Today after four months I was finally brought to the rationalization that there isn't probably much more I am going to be able to do for my Buddy, a cat who wondered onto my porch as a kitten terrified out of his head over some fireworks. He was born feral in the garage next door behind me. I picked him up and put him in my house and he's been here ever since. That was so long ago it's really hard to pin point his exact age, I'd put it somewhere sixteen, maybe eighteen years ago. It's going to be rough deciding to make that final call, he's the only male in my life whose rather consistently remembered me on the holidays and my birthdays. Always bringing me his mice's, dropping them alongside my bed or leaving them laying outside my bedroom door. Outside of an occasional live catch over the years his cat nip stuffed one's are the usual fair he gathers up to bring me.
It's been pretty much the same routine over the years to keep him busy after deciding he needed to be an indoor cat. He brings me the mice's then I take them and scatter them back around the house to start the whole process again. Him being feral I've often used them to convince him to come out from where ever he's decided to hide. I've got the mice's I'd tell him. I've had people stay with me for days without ever realizing I have more than one cat. It usually ended up being a story of being startled in the middle of the night after realizing something was on their feet. You've heard that old saying keeping something at arm's length...well he invented it for feet as that is where you'll find him....keeping you at feet's length. In that regard he's made a god awful bed partner as you can move about any part of your body except your feet. I guess he'd always just figured that's the amount of space he needs for a head start in case you contemplate trying to pick him up. Even after all these years he's always remained suspicious of any reason you may have for wanting to pick him up....and if you don't out smart him from the get go to do even the most basic of things like putting flea guard on him he'll escape and it will take you days to find him again and no amount of mice's you have to offer up is going to change his mind....well until recently when trips to the vet he found himself feeling so much better that he's decided that humans aren't so scary after all and even did a photo session out onto Facebook with my son. My son who spent many years living with him also was in total disbelief the cat would even let him near him and now here was the two of them doing Facebook together. I told the vet on our next visit I didn't know what they did but after years of hiding out he's out doing Facebook now.
What's ailing him now started many years ago. He's always been a bit of a retard...lovingly that is. He never really got over the loss of his mother, each time before he drinks from his bowl he has to go through this ritual of kneading on the floor, that's where he started getting called lovingly retarded, that and the fact he'd run from his own shadow. He'd go out and being the scaredy-cat he was he'd run away from anything that moved. Sometimes it'd take me days to find him. Each day going out a little further in different directions yelling his name until he finally heard me and found his way home. Don't ask me how he manged to survive blizzard conditions for several days as I barely survived them looking for him. He'd never coming running up to you or go sit by the back door and meow like a normal cat, no that would have been way to simple for him. Even though you were the most trust worthy person in his life he had to stalk you on his way back home trying to figure out if you were up to something devious like trying to apply a bit of flea repellent to his fur. See what I mean?...out there for days going hungry and he has to sit out there awhile in the bushes deciding upon your intentions before meowing and you couldn't just open the door and let him in...that also would have been way to easy, nah he'd preferred you open a can of tuna then trot through several feet of snow to reach him then slowly coach him everything was alright and to come on in and eat this tasty can of tuna. Sometimes he'd come back pretty marred up that whatever he was out there attempting to catch to quell his hunger got the best of him. Then one day he came back with a big chunk bitten out of his face and a huge blood blister on his ear that I finally just told him you are just way to retarded to be allowed to go back out there. The vet said his face would heal and the blood blister would go away on it's own but that really never happened. It dried up but it left a bump on his ear that over the years managed to close up his ear and eventually caused an infection inside. Once they removed the bump and got the infection to heal they could see he had a growth on or near his eardrum. It's to deep and big enough that they can't see if it's attached to his eardrum, nor can they reach down in there far enough to snip off a piece to see if it's cancerous, they don't have the tools for that and it usually requires a specialist to do which would also require taking the cat to the other side of the state to have done. The other option would be to have them remove the growth for around twelve hundred dollars but unlike taking the cat across the state it wouldn't get biopsied until after the surgery to determine if it's cancerous or not, whether they do it that way or I have it biopsied by the specialist there isn't much cost difference but it would be much more expensive to have the specialist make that determination plus remove the growth if it wasn't cancerous. The cats general overall health assessment looks good, they aren't feeling or have observed any growths on his other organs but just getting to this point over the last three to four months with these reoccurring ear infections has cost several hundred dollars and that doesn't even include the almost two hundred to take my other cat to the vet after his initial visit and he came home with everything loosing up and sneezing all over her to give her a bacterial viral infection.
I think veterinarian cost have gotten out of control in this country. When you think about it costing you a hundred and fifty four dollars a month to take your cat to the vet for an ear infection that seems a bit extreme. I could see the initial visit and assessment. There's the option of leaving the growth there and waiting to see if it gets any larger but they figure it's the growth causing the infections which can be treated as they occur but who's got a hundred fifty four dollars a month to do that. Figuring you would be having to do that until the end of his life that could be costly. Just like the shot they gave my other cat, it was the office visit charge, twelve bucks for the shot and this is the kicker....twenty four dollars to give the cat the shot. The shot was actually cheaper than giving it to her. It's ridiculous really. Just like the ear infection, charge of office visit, run a test to see if the infection is still there, wipe out the ear and apply more antibiotic ointment...one hundred fifty four dollar a pop with forty eight dollars of that being the office visit. It just seems rather high for a ear infection. I know they want to recoup their cost of college education and they have overhead cost but a liquid steroid they had me order straight from a pet supplier costed me forty three cents a dose and he needed three doses, it wasn't something they kept stocked or you could get at a pharmacy so that's why they didn't charge me like five hundred percent more for it if they had stocked it.
It's not like they say to you if you want we can do this for awhile and have you bring him back in a couple two, three months to see if the growth has gotten larger, we'll give you the antibiotic cream to apply inside his ear and you only have to bring him back before then if you notice any discharge whereas we'll clean the ear and take a look at the growth. At this point it's sort of obvious what bacteria is occurring as they claim to be able to smell it as it has a certain smell to it so charging for the culture is rather repetitive so unless the ointment stops working there shouldn't be a discharge....but making it cost effective to have to keep from having to put your pet down until it's obvious there's no other choice involved other than cost they hand you several brochures detailing hospice care for your pet, burial services available for your pet and a leaflet detailing how you can have your pets ashes saved inside a handcrafted keepsake. Probably, I say that as I have not called about it, for hundreds of dollars more you can get this cat hospice service veterinarian to come to your home for end of life care and euthanasia for your companion animal. I am sure they'd be more than willing to take your deceased pet (for a charge of course) to the pet funeral home where they will then be cremated and prepared for burial at the Sleepy Hollow Pet Cemetery for a mere few hundred dollars more. I bet they just love people who have tons of money to burn. Sorry about your loss but here's some brochures if you want to burn a few more hundred dollars. I mean you really have to be completely emotionally detached to hand someone whose making a end of life decision for their pet based on cost then hand them several brochures detailing how you can spend hundreds more. You know what else I can do when the time comes?...I can take him to the local animal shelter and for twenty bucks they'll handle his final moments and the end result will be same and hundreds of dollars less, of course I won't be any less emotional but I won't be subjected to any fake narcissistic indifference.