Monday, May 18, 2009

The Great Cat Debacle of 2009

This all started out with the best of intentions. Honest! Lots of marauding felines were marking our house, so I thought I'd do the right thing. I got a trap, and have been neutering every tomcat I can get my hands on. The San Jose animal shelter has a fabulous feral cat program that fixes (spays or neuters), vaccinates for rabies, and even de-fleas for a whopping sum of $20. At that rate, I can afford to help a whole lot of kitties.

Well, I could have. And then I cleverly left my trap set last Thursday night.

At first, I was thrilled because the cat I caught has been the neighborhood terror for quite awhile. He looked pretty awful, the weather was predicted to get hot, and I was happy to get him off the street for some medical attention. Alas, I had neglected to note that the San Jose shelter does not take ferals on Fridays. No problem! There are low-cost clinics around!

I found a low-cost clinic, but apparently "low cost" means different things to different people. Because the cat was so grouchy and so unwell, he needed sedation so that the vet could draw blood. The vet had some suspicions about FIV, the kitty version of AIDS, which would make him unsuitable for release. I gulped and okayed the charges.

The next day, the blood work came back and was of course positive. No wonder he was so mean-this kitty was in some bad shape. I gave the okay for euthenasia and cremation. I went to the vet to sign the paperwork and pay the bill.

Four hundred dollars later, I'm scratching my head. I don't question her charges-small veterinary practices are businesses and she really did give this cat some tender attention. But wow could we not afford that. This is the month for retiring every last penny of our credit card debt. Massive vet bills weren't really part of that plan. So, tomorrow is the day that I finally clean out the garage and take pictures of stuff to sell. I think I can get half to two-thirds of the bill knocked out, and we will still be able to say we're free of credit card debt by the end of this month.

From here, I'm not sure I want to keep trapping cats. I know that someone needs to, because the animal suffering (not to mention the property damage) will continue as long as there are fertile felines roaming the street. Luckily, there are several local organizations which can help with the trapping and fixing of kitties. I'm happy to do the work, but I'm not so happy to foot the bill.


Little Green said...

This is terrible Heather. What an ordeal. What about that last sentence though? Does your own cat have the disease too?

SWE said...

Whoops-too much cutting and pasting while typing late at night. We're kitty-less ourselves for now, and perhaps the forseeable future. Ironically, we aren't prepared to take on the financial responsibility of a cat right now.

That said, all of my neighbors seem to let their cats roam, which means that their cats have a really good chance of being infected with this disease. And the more they go out, the more likely it is that they will pick up an opportunistic infection that will kill them.

Anonymous said...

You are doing a good deed. Too bad it costs you money, time, energy. Just keep telling yourself how much you are making the world a better place for one and all.