Sunday, November 28, 2010

9 lives are about 8 too many

Yesterday I took this guy to the vet, which was a real treat. There is a reason why they use the expression "It's like herding cats" for anything that is difficult. Trying to herd even one cat into a travel cage to go to the vet is a nightmare. At least the kids thought it was funny...

So we get to the vet and they check him out and he now officially weighs 7 pounds and at his last visit (3 years ago) he was 12.95. And I do feel bad about this, the fact that he hasn't been to the vet in 3 years, when we used to take him every fall like clockwork. The start of the downward spiral came when we moved, and got busy with house stuff, and he has never really been outside since we have lived here which has made the need for his rabies vaccine sort of a moot point. Anyway, the vet then went on to say that he has a pretty significant heart murmur, which could be a big deal or maybe not - it's hard to tell in cats. She said that her guess at a diagnosis is that he has thyroid disease, which would explain both the weight loss and the heart murmur, but that she would need bloodwork to confirm it.

Bloodwork = $153. At this point I was ready to say, are you sure we can't just chalk up the weight loss to the fact that he has been eating diet cat food for the past six years and hey, maybe it just finally kicked in this year?? But no, I thought Captain deserved a proper diagnosis, so I agreed to the bloodwork. She took the cat into the back and I went out front to wait.

Ten minutes went by. Twenty. There were blood-curdling cat screams from the back room, and an elderly couple beside me who had brought their cat in with a fractured pelvis were holding each other practically in tears at the thought of what their poor Poopsie was enduring. Then the vet came back out, and addressed me.

"You cat has had... a bit of a freak-out," she said. "We don't feel that it's safe for him to continue to attempt the blood draw right now, so we're going to let him calm down a bit and then try again."

I wait another ten minutes... twenty... thirty. At this point the cat with the fractured pelvis has been x-rayed, morphine-patched, cone-headed and sent on his way ($395) and a dog has received a prescription for Valium. I am still waiting. The vet finally comes back out and tells me they still couldn't take Captain's blood without him being a bugger about it, and she is afraid with the heart murmur that he will literally die of stress if they keep trying. So she tells me to bring him back on Monday to try again.

There are a few problems with this scenario:

Number one - the amount of stress he will endure by me chasing him around the house again, trying to catch him and put him in the carrier, will surely not make him any better off for the Monday visit than he already was.
Number two - the howling on the drive across the city to the vet's office. Same issue.
Number three - the stress of me having to spend two hours going home, retrieving the cat, taking him to the vet's, going through this all over again, taking him back home and then getting back to work. I am freaking busy. I have better things to be doing on a Monday, which is why I brought him in on Saturday to begin with.

But she's looking at me like this heartless woman who hasn't had her cat to the vet in three years and who didn't even notice that he dropped half of his body weight until his spine started poking through his fur, so what can I do but agree??

If they can't get the blood on the first attempt tomorrow then they will sedate him to get it. Which is more expensive still. And which carries some risk because sedating a cat with a heart murmur is risky.

And then, assuming that this all goes down and they do indeed confirm that he has thyroid disease, then we get the pleasure of giving him pills twice a day for the rest of his life, which with my luck will be another fifteen years. We had to give him two or three pills, once, to de-worm him, and it was darn near impossible. How we are going to do that twice a day every day, I do not know.

Anyway, we'll see what happens. I truly don't wish any pain or suffering on this cat, I don't. But let's just say that if we were to die peacefully in his sleep while they were sedating him on account of the heart murmur... well, I wouldn't be on the warpath with the vet's office, threatening to sue and all. I would say that it was meant to be, be grateful for the ten years we had with him, and then take a break from pet ownership for a long, long time.


megan said...

Wrap him in a towel at then slide him in the carrier. It works for the wild cats my clients have when I take them to the OSPCA.

Dawn said...

awww, I hope it all works you may be closing your door on pethood, we are starting ours next weekend....our new puppy, Elliott Lyla, joins us on Sunday...shh it's a secret, the boys aren't expecting her until later in December.

The Robiltons said...

you should get a puppy!!