knowledge, input, or consent?

Because, if it's possible, I think you should treat this as just another case where someone wants to spend $2000 and the other doesn't. Doesn't really matter if it's a cat, a car, a computer, or a vacation: you need to have some process whereby this decision can be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.

Exactly what that looks like is going to depend highly on the specific relationship you have with your spouse, so I'm not sure we can be much more help than that.
posted by valkyryn at 8:05 AM on November 2, 2010 [11 favorites]

Is this surgery probably the end of the story, or is it surgery + daily drugs + other stuff + another surgery in the future? Can you afford the 2000$? How do you deal with money stuff in general? For instance, could the one spouse pay for 75% of it out of their discretionary income, and the other 25%, or some other balance?

A few more details like that might be handy.
posted by jeather at 8:05 AM on November 2, 2010

smirkyfodder, given your update, if paying for the surgery (even in installments, some vets will work with you on this) is within the realm of financial possibility for you guys, I personally would do it. To me, it would be a different story if we were talking about a senior animal or one who was not likely to have long term benefit from the surgery. But he's young and the outlook is good, and I would go for it.
posted by crankylex at 8:06 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Look, nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on veterinary bills. No one ever wants that, so it's an unfair way to frame the situation. It's not a matter of winning or losing an argument.

If I found myself married to someone who would rather let our "first child" die at some point in the near future than pay $2k to give that child a strong chance at a long, happy life (if that's indeed the likely outcome), then I would probably be taking a long, hard look at my finances and my life choices to figure out how I got myself into that situation and how I could extricate myself, and my pet, as quickly and cleanly as possible.

But hey, that's just me. To me, pets are family and a responsibility that you've knowingly taken on. I have pet insurance that covers a certain percentage of pet medical costs so I don't have to make decisions like this, but if I didn't, I'd sell my car and most of my possessions before I'd sell my dog out like that.
posted by booknerd at 8:08 AM on November 2, 2010 [18 favorites]

Ah, missed the update. It depends, it seems, on how you deal with finances in general. In this situation, I would pay for the surgery, and cut back on my discretionary purchases, but I am not in your marriage.
posted by jeather at 8:09 AM on November 2, 2010

I think a deciding factor for me would be the young age of the cat. If it were an older animal, I wouldn't be as willing to spend so much, but given that the cat has many years left that it could live normally, I would be in the 'yes' category. But I'd also be aware of the budget concerns and work out a plan to save up for the surgery so some of it could be paid for in cash, and then an additional payment plan to pay off the balance, however that is incurred.
posted by questionsandanchors at 8:09 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

Depends on lots of variables like how well off you are (and thus how affordable the surgery is) and how survivable the surgery is. We've spent about £300-400 on the (8-10 year old) stray we took in less than a year ago, I guess because once we decided we were keeping him then he was our responsibility. I can't claim that we would keep spending money on him without end though.

If one of you pays out then that person gets priority on cuddles, etc, and gets to take the cat if you split up.
posted by biffa at 8:09 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you put it on a credit card, how quickly could you pay it off?

This. Even just in a theoretical sense. Spread it over his ten-year-or-so lifespan with your credit card's interest rate. If you think of it as a monthly payment for the cat, does it come out to something reasonable?

Obviously, it wouldn't be a prudent use of credit, but it should take in to account opportunity costs, present value of money, etc etc.
posted by supercres at 8:10 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

What is the surgery? What was the cat diagnosed with? Have you gotten a second opinion? Have you talked about care credit? Usually there's a 0% 1-3 year introductory rate which would help you space payments out.
posted by TheBones at 8:11 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's how my spouse and I would work this out.

1. Can you afford $2000 and not financially hurt yourself? In the month or two, can you save additional to help with the cost?

2. Is this a one-time event for this animal or is this a recurring or chronic situation? If it is chronic, how will the surgery improve his quality of life?

3. What will the recovery be like for him? Will he need additional and/or expensive rehab? How does this factor into your cost?

4. Do you have a pre-defined dollar limit set on your pets' one-time vet expenses?

5. What does this cat mean to you and how will having or not having him in your life impact you both?

6. What is your "no more" criteria?

My spouse and I just went through this set of questions twice for two of our dogs. Here were our situations and their outcomes.

Bagel: 12 yr old Boxer mix, diagnosed with degenerative nerve and bone diseases. Prognosis was not good in the long term and there was nothing substantial that could be done. We provided palliative care and nursed her through a few more months with pain meds twice a day. Our "no more" criteria: when her pain was more than the meds could alleviate or when her second back leg failed. Both happened in the same night and we said "good bye" the next morning.

Rowlf: 1 year old Redbone Coonhound, adopted a month before Bagel passed. Rowlf bloated a week after Bagel's death. Rushed him to the ER vet. A single surgery could save his life and make sure it never happened again. Great! Cost? $7 - $10,000. Not so great. That was beyond what we could do for him. Seriously. I desperately wanted to save him but the reality of the numbers was more than I could put my family through. We said "no." The vet disagreed and called the group we adopted him from and they agreed to pay his surgery. OMG Great beyond words.

Rowlf take two: Three weeks later, he was healing so well. Then we were faced with this again. He slipped from my husband just as they were coming in from his final walk. It was the first time he could run in 3 weeks and he never saw the truck. We rushed him back to the ER vet. His incision from the first surgery was open like it had just been cut the first time and his pelvis was truly shattered. The cost couldn't be estimated beyond the first surgery and that was looking like $10,000+. We said "no". This time vet agreed and I said good bye right then.

In both cases, with Rowlf, if the cost had been less of a hit, we could have done one of them. With Rowlf, we also didn't have the benefit you have of considering all options. With Bagel we did. We researched her condition and realized there was next to nothing we could do for her.

For Rowlf, we now are making significant contributions to the rescue group who saved him twice. The money they spent on his surgery could have helped others and we will help them recoup it.

Good luck with whatever you decide. These decisions are not easy and not clean cut in either direction.
posted by onhazier at 8:15 AM on November 2, 2010 [13 favorites]

To me, pets are family and a responsibility that you've knowingly taken on. I have pet insurance that covers a certain percentage of pet medical costs so I don't have to make decisions like this, but if I didn't, I'd sell my car and most of my possessions before I'd sell my dog out like that.

I'm in the same camp here and agree. To this end, though, I would go an talk to the vet clinic/surgeon and let them know how important my animal is to me, but that finances are tight. Alot of clinics give their vets a discretionary fund to work with. Talk about what can be done to help with costs. Look at the drugs being used, surgery options, etc.
posted by TheBones at 8:15 AM on November 2, 2010

If the surgery is $2,000 and the cat is 3 years old and lives inside, he has generally speaking about 17 years left to pay you back in affection and general cat-ness for the surgery. If the reluctant spouse thinks that the cat gives him/her about $120 worth of pleasure a year, then that's an easy way to say "do it."

We probably spent about that much on our guy before his IBS got sorted. The surgery was going to be ~$1500. I know where you guys are. We got lucky in that medication sorted him out and he's been fine for years now, but in all honesty - I would not have been able to live with myself if I'd let him be in pain, either by inaction or by denying him surgery. It's a hard decision, but if it were me, I'd do it. Pets are a large enough part of our life that I'm comfortable saying that I know, barring financial distress, we'd do it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:16 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

It would depend on the cost vs benefit of the surgery. If the surgery's benefits vastly outweigh the benefits of not-surgery I'd spend the money, especially for a young cat. Otherwise, I'd weigh the benefits of nonsurgical options.

I am a crazy cat lady, but I'm well aware that a cat isn't a child. However, if I had $2000 I would feel honour bound to spend it in this case, other things being equal.

I'd also insure all future cats, though it's probably too late for this one.
posted by tel3path at 8:16 AM on November 2, 2010

"we are both the saving/plan-for-the-future type"

Good job. One might argue that the future you have been putting aside for is now here. It's not the fancy vacation you were thinking of, but the future can be annoying that way. If you are able to swing this while remaining secure in paying the rent, eating, etc. then I don't see a lot of arguments against if one person really wants to save the cat given the prognosis you have.
posted by mikepop at 8:19 AM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

In any relationship, there needs to be some give and take. It is not about who wins, but about taking care of each others needs. To whom is this most important? To whom is it a deal breaker? Who would be unable to get over his/her resentment?

Don't misinterpret this to mean that whoever complains the loudest or cries the most gets the decision. Rather, take an honest look at what matters to you, and what matters to you spouse, and take care of each other.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:19 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

My answer might be different if the cat were old, or if the problem had a high chance of reoccurring, or if the cost of surgery was about the same as your combined monthly income, but I take it that's not the case.

I would get the surgery. I have a hunch you're the 'no surgery' spouse and you see cats as pretty much interchangeable fun things to have around, and hey, there are always more cats, right? Sorry, your spouse is never going to see the cat as interchangeable no matter how hard you try to make them envision the happy future with a new different cat to replace the dead cat. Three years is enough to get attached and to see that the particular cat in question is a living thing with its own individual quirks and characteristics. It is just not the same as every other cat and therefore your spouse wants to keep it because there is no replacement for this cat. I know, it's hard to argue with and you just want to save for retirement or a vacation or whatever, but happiness brought by a pet is worth something, and you should stop to think that your partner has done the math and kitty happiness > extra $5K in retirement to them. If you want to 'win', you're probably going to have to do better than just downplaying how much happiness the cat brings them or emphasizing how great it is to save for retirement.
posted by slow graffiti at 8:20 AM on November 2, 2010

Response by poster: Hi again. A few more details.

I have to admit that we're poor. We were not poor when we adopted the fellow. We have to budget down to the dollar. We can not purchase vet insurance because his condition was discovered when he ate the plastic, so he is basically un-insurable. We've just gotten our fourth opinion from a fourth vet at a third animal hospital. He has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia but none of the vets will tell us how long he might live without the surgery because they just don't know. We don't have a credit card (and I was denied the one that's specifically for vet bills) but I do believe that we could find a way to find the money.

I feel like when I say "we can find the money" that I'm answering my own question. So, full disclosure, I'm the one who wants to fix up the big guy. I'm sure I'm going to do it somehow. I probably have always known I'm just going to go ahead and do it. But I suppose what I wanted was some more perspective on how somebody in a similar situation may have worked through the aftermath of a decision not jointly made when it comes to a very loved pet's well-being.
posted by smirkyfodder at 8:21 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Aw, what a sweet kitty. Thanks for the photo.

My partner and I recently went through a similar experience, in that we thought our cat would need $1500 surgery on her knee which we just flat out didn't (and don't) have and we recognized that, rather than letting her suffer without it (possibly develop arthritis, be unable to move normally etc.) we would have to put her down. But she is our baby and, man, that is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. Thank all the kitty gods she didn't need the surgery after all, but if we'd had the money and she'd needed it, we would have done it.

So, I guess for us it came down to a matter of whether or not the money would actually break us, which it would have. Is this the case for you? Can you budget it in? Might your vet consider a sort of payment plan? In other words, what TheBones said.
posted by torisaur at 8:21 AM on November 2, 2010

My partner supported me spending a ton of time and money on my dog, who was already elderly when I brought her to the relationship. Now, he's not willing to get another dog because he doesn't want to go through all that again. (Not even sure I would want or be able to.) But I will always remember that he stood by me in that regard.

It's hard because the amount you can end up spending on vet bills has become insane, and in some cases I think you could better support a partner by saying, you know you don't have to make that big a financial commitment, ethically. Sometimes you do go on paying vet bills even with diminishing returns, because it seems too cold not to. But in this case you are risking a defined amount that could pay off big, like almost 20 more years of life. I think in this case the person who wants to, should win. Then sit down and plan how much commitment you are able to make to pets in the future so that further hard decisions (and there will be some) will be made with some agreement in place.
posted by BibiRose at 8:26 AM on November 2, 2010

I had this problem last year, but it was on a much tighter timeline. There was the cat-eating-needles-and-string incident of 2010 in my household earlier this year.

Full disclosure, it was kind of my fault because I left the needle (with a tiny bit of string) on the counter, and this cat has some kind of oral fixation. She decided it would be a nice snack.

The doctor announces we have to pay $4000 or our cat will, with 95-99% likelihood, die in the next 24 hours. With the surgery she probably had about a 75% chance of making it. Consider a second opinion, but this is like the top-end animal hospital in the area, and we were relatively certain they were being up front with us.

I was of the opinion that we shouldn't do the surgery. My live in boyfriend was of the opposite opinion. I make more money, and I was the only one with enough savings to pay for it. Needless to say, I paid for it.

I didn't want, and I don't think whoever the naysayer in this situation is would want to either, to live with the knowledge that I killed our cat. In the situation where the cat dies, there is no winner. In the situation where you agree to the surgery, there are two winners. That's all it took me to think about.
posted by CharlieSue at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2010

There are lots of pet assistance organizations. Here's a list. Another here.

We're talking 2k here not 20k. I'm sure this is 100% doable. If your cat lives 10 more years you're paying an extra $16 per month. If you can't afford that, then you can't afford a cat period, healthy or not.

Lastly, absolutely do not put this cat to sleep. Find him a new home if you can't find the money. There are people out there who would spend $2k so this 3 year old animal can have a full life. Do the legwork. Ask at shelters, etc. Give yourself a deadline. If you can't seem to afford this in 6 months then try to find someone who can. Hell, he'll have better odds just dropped off at the shelter.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:30 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: As a crazy cat lady who just spent $2000 I don't have on my 3 year old cat's non-emergency but pretty necessary surgery (in terms of quality of said cats life), I can say without a doubt I am very, very glad I did it. My cat is already happier, healthier, and I consider it an investment in her next 10-15 years. My vet told me the same thing - he could understand not doing the surgery a 15 year old cat. But a 3 year old cat is still young, and has potentially another 15+ years ahead of them.

That all being said - I waffled, a lot. For almost a year. I feel like I could take both sides of your marriage's argument. My final criteria on deciding yes or now - is the guilt of NOT doing it worth the cost? Personally, i couldn't live with myself - this cat is basically my kid, too. And her well being is something I agreed to by taking her in. And even though I really couldn't afford it and have made the nice people at Visa very happy, the cost is worth the happiness and companionship this cat (and the others I have) bring to my life.

In terms of the give and take of the argument, are there any sacrifices the person wanting the surgery is willing to make? Give up the daily $5 latte for a year, and you've almost paid for the surgery...
posted by cgg at 8:32 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Who wanted to get a pet? When you decided to adopt a pet, was there a limit in either of your minds about how much you would be willing to spend on vet bills? $2,000 is a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of expensive vet bills, it could be a lot worse. If I were in your situation, I would feel that I had made a committment when I adopted an animal to care for it, and I would find a way to pay for the surgery.

If you really can't afford this, I wouldn't think the other option is to put the cat to sleep. Could you search for a rescue organization or shelter that would be able to get the cat the surgery and adopted into a new home?
posted by inertia at 8:39 AM on November 2, 2010

As the spouse who wants the surgery for the cat, would you be willing to do some sort of pick-up part time crap job for a few months to earn the money to pay for the surgery, so that you can really have a win-win (cat lives and household does not go broke)?
posted by aught at 8:40 AM on November 2, 2010

If you wait until the cat gets uncomfortable, and then do the surgery, does the cost of the surgery go up? If not, since no one can tell you how long it will be okay, I would wait. Maybe he'll be a miracle cat and be okay forever.

If the answer to the above is "it becomes a scary emergency surgery that costs twice as much and might kill him", then see if you can work out a payment plan with the vet and go for it. Young cat. Worth it.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:40 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Adorable crossed-paws kitty pic = no question about it. I'd do the surgery. But then I'm someone who paid $3,000 to have surgery done on a feral cat that had been hanging out in my yard.* In that instance, my SO didn't want to spend the money, so I paid for it all myself. A couple of months later, after the kitty had been recovering in our dining room (thereafter referred to as the Kitty Infirmary), the SO gave me a birthday card with a wad of cash in it, to help pay off the vet bill.

*A neighborhood asshole deliberately had his dog attack and maul this cat. Her leg had to be amputated and she had drainage tubes in her stomach for months. Shortly thereafter, neighbor was killed in a bar fight. Karma? Zoe still lives with me 9 years later, and is the most cuddly, affectionate cat in the world.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:46 AM on November 2, 2010 [10 favorites]

Who wins?
how somebody in a similar situation may have worked through the aftermath of a decision not jointly made when it comes to a very loved pet's well-being.

As long as the two of you are looking at this as a conflict, it will be a conflict. As said above, nobody wins in this unfortunate situation, but that doesn't both parties have to fight to be right. There are valid opinions/feelings on both sides here. You guys have to have a heart to heart and not necessarily agree, but just understand where each other is coming from. Is the cost too much for the quality of life? Are you able to find the money and the expected quality of life is good?

I'd figure out how much it was going to cost me, and figure out the exact sources I was expecting to get that money from, and exactly how much it would cost me at the end (e.g, if I expected to pay credit card interest for a while). If this figure was acceptable to me, I'd do it.

There's really no such thing as "similar circumstances" here, but we put down our two dogs, one ancient with a twisted stomach, and the other with cancer who would have lost his hind legs and was occasionally biting the kids (from the pain, probably). Our good friend actually had her dog's eyeballs taken out for severe glaucoma and she (the dog) led a long happy life after that (having been in pain for some time before). So there's certainly no right answer (and no good answer either), just the one that you can best live with personally and financially.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:49 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

My philosophy here is exactly the opposite of valkryn's. When you adopt a pet, you're taking responsibility for that animal's well-being, to the extent you can manage. Expenses for a pet's health are not like a prospective vacation or a new gadget, they are a moral obligation.

That said, we all have our limits. My wife and I can manage a $2000 vet bill, but if the vet came to us with a $10,000 estimate, it would be time for a Difficult Conversation. There's "too much money to spend on an animal" expensive, and there's "completely beyond our means" expensive. I don't consider the former justifiable. The latter, yes. Although I'd follow damn dirty ape's suggestions before I let the pet's condition deteriorate.
posted by adamrice at 8:50 AM on November 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you so much everybody. Your thoughts on this subject are really helping to clear my mind a bit and I know the right decision has been made.

If the big fellow didn't have the surgery I wouldn't be able to live with myself. Not even just because I would miss the way he jumps on my back and lays on it while I'm bending to open a cabinet or pick something off the floor, or the way he bumps his head into my head for about 10 minutes when I lay down on the floor with him every day after work. Or the way he waits for me to come home from work every day right by the door. Or because I need to put my face in his belly fluff and he actually lets me. But because this is his life. He's not just living in mine. Phew. OK.
posted by smirkyfodder at 8:57 AM on November 2, 2010 [34 favorites]

I lost my cat last year. She was my oldest friend since I came to America.

Would I spend $2000 to save her?

I would spend $2000 just to see her again for just an afternoon.

It's a hard decision, but if you can live with the expense, I would try to save him.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2010 [31 favorites]

Slightly different take on it: I'd pay $2000 just to be sure I'd never hear the phrase, "That's a lot of money for an X. A lot more than it would have cost to save Buster back in 2010" during a particularly ugly fight.

There are things a spouse can forgive you for. It's not a stereo or a car, it's a responsive being that is a symbol and a vessel for unconditional love in the mind of a member of the couple (in this case, you).

$2000 is a small fee to reduce possible long-term resentment in an otherwise (assuming) happy relationship.
posted by Gucky at 9:06 AM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

I spent about $4,000 when my dog was run over by a car, and that was with insurance. I didn't have the money, but I did have a sympathetic vet who let me work out a reasonable payment plan since my credit card was marked for grad school and only grad school at the time. I also borrowed about $1000 from someone very wonderful, sympathetic, and close to me who trusted me to pay her back. I would not borrow money under ANY circumstances in the world except to save my dog's life.

When my previous dog was in the hospital, the vets there did a number of tests on her that insurance wouldn't have covered. This is the biggest secret and I'm nervous to tell it, but the vets at the hospital filled out my insurance forms for me and only marked down the tests that insurance would cover, sometimes substituting a test they hadn't done for a test they had done, just so that I could get coverage for everything--even with my dog's preexisting condition. This was at a student vet hospital where the workers were younger and less hardened to seeing people cry over their pets, so they were willing to do anything they could to help me.

A sympathetic vet can go a long, long way. If your kitty doesn't need the surgery immediately, ask around your area to see if anyone you know has had a wonderful experience. Call around, find out if there's a rare vet in the area who won't make you pay upfront.
posted by pineappleheart at 9:10 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's not a child; it's a pet, for which you have strong feelings. $2000 is a lot, but it's clearly a worthwhile cost for you. I think it's terrific that you and spouse share important financial decisions. You need to reopen this discussion.

"Spouse, I really want to spend the money for surgery for Cat. I will feel devastated and horrible if we choose to have the cat euthanized instead of correcting the problem. Here are some budget moves I/we can take to cover this cost."

We had a dog who was very expensive, with recurring costs of $1200+/year, plus lots of vet visits, and the occasional trip to the Emergency Vet. After the last 2 a.m. grand mal seizure, emergency vet, and housecleaning of a nature I'd prefer not to describe, I just couldn't do it anymore. I love animals, but I have limits. I see and sympathize with both sides.
posted by theora55 at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have learned a lot from this thread, and the perspectives offered here brought me over to the "do it" side of things (namely, the "plan how you'll make up the lost savings, and only do it when you have agreed that your plan is sufficient" side). Then I read this:

I have to admit that we're poor... We have to budget down to the dollar.

That drastically changes things. I am a cat person, but that cat is NOT your child and you should not fall on any grenades for it. Remember that.

Anyway, to directly answer the question about how to resolve the conflict: first, as some have said, try to resolve it. No one can "win" in this scenario until you both agree on the course of action.

Second, try to understand your partner's point of view and then reconcile it with yours. That's the nature of compromise. Probably your partner isn't opposed just to spending money on the cat, they are opposed to spending money on the cat that could otherwise go towards rent, food, and financial goals like retirement. Recognize that your partner isn't looking at this as "Cat vs Money" but rather as "Cat vs Rent/Food/Retirement," which is an understandable position. Then and only then you can work out a compromise. For instance, "we're here on our savings/budget/retirement account. If we have the procedure done, we'll be $2,000 behind, but here are some sacrifices we can make to improve our situation and get us back on track."

That's how you win - compromise so both parties' needs are accounted for. You get to take care of your cute little guy, and your partner still feels comfortable that there's a financial plan in place.
posted by Tehhund at 9:26 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

Just another anecdote, but in 2001, when my husband was unemployed, and I was working for minimum wage, and everything was DIRE, our cat got sick and needed a $1,500 procedure. We eBay'ed everything we could, and for Christmas that year, asked only for contributions to her surgery fund. Almost ten years later, our beloved cat is still with us, and every night she crawls into my lap, I know it was worth it, 100% percent.

Good luck to your little friend!
posted by polyester.lumberjack at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

You're obviously an articulate and thoughtful person - check out some of the threads on freelance writing here. Even though I just write for the content mills, my freelance income has been a lifesaver when money gets tight. You could earn $2000 in a couple of months just working in the evenings.

I am with everyone else here - since the kitty is relatively young, I would go ahead and do the surgery.
posted by Ostara at 9:35 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

We have dumped a significant amount of money into our now 15-year-old beagle. Some for ongoing issues, like diagnosing Cushing's disease, then treating it and the subsequent Addison's disease and the occasional Addisonian crisis, along with arthritis and general old-dog stuff. Our philosophy on the ongoing care is that, if it can be treated without distressing the dog and while maintaining his quality of life, we do it. I'd estimate that between prescription meds, a monthly vet visit for a shot, and prescription food, we spend about $200-$250/month on his care.

But we've also had some acute situations to deal with, most frequently because of the damn dog's tendency toward "dietary indiscretions" that result in emergency vet visits and overnight stays for treatment - the last one, in the spring, with regular and emergency vet visits including follow up, probably came close to $2000. I'll admit that we've not reached a ceiling on what we'll pay to keep him alive, because we have the available funds, but I do believe that we'd spend just about anything that wouldn't mean not paying a bill or caring for our kids, to get him the care he needs. And this is a dog I cuss out at LEAST once a day.

Your situation, with the likelihood that the surgery would completely clear up kitty's issues and give him a good, long, high-quality life, wouldn't even be a debate. If it were risky, or not likely to resolve the problem, we'd be having a different conversation. But it wouldn't be about the money (again, with the stipulation re: bills & kids' needs being met). I think you've already made your decision, and I hope you find a way to make it happen.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:42 AM on November 2, 2010

Ask your vet's office if they accept Care Credit. It's a credit card for health care (including veterinary), and if you pay off the balance is six to nine (maybe 12)months, depending on the amount you put on the card, there's no interest. BIG interest if you don't pay it off in time, though.
posted by Dolley at 10:16 AM on November 2, 2010

You said "first child" - if you're planning on a human child, you will find your priorities have drastically changed once they've arrived (or are in the process of arriving - neonatal care can be big money.) Everything from the time you'll need to take off after the birth (or adoption) to daycare to college tuition costs money - often big, big money. You'll wish you had that two grand back almost right away.

If you have no plans for kids or a house, then, yeah, I suppose you can move heaven and earth for your pet. People have spent far more on far less worthy things.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:27 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ugh...the longer version of this didn't get posted. Which is probably a good thing, so I'll post a shorter version.

My wife and I have a cat with the same condition. When we adopted her as a kitten, she had a chronic cough, and it ended up being diagnosed as a diaphragmatic hernia.

The vet would not make a recommendation for or against the relatively risky surgery (10-20% mortality rate), nor would she speculate on our cat's quality of life without it. We took our kitty home, and wrestled with the decision.

Her cough disappeared immediately after returning from the vet. Since she was happy and healthy in every other way, and her only complication from the condition had disappeared, we decided against the surgery. It's been four years, so I won't necessarily say that we are out of the woods yet, but today she is a happy, healthy, spastic, and completely wonderful little weirdo. Hopefully she'll remain that way for many years to come, and for the most part we've forgotten that there is anything wrong with her at all. But if that cough ever returns, we'll be back to square one.

Yes, there was some sticker shock about the price of the surgery, but that wasn't much of a factor in our thinking. I can really understand your spouse's reluctance to go through with it, because this isn't necessarily a clear-cut decision even without the price tag attached. Trust me, our cats are like children to us, we adore them and always want to make our decisions in their best interest, but sometimes it's just impossible to determine exactly what that is. I think you'll both have to give each other the benefit of the doubt in this case.

I'm certainly not trying to talk you out of it, because all cats are different, and I can't say what is right for yours. What I do know is that this is a heart-wrenching decision, and I really empathize with you both. Good luck, and many years of health and happiness to your kitty!
posted by malocchio at 10:30 AM on November 2, 2010

"the aftermath of a decision not jointly made"

I think it's vitally important that you make this decision together. Do NOT simply go ahead and do it without informing your partner.

I say this because I think that if my partner spent $2000 on vet bills without consensus (reluctantly given on my part or not) and we were "poor" and "budgeting down to the dollar", then I think I would be giving serious thought to leaving that relationship.

In other words, be careful it doesn't become a choice between losing your cat and losing your partner. I can't stress enough how important it is to come to consensus on this.
posted by knapah at 10:37 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.

After a financial downturn, my whole family was counting pennies, without credit & struggling to make rent. I'm glad that nobody makes me feel like The Parent Who Killed the Cat; but one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't try harder to somehow find the money to help my daughter's cat Otter Pop when he needed it.

I encourage you to try raise the funds if possible. It sucks to live with the regret, and in retrospect it seems like I keep finding stupid shit I spend money on that could have gone to the vet instead.

Wishing you all the best.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:00 AM on November 2, 2010

if you're planning on a human child, you will find your priorities have drastically changed once they've arrived (or are in the process of arriving - neonatal care can be big money.) Everything from the time you'll need to take off after the birth (or adoption) to daycare to college tuition costs money - often big, big money. You'll wish you had that two grand back almost right away.

I can not disagree with this more strongly. YOU may feel that way. Many people with children do not.

Talk to your vet about making payments. In all the clinics I've had experience with, they are interest-free.

Amortizing, as someone did above, puts this in perspective. $120 a year is 10 frickin' dollars a month.

I easily spent $10,000 in the last few years of Tasha's life (she had a healthy and inexpensive youth). She was my best friend for TWENTY-TWO years. I regret the money I've frittered on stupid shit, like everyone else. But I don't regret one dime of medical bills to keep my girl healthy and comfortable and with me as long as she was happy.
posted by cyndigo at 11:19 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

First thought: maybe you can contact the PSCPA or other pet-support agencies or groups to find alternative sources of funds. (I don't think the PSPCA would provide funds or medical support for serious work, but they probably know where to look next.)

I'll preface what I'm about to say with my own pet history: I grew up with a toy poodle who had to have some expensive eye surgery early in his life. The surgeries were successful, but he was mostly blind by age 3. He got around, and was a fine companion for our family. Beyond those first few expensive years, he was pretty trouble-free. He lived to be 14 years old, though his last years weren't graceful ones. I moved away to go to school while the little guy was getting on in years, but still doing well. When I came home, I saw him get worse in ways that were inevitable for an old dog. I felt sorry for him, and thought he should be put down, because he didn't seem to be his old self at all. But he wasn't my dog at that point. My parents had him checked out by a vet, who said he wasn't in pain, but he wasn't doing great, and that was good enough for them. He died in the car on the way to the vets, the very day they had decided to put him down. (And I'm tearing up writing this now.)

Now, I'm married to my wife, who had two cats when we met. One fellow is a big guy, but is still her Kitten, because he was the little cat who consoled her after the traumatic loss of her previous cat, including hefty vet bills and a surgery that didn't save the poor cat. We adopted a third cat, who is mine when she's a jerk, and ours when she's being nice. I love 'em all, but this question, the comments, and discussions with other people in the past has sent me thinking.

There are a lot of great animals in animal shelters, waiting for a good home. They're mostly healthy, ranging from young animals to older ones, frisky and full of mischievous live to calm and well-trained. For $2,000, you could have a new pet and keep it well for a long time, barring any tragic sickness or accidents.

I understand the attachment to pets, and I have pets I love. I love animals in general. But they aren't people, and there are a lot more pets who need a good home. I'm not saying you should put down a pet when it seems a bit under the weather, and I realize there are personal attachments that make these decisions excruciating to even ponder, but I can't forget the animals in shelters that might be put down because they have no home. Healthy animals, animals with years of life ahead of them.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

My sister looks at these things this way: You can reasonably assume that the cat would have at least 10 years of good kitty life, which maths out to 200/year, less than $20 per month. Maybe you can agree to make some sacrifice, commit an extra $20/month or so to savings and keep your spouse reasonably happy with the decision?
posted by ambient2 at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2010

If it's not emergent surgery -- if there's a strong possibility you'll have months or possibly years before his condition becomes life threatening -- is there any way you can bring him home now and start budgeting and saving for the eventual surgery? If you can find the money after the fact, you can probably find it before the fact, and have the opportunity to earn (paltry) interest on it or at least not pay interest on it. Twenty bucks a week is a thousand dollars a year, and even if he needs it before two years from now, you might have a substantial chunk of the cost saved up.
posted by KathrynT at 11:21 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing pet insurance for the future. I don't like paying it, but it's cheap compared to the exorbitant costs that could be required to save the life of the pets that mean so much to me. I signed up after a $1500 bill to help my ailing puppy for something that ended up being minor. If that's minor, I didn't want to be financially responsible for "major".
posted by cecic at 11:22 AM on November 2, 2010

Quick and dirty answer: Let yours go and save another from being put down at an animal shelter.

Your choice to adopt/care for/own a cat was just that. To you, right now, a random shelter cat does not equal your cat. However, that random shelter cat's life is just as important and valuable as your cats life. Instead of saving that shelter cat you are giving up a heck of a lot of opportunity cost to the vet, or as I call money of that magnitude 'boat payments'. Still, it's your money.

Full disclosure: I have one shelter rescued dog and another stray rescued dog. If one of them was to develop a bill of this size, regardless of age/quality of life I would let him/her go and, when I was ready, rescue another (or two, or more) for the above reasons.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:25 PM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

I say this because I think that if my partner spent $2000 on vet bills without consensus (reluctantly given on my part or not) and we were "poor" and "budgeting down to the dollar", then I think I would be giving serious thought to leaving that relationship.

Agreed. As someone who isn't a cat person, going $2000 into debt for a pet (especially on a credit card!?) when we were barely scraping by would create a lot of resentment on my part. To me that's a huge red flag of fiscal irresponsibility.

Obviously opinions will vary (just look through this thread), but it's worth noting that unless you're shouldering the debt yourself, your spouse might not react well to this.
posted by ripley_ at 12:31 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

If $2000 could have fixed my kitty, I would have paid it.

I still miss him. Blood clots, saddle thrombosis, went to the lungs. Not much at all we could have done. He was 9, and I expected to have him a lot longer.

His brother (who looks very much like your Mr. Cat) is doing OK but is still very mopey at times, and much clingier. The only companion he has now is our baby, and they are not quite friends yet (even though baby THINKS they are...)
posted by caution live frogs at 12:42 PM on November 2, 2010

For the moment, forget you're dealing with a cat, just to remove the emotion from it. Imagine that one of you wants to spend $2,000 on a thing that the other has no interest in, and that you don't actually need, such as a very large television or [insert your own appropriate thing here.]

What would you do, then? What kind of options would you have? How would you negotiate it?

I bring this up, because your cat represents a lot of emotion for both of you (your "child" and all that) and finances are best dealt with without emotion. Sit down and figure out what you can afford, as best you can, without emotion being involved.

If it turns out you just can't afford the money, then it's a moot point; if it turns out that you can, now all you have to agree on is whether this is what's best for you both, and for your cat. That's a very deep, personal, emotional thing -- which is why you have to try to decouple money from it -- and nobody can help you through the unique negotiations that you'll share.

Except to say this, of course: this isn't about winning or losing. It's about a delicate balancing act between how you each feel about the cat, the money, and each other's desires. You're going to learn a lot about each other, not necessarily all good stuff, so just hunker down and get through it and find out how you both deal with this kind of thing.

Good luck.
posted by davejay at 12:43 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I know a lot of people are chiming in that they've spent a lot of money on their pet, and they're glad they did, or they wished they could have and they regret not being able to. Just wanted to put in my own personal experience, which is that by and large the large sums of money we paid to extend the health of our oldest dog for a bit were not only painful (even compared to the $2,000 you're facing) and ill-afforded, but ultimately did little to change his health. He ended up passing away not from those things we were trying to fix, but from old age, and the last couple of days involved a lot of suffering for him. Looking back, I wish we hadn't spent the money, as in our case it changed nothing about how his life ended.

But that's how hindsight is, and no amount of "I did it/didn't do it and I am glad/not glad" is going to be relevant to you directly.
posted by davejay at 12:46 PM on November 2, 2010

I can tell you who wins: my Dad. He's the one who always wants to spend the money and my Mom doesn't. They've been married 50 years, probably had 15 pets and my Dad has gone without new things to pay for them quite regularly. Most recently he traded getting a new computer for their old dog to have some expensive tests. It seems to be working OK for them so far.
posted by fshgrl at 1:36 PM on November 2, 2010

My spouse and I are not rich. But I would gladly, in one hot second, pay $2000 - and then some - to have our cat, who died a year ago, back with us. We miss him terribly.
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2010

For future reference, I believe it was Lifehacker that recently suggested instead of paying for pet insurance which may or may not cover routine care, start a savings account specifically for emergency pet care like this. Put in whatever you can each month. Then if something like this were to happen again, it won't be such a struggle to come up with money.

Best of luck to you and your kitty.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:49 PM on November 2, 2010

We paid 500 bucks for a standard poodle because of my allergies. When dog was 4 months old, she started vomiting after every meal. After four weeks of this, she was thin and the vets were stumped.

Poodle liked to pick up sparrows that knocked themselves out on the windows. They cut her open and found an avian worm attached to the wall of her intestines.

We spent 3000 dollars that month. We could have spent 15 dollars de-worming her. Tell your vet this story. Maybe he'll think of something.

Our dog is 13 now. Vet says her physical age is 6. She's silly and fun, is the oldest Appalachian poodle to ever single-handedly tree a full-grown bear, and is great with our 4 year old. It was worth it.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2010

Maybe I missed it in scanning the comments but...would the question and/or answer change if you had a second cat? Get one now, for much less than $2000, and find out.
posted by Dick Paris at 4:17 PM on November 2, 2010

It depends on how you view the pet, and I think in your case it's clear ("first child" and all). [I'm the same way]. Those on the thread who are more skeptical don't view their pets the same way. If it was a human child, very few people would advocate not spending the money. Some of us really do feel that same level of attachment to a pet (who is utterly dependent on us in the same way). Of course when one spouse does and one doesn't, this is a tough thing. But for many people (quite possibly you) not doing anything here will hurt you for years, and odds are the money will be less painful in the end -- thats probably the best angle with your spouse.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:19 PM on November 2, 2010

Husband is the saver of money, spending only on necessities and keeping the list of what "necessary" means as short as possible.
When we were both broke and looking for work a few years back, our cats ended up needing a couple thousand dollars worth of surgery. He didn't hesitate for a single second before putting his credit card on the vet's desk (beating me to it only because my wallet had a clasp to undo).
Money is important, sure, but you can't make it more important than the life and comfort of loved ones. And our cats are sure as hell loved.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:47 PM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

And setting this as someone winning is problematic. Maybe it was just short-hand for "who should prevail," and if so, ignore the rest of this paragraph. But as I see it, it sounds like no one will win. If the cat doesn't get the surgery, his life could be drastically shortened. If he dies prematurely because of this, you'll be heartbroken and your spouse will feel awful for you, if not for the cat: no one wins. If the cat gets the surgery in the next few months, you'll scrimp and save, and maybe have to cut way back in some critical areas, possibly stressing your relationship with your spouse for the cat. The cat survives, but you're still stressed, and no one wins. And if the fates are cruel beyond compare, the cat doesn't survive the surgery, so you're out the money and the cat. Everyone loses.

What will you and your spouse be doing without to get the surgery done? If it's an uncomfortable pinch for a few months or maybe a year, how will your spouse deal with it? How will you deal with your spouse? Or will you not visit relatives at the holidays and no one gets presents for a while? If it's a loss of comfortable luxury goods, choose the cat. If it's a change in lifestyle, re-assess your options.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:02 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

For $2,000, you could have a new pet and keep it well for a long time, barring any tragic sickness or accidents.

There's no way to know that a new pet will be entirely healthy and totally free from accidents. Pets get sick. Accidents happen. How utterly crappy would it be to put a cat to sleep, only to adopt a new one that also develops health issues?

Maybe I missed it in scanning the comments but...would the question and/or answer change if you had a second cat? Get one now, for much less than $2000, and find out.

As in, maybe another way awesomer cat would make putting the first one to sleep okay? Animals are not disposable. And see my answer above. Signing up for potential unknown costs at this time makes no sense for the OP.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:44 PM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

But because this is his life. He's not just living in mine. Phew. OK.

Damn Skippy. Something's in my eye...

It's weird to me that some people are suggesting you should just go get another cat, animals are individuals with personalities. You can always get or make another child if the one you have dies, too, but nobody would ever suggest that was an answer to how to afford surgery for a kid. Animals aren't people, that doesn't mean that they can't hold a position of equal importance in some people's lives.

$2000 for curative surgery for a young cat who really enriches your life is a no-brainer, $2000 is nothing compared to what a wonderful pet brings to you. IMO. But then, like others have said here, I would pay $2000 to spend one more day with my last cat. I am a Crazy Dog Lady and I would donate organs if my dogs needed them (and could use them).

Look into CareCredit, most vets take it and they have interest-free payment plans (you can get 12-18 months interest free for the surgery costs you're looking at). Just be sure to transfer any remaining balance to another credit card if you can't pay it off inside the interest free period, because the interest, when they start charging it, is insane. It is very difficult for most vets to offer payment plans, veterinarians are usually small businesses with very limited finances.
posted by biscotti at 5:50 PM on November 2, 2010

(err...first of all, sorry to flf if i was a bit snarky, because that really isn't my intention.)

Our vet wouldn't give us any guidance on what to do in this situation, and it sounds like the OP's vet was equally evasive. I'm just not entirely sure that this diagnosis is an immediate, or nearly immediate death sentence. I am living with one ridiculously happy and active at that suffers from the same diagnosis...actually, we also live with one of her littermates (who also would get a little tired and start to pant after extended playtime, but is otherwise healthy and happy) who hasn't been diagnosed, because there has never been any reason for him to undergo the same x-rays. But since this is a congenital defect, he is at risk of having it as well.

My wife (who remembers this conversation with our vet much better than I), is telling me that we were told this condition is often seen in older cats, who have been brought in for other ailments, and is diagnosed much later in life as they are x-rayed for the the first time.

The OP states that this isn't an operation that needs to be performed immediately, but can be performed in one or two months. If the condition is well understood, then why this particular time frame?

I'm not asking that question out of idle wife and I are dealing with at least one cat with a similar situation, and coming at it from a very limited amount of information. I know that this conversation has become a cost/benefit analysis of a pet's life, but I'd really like to hear from someone knowledgeable about this particular ailment. I'm going to do some research of my own, and even though I'm not a vet, I'll share whatever I can learn with the OP.
posted by malocchio at 6:30 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would pay that amount of money many times over to have my little Jock with me today. We had the money. The vet was enthusiastic, right up to the point where he said, "he might even get another six months!". That was when we decided that it wasn't a money issue. But had he been much younger, I would have taken a second job, sold some of my stuff, anything.

And when I look at that photo you've posted, I can tell you love him and his little personality (why else would you take a photo of him when he's sleeping like that)? If that's the case, when he is gone the $2000 will feel like chicken feed in comparison to the hole you feel in your heart when you see his old food bowl, when he's not there to greet you when you get home, or when you discover some of his fur on his old blanket.

I don't believe in God. I'm not a religious person. But I hope there's a heaven, just for him. And I hope it's so beautiful and perfect for him that he never even thinks of me.
posted by Sutekh at 4:52 AM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

We had to make a decision whether to have "cherry eye" surgery on our 3 year old Tonkinese cat this year. It was about $1500... the cat wasn't doing to die from it, but he was clearly irritated by it. Our first (former) family vet told us to just give him drops once in a while if it got infected but that it won't hurt him long term. We googled and found that it WOULD cause problems long term such as a shorter life (from all the infections). (So we dumped our vet... anyway..)

We had the surgery (the vet gave us similar odds) and it was so worth it. Our baby is happy and healthy and that money was a drop in the bucket compared to what he gives to us every day. But Mr. Getawaysticks was on board from day 1, so that really doesn't answer your question. Just anecdotal, I guess. (And your cat is precious.)
posted by getawaysticks at 5:50 AM on November 3, 2010

I did not have a choice to save my dear Jake when he suddenly died earlier this year. I am still heartbroken. If I could have, I would have paid outrageous sums to save him then, and I would do anything to have him back right now, even if for just a few fleeting moments.
posted by ellenaim at 8:21 AM on November 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you again to everyone who commented and I want to say how sorry I am to those of you who lost a pet and shared your stories. My sweet little man cat was also not a survivor but in no way do I regret the decision to go for the surgery.
posted by smirkyfodder at 4:41 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry your kitty didn't make it, but glad that you don't have regrets and you can have peace knowing you did everything you could.
posted by booknerd at 7:40 AM on March 10, 2011

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