The $10,000 cat

I was looking at my cat today when a wave of sentiment came rushing over me. As I sat and gave her some pats I actually started to well up with tears. She turned 13 in July. That doesn’t sound so earth-shattering but put another way, I have had this cat for 13 years of MY life. And what a ride the last thirteen years have been. As I sat there, I thought that this cat has been my one constant companion through a starter marriage, divorce, second marriage, stepchildren, my mother’s death, the start and end of a business, the birth of a baby and has lived in eight different places I have called home. Did I mention she has three legs?

In April, we were hit hard in the pet department. My mother’s beloved cat Daisy was nearing the end, our Labrador lacerated her foot and Darla broke her ankle. Turns out, she had bone cancer that thinned the bone until it snapped.

So, reeling with sadness from putting Daisy to sleep the same week, I was not about to lose Darla too. The emotions one goes through when a pet is sick or injured are very real and very deep. But most of us don’t have pet insurance and those bills mount quickly. If it is a child, no expense is spared. But what about our pets? Sometimes, like in the case of an injury, you have to make a decision on the spot, surgery or death. And if a vet ever says “I’d like to take this in stages”, it is code for “multiple expensive visits”.

Anyway, emotions exposed to the elements and two different vet hospitals in Fairfield County, we started down the road to save Darla. Two surgeries, weeks of overnights and a mountain of vet bills later, Darla pulled through. I do appreciate all that my hometown vet did for Darla. They were doing their job, to save a life, and they did it very well. They had great compassion and in the end, tried to ease the bills when they could.

It has been three months since the drama of it all. She has mastered sprinting on three legs and all her hair has grown back. She is more ornery than she was pre-amputation. I guess I would be too.

This month my husband and I were going over our spending habits of this year. Come to find out, our vet bills in the last few months have totaled $10,000. That is hard to swallow. Every time I gave a vet my credit card, I cringed knowing the total was ticking away. But to see it on a spreadsheet, now, three months later when I am more removed from the situation, it is slightly nauseating.

I have been asking myself if I would do it again. I can’t think about it and don’t really want to. That is serious cash but as I look at this cat today, I see my history, my memories, all of my sorrows and happinesses. She is all of my experiences of the past 13 years.  I have had one husband, two grandparents, my mother and two other cats go but she remains. I can only imagine what Darla will see in the years ahead.  I am sure her Golden Years will be the best yet.

One Response to The $10,000 cat
  1. Molly
    July 19, 2011 | 5:58 pm

    This is my favorite post. I like the fact that she is the symbol of a part of your life.

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