So tonight I got a text from my mother that she is pretty sure that she is going to have to put one of our cats down. Now since Thursday of last week we have been dealing with some issues with him. His name was Harpo and we have had him for eleven years. He was born in the Cat Hospital of Auburn (MA) on February 13, 2000. He was named Harpo after the Marx brother who did not speak because instead of meowing he would just open his mouth and no sound would come out. My mother loved him more than any of the other cats she had.
Last Wednesday she noticed that he was trying to urinate but nothing was coming out. Turns out his urinary tract was blocked and he was unable to empty his bladder. This is a potentially life threatening medical issue because if the bladder keeps filling up it will burst causing the cat to die a horribal death. She made an appointment with him at the Route 20 Animal Clinic. I brought him there because she was working and I was off until the afternoon. When I got there the doctor weighed him, took his tempertature rectally and then told me that the cat needed to be unblocked immediately, and that it would be "about a ten minute procedure" and he then told me that he was short staffed and told me to go somewhere else. Of course he charged me $39 for the office visit, having done nothing but tell me he cannot help and to go somewhere else. Apparently it costs $39 for that. It wasn't as if we just dropped in on him and asked him to do something that he had no preparation for. He knew exactly why the cat was coming in and what needed to be done the ngiht before when the appointment was made. One can only assume that he also knew he would be short staffed as well, seeing as how the girl was on vacation.
The last time I had gone to this clinic was May 14 of this year. I had gone with Ashleigh and her cat for an emergency visit and was turned away because, according to the receptionist "He is only working until 1 and wants to leave early". I explained to her that it was an emergency and that my family had been coming here for about 10 years with our cats and dogs. She said she knew that, but directed us to go elsewhere. It was amazing that she knew that, because I did not tell her my name.
So I took Harpo to the Cat Hospital of Auburn where he was born. They gave me an estimate of $500-$800+ to get him all set. I said there was no way I could afford that, could they work with me/my family after 16 years and literally tens of thousands of dollars spent there.
I was told all fees had to be collected at the time of the cat's pickup from the hospital.
They would not take a postdated check.
They asked if we had anyone we could borrow the money from. I don't know about everyone else here but neither I nor my friends have $500-$800 just sitting around.
I applied for Care Credit- sort of like a credit card for vets- and was denied.
They would not take a partial payment and a check, but hold on to the check for a week until everyone got paid. They said that was illegal. Bear in mind, we had done this befofre.
I said I would have to take him home and we would explore other options. Vet told me that would be "cruel and unusual" and that if money was an issue, it would only be $75 to put him down.
After some haggling and figuring out what the bare minimum that could be done - catheterization and drainage- they got down to $179.11. And even with that, I had to ask Ashleigh for money. So they did their thing and he was taken care of. An hour later my dad called to tell me that we wouldn't need to borrow Ashleigh's money because he had won $488 on the daily lottery number.
Awesome! Things are looking up!
But Friday came and Harpo was home but still had not urinated. After calling 15 places all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island, my mother finally resigned herself to the fact that she would have to put him down. She brought him to Tufts because she was getting attitude from people demanding that if she was going to put him down, she come in and do it bt 11:30 because people wanted to go home by noon.
Tufts worked with her, allowed her to post-date checks from now until October. It cost about $1200 but everything that needed to be done for Harpo was being done.
Awesome! Things are looking up!
Then I get a text tonight from her saying that she thought she might have to finally do it. His bladder was still full and hard and felt ready to burst. We had not choice but to put him down. I met her at Tufts, Ashleigh came with me. My brother Dave drove mom and Harpo in. On a whim, I stopped at Sunoco and bought a scratch ticket, praying for a miracle. I matched both numbers on my ticket...could this be the windfall we needed to save Harpo??
Four. Fucking. Dollars.
It would have been better to not win anything because seeing that the ticket was indeed a winner only filled me with a sliver of hope. I forget who said it but the quote goes "Hope is the worst of all evils for it prolongs the torments of man". That's the fucking truth.
So we brought Harpo in, we had our time with him after mom tried anything and everything to get them to help us out -"Are there any studies going on, are there any students that can maybe work on him so we don't have to pay thousands of dollars for treatment?"
What was one of their solutions?
Sex reassignment surgery.
Let me repeat that.
Sex reassignment surgery. Turn him from a boy cat into a girl cat. Are you fucking serious?? That's an option? Spend thousands of dollars on a surgery that has a fucking terrible track record and has less than a 50% chance of success, requireing thousands of dollars in follow-up surgeries...or kill him? What kind of busisnesses are these fucking places? Why do they tell you your options are to ease the animal's suffering by spending everything you have on radical surgeries that most likely won't work or forcing you to end their suffering by holding them in your arms as they die because you don't have the money to save them!?! It would be one thing if there were payment plan options or something like that. But they want their money as soon as the services are rendered. It's a horrible thing, let me tell you, to have to watch a vet inject shit into the companion you have had for ELEVEN YEARS that you watched come into the world, to literally feel the animal's life drain out of him as you hold him. To feel him purring against your hand until the poison surging through his body takes his strength away from him, to look into his eye as he dies, knowing that he cannot understand why you are doing this to him. I was so angry, so angry. I hated having to put him down. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever had. My mother was beside herself.
That is why I am writing this at 315 am, why I can't sleep. I needed to get this off my chest, get this out there so that people could see the types of things that we had to deal with. Now we spent $179.11 in Auburn, and another $1200 at Tufts. Then we STILL had to bring him back and they put him down, and THEN THEY CHARGED US ANOTHER $350 FOR IT! Ashleigh was awesome though. She paid for our visit tonight, because the assholes were DEMANDING something, they couldn't just bill us for it, they couldn't just take another postdated check. They wanted at least HALF at that moment. Don't give us any time to grieve, just trot out the fucking bill.So after all they did, he was still suffering and now he's dead. When my mom wakes up (if she even sleeps tonight) she is going to bury him in the front yard. It cost us $1750 for nothing. And it broke her heart to do what she did. She blamed herself for not making enough money to save her kitty.
Even if you don't have pets, you have to be enraged with this story. If you do I hope that none of them EVER have to go through this. And I have a horrible feeling that this is just the beginning. We have two dogs, 13 and 12 years old. We have several more cats, some aged 15, 16, 13 years old. It sucks.
Look I know that this rant sort of makes me seem like less of a big scary horror writer, but when you love something and you have to choose between money you don't have, and aren't able to get and killing that thing you love, you feel depressed and angry and like a piece of shit. I feel so awful. I can't sleep. I'm venting on my blog about something that I could not control, and I am still angry. I have to go to work tomorrow, but I still cannot force myself to get back into bed, even though there is no more comfortable place than next to Ashleigh. Nothing makes me feel better than to curl up next to her. And even that right now, is not helping. I appreciate any words of encouragement, any comments you may have. Thanks for reading.