After we had our cat, Whiskers, put to sleep, my wife and I had time to reflect upon our decisions. It was not pretty. We totaled up out costs and they amounted, on paper, to be $9,931.56 and we ended up with a dead cat.
- Critical Care unit charges: $6,276.56. Housing the cat, x-rays, medications, evaluations, etc..
- Surgery charges: $3,655.00
Also the time involved was significant. I had to feed, give medications and a shot every four hours a day.
Whiskers would have accidents from time to time and I had to clean up those. We are still suffering from cat urine smell in our down stairs bathroom. I actually decided to skip the 2 am slot by working around the schedule of mediations and just did not give the cat any food for that slot of time. The feeding could take a half hour or more and at five feedings this amounted to using up two to three hours a day for a cat. The reason for this long feeding schedule is I had to mix the medications up. Pills had to be ground and blended with water and put into small syringes.
I had to blend the food with water in a blender so I could get the food into large syringes.
Previously blended food came from the refrigerator and thus had to be heated in the microwave. I had to move the cat into the feeding space. When I sat down beside the cat, I draped towels around me as the PEG tube some times would explode (it had two ports). I had to pull out stomach contents from the cat to see how much he had left in the stomach using the PEG tube. Pushing the food into the PEG tube could take 10 minutes or more. A few times I had to take a shower and clean a room up after the PEG tube exploded. Not calculated in the total cost was the significant drive time to and from the Critical Care unit, a half hour drive one way. Another cost was the special food diet. It took me half a day to find the correct food because our prescription was wrong and the food listed did not exist. Finally, I guess our first mistake was allowing a teenager to decide on the fate of the cat. If my daughter had paid half or more of the cost, I think the decision would have been different.
Added charges of gas costs running too and from the Critical Care facility and buying special prescription cat food probably made this the ten thousand dollar cat.
We paid for an autopsy on Whiskers in an effort to help progress the understanding of this type of problem. The report came back stating that the surgeon had left a small sponge inside the cat. When the surgeon found out about this, he gave me a call to tell me his mistake and apologize. We both decided that this had NO effect upon Whiskers.
Recommendation: The surgery group told us that their track record was 80 percent success. The Internet gave the odds well below 50. There are a LOT of cats needing a home and throwing almost ten thousand dollars to save a cat now seems a bit ridiculous. It is somewhat cruel to say this but although Whiskers was part of the family, we should have let go.