A Question For All

Hi everyone! This week I am skipping some hops to ask an important question, but first I need to give you some background. I know I have written before, but just in case you are a new reader I will fill you in. In 2010 when I reached the magic number of 15 cats and the end of my hubby’s patience, I started to see a therapist. I never want to be a hoarder, I want to help cats and I need to be able to care for the ones I have and give them a clean place to live and medical care. Since then I have never surpassed the number 15.

During these past 6 years, I have spent a small fortune on my cats to keep sick ones alive. I am always willing to use my maximum credit card limit if there is any hope of helping one of my cats. Last week, my therapist told me about some people he knows that are financially better off than I am, but they set a limit on what they would spend to save their cat. He said they love it, but it is “just a cat”. This really angered me and I told him that I hope karma bites those people in the *ss. I also told him I am glad that the people I know realize there is no such thing as “just a cat”. Their lives matter as much as a human one. I don’t understand how anyone could spend any time with a cat and not feel this way.

My question for all of you is- would you set a limit on spending because it is just a cat? I realize most of us do have to make money based choices, but that is to meet basic needs, I am asking if you could afford to spend any amount would you still set a limit? And do you think in the terms of “just a cat”? I appreciate everyone’s input even if you don’t agree with me ( although, I am hoping you do). Thank you!

And P.S. Annie’s 19-Somethin Challenge Question is What is Something About Your Younger Years you would not change? I would not change the time spent with my grandparents, I do wish they lived longer.

 

121 thoughts on “A Question For All

  1. I cannot say strongly enough that no cat is ever “just a cat.” My beliefs are that animals are as important as humans. I would never set a limit of how much i would spend on a cat, but i have heard of people doing that. i am willing to go without many of my “wants” for my cats. I don’t see that as martyrdom–my cats are family. Of course, i don’t have endless funds–most of us don’t. But again, i would set some kind of limit for my cats.

    • Thank you for your answer, I am pleased to see you feel the same as I do. I wish we did all have endless funds, but I know many can’t afford to do as much as they would like. I have been fortunate to have enough credit when needed. XO

  2. I can’t tell you no, your life is your life, in my life I realized I could only afford 4 pets (and or children) at a time.
    I HAVE used my credit card for my kids and my pets, but Credit Card money is expensive. I fond it is too easy to use and too hard to pay back. I try not to use it.
    And life circumstances can change in an instant. Right now, without a shared income, I can really only afford 2 kids and pets…

    Nellie’s Mommy

    • I know you take excellent care of your furbabies. I also know many can’t afford to do everything medically necessary because they need money for rent, etc.

  3. Well, we certainly do agree that a cat is never “just a cat.” Your other question is one that might not have a right or wrong answer. Everyone is different, as are people’s financial situations. We do whatever we can to make sure our cats have the best possible quality of life.

  4. “Just” a cat?! What kind of thinking is that? My human would spend whatever it took to keep us healthy, as long as it was clear we wanted to keep going. And I know her boyfriend spent a fortune on his dog the last year or so of her life (and nearly ruined his back carrying her around too). My human might get this behavior genetically because her parents were the same way. The only limits she has is how many cats she can have, because she knows what she can afford.

    Get a new therapist.

    • Thank you for your input. I am glad I see so many that think the same way as I do. My therapist is actually very nice, he just knows I am in a constant state of anxiety because I am always charging vet expenses and hiding it from the hubby because he is frugal and thinks vets run up the bills.

  5. Hypothetically, if I had unlimited billionaire funds, I would not set a limit as long as the treatment was to allow the animal to maintain a high quality of life. I would not seek treatment, even if it was inexpensive, if it did not maintain or improve their quality of life.

    In real life, I did not pursue some treatment options for several of my cats. This wasn’t because I couldn’t afford it, but because it was not in their best interest. The decision did not include “it’s just a cat/dog”.

    For those who choose to set a limit (whatever the amount or reason), I’d rather see them surrender or euthanize their pet then let them go untreated and suffer.

    • I agree that quality of life is the main issue even before expense. I will do whatever I can to help my cats if there is hope for a good life. Thank you for your input.

  6. For me, this is a no-brainer. I would never NOT spend the money (if I had it, of course) because “it’s just a cat” (or dog, or whatever), as long as the treatment was not simply extending a life of misery.

    I was so mad the other day at some announcer (on NPR of all places) mocking a woman for spending $300 to treat an illness in a pet goldfish. Now, I am not a big fan of fish, but I am willing to bet this guy has spent WAY more than $300 on some stupid pieces of crap in his life. If people want to spend their money on animals instead of on electronic gadgets, good for them.

  7. First, to answer the question at hand, no, I do not and would not ever set a limit. If I can help my furbabies and give them a good quality of life, then there is no limit. I will always find a way to do what needs to be done for them.

    That being said, nothing gets my goat more than hearing someone say “it’s just a cat” or “it’s just a dog”. I used to work at a cat clinic, and it disturbed me how many people would say that directly to my face and other staff members, including the veterinarian. To me, they are family. My furbabies are my kids. I took it upon myself to adopt them as my own, and now it is my responsibility to give them the best life possible.

    Of course, I know everyone has different outlooks and opinions, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. And of course everyone has different personal factors, including income, family size, and various commitments, that will affect their ability to afford things such as care for their cats and dogs. But, I myself could never imagine trying to formulate a number above which I would call it quits for my kitty or pup. I could never put a price tag on my furbabies, and even in the hardest of financial times, I would find a way to make it work.

    Well, now that I’ve ranted that out, thank you for sharing this post and your thoughts with us! I know that this can be controversial topic, but it is an important one. Purrs!

    • Thank you for your input and rant- I feel the same way. That really angers me too when someone says just a dog or a cat—or even a rabbit or guinea pig. If we love a pet and have an emotional connection than we should make every effort to make it healthy.

  8. I’ve set Toby aside today in order to answer this question. If I had unlimited funds I would never set a limit on what I spend on and for my cats. But the reality is that I do not have the funds for that dream. My cats do not go to the vet on a regular basis because I cannot afford it. Vet care is expensive and my budget does not allow for such expenses. They are fed well and healthy but if a serious illness was to come up – don’t hate me for being totally honest here – I would have to let them go to the Bridge instead of getting treatment. Just that statement alone makes me want to cry but the landlord, utilities, and hungry tummies are unforgiving and given the hard choice, I would make that decision. All of my cats, except for Toby, are foundlings and the life I have given them has been far better that life on the streets. That said, my mom has come to my rescue twice in the past year with Angel LadyBird and Toby. But I am in the hole to her by over $800 and have yet to even pay her back a smidgen. After Piper died last year I was planning on cutting back on my pets through attrition but Life had other plans and brought PeggySue and MerryBelle to my literal doorstep. I hope this helps with your thought process. Also, one more thing, as a long-term therapy-veteran, remember part of a therapist’s job is to disagree with you and make you angry – all in an effort to make you think about what you think and believe.
    Love you, Sabina

    • Thank you for your input, I know you take great care of your kitties even if you can’t always afford vet care and you have given them all a better life than they would have had. If they ever do need care, please post about it and start a fund page because I will help and I know many would. XO and Love to you and your kitties.

  9. Any life is not ‘just’ whatever it is..we had 4 kids did not own our own home and were heavily insulted by many family and people who did not know us..we gave them everything they needed..we did fine..because we wanted kids to love and cherish..those kids are all adults now and seem to think at times we might want to not get anymore animals and enjoy our lives..well the fur babes we have DO help us enjoy our lives..they are family..not ‘just’..but family..we have since Jan spent nearly 12 thousand dollars..ok we have senior pets..we knew this would happen..but not one cent will we ever spend on lengthening a life just because we cannot let go..we will do what we have to to see our anipals are well looked after..safe..happy and that is the way we decide what is spent..no amount of money would have given our Forrest quality of life..and now we face congestive heart failure with Doc we are aware we are on the downward slide..for now we are happy to pay for his meds as he is still happy to be a doggie..when he loses his zest for being a doggie then we will respectfully and lovingly say goodbye..times are tough for so many and i believe most people who do not have the funds but love their pets face awful choices..and any of us can be in that boat..but people who think an animal is ‘just’ really do not deserve that pet..makes it so unfair when people who dearly love their pets cannot afford treatment while others simply do not get it..

    • Thank you for your honest and sweet answer. I know your pets are your family and how much you have done to help them. I agree that quality of life is very important, even more than cost. I am like you and will spend all I need to if I can have more time with my kitties as long as they are not suffering. That is what I love about the blogosphere, finding so many like minded people. XO

  10. This makes me angry too. A cat is not” just a cat”, an animal is not “just an animal”

    I dream of rescuing many cats but I know I can’t afford more than one at the moment. I would give anything for my Athena and there is no amount I would not spend. I have a credit card and pet insurance. I hope one day I can afford to help and rescue more cats.

    Marie

    • You are smart to have pet insurance, I have so many cats that I can’t afford it for all so I don’t want to choose who would get it. Thank you for your answer, I am glad we think alike. XO

  11. Oh I definitely get upset when people say “it’s JUST a cat (or dog or any animal)”…..they are living, breathing, TRUSTING little souls that we bring into our lives to give them the best life possible and allow us to use our nurturing skills. Give love – receive love……so hearing people say “JUST” is very sad. I do believe that some people go too far to keep a pet who is gravely ill, or has no real chance for quality of life going because most of the time – the HUMAN just can’t accept the situation and can’t seem to let go. Meanwhile the animal is not happy…..not feeling well…..and we’re truly tuned into our pets, we KNOW this. We don’t have any kind of financial tie connected to caring for Sammy – we will do what we can to keep him healthy, but if he should become worse because his body is simply breaking down due to age or some incurable disease, we will love him enough to say goodbye knowing we gave him the best possible happy life. I have known people go into considerable debt to keep a pet who obviously was in distress or in pain “going” for the simple reason that while the pet was ready to go to the Bridge, the human just couldn’t LET GO. Everyone has to do what’s right for them AND their pet though……………We love Sam to bits and he’s almost 17 so we know we will face more challenges as we go forward but everything we do for him will be done with LOVE in mind – NOT our pocketbooks!

    Hugs, Pam

    • Thank you for your input, Sam is so lucky to have you as his Mom. I agree we need to think of them first and be sure they won’t be suffering to have more time with us. I also know some can’t afford to do everything medically possible, but they still don’t think of a pet as “just” a pet, that is so sad. XO

  12. We spent over $10 000 in 11 months for our first angel Loki (a dog). We didn’t set a limit per say but we always worked to balance his quality of life and ours. When our angel Gemini (also a dog) was injured and left brain dead. I was given the option to spend another $10 000 for a consult with a specialist. In that case, I decided not to. I think you have to figure out where your line is, and accept it, even though it isn’t just a cat. (That would tick me off too!)

    • Thank you for your input, I agree we need to think everything through to do what is best for the beloved pet. I commend you on all you did spend on your angel Loki.

  13. We have, and will continue to do whatever we need to do for critters. It is not about money. It is about compassion and quality of life. If we can help them, make sure they have a good life, then it is our place to do that. They deserve be happy and healthy. It is always about quality of life.

    When we take a critter into our family, we owe them that. There is a commitment to give them what they need. Love does that. Some people see animals as possessions. We see them as family members. There is the difference.

    • Thank you for your input, we think exactly alike when it concerns our furbabies. I am glad so many people in the blogosphere feel this way and realize pets are family. XO

  14. I would not set a limit either. I’m very allergic to cats so I’ll use my wonderful dog Little Bit as my example. She had lots of medical issues as she aged and we addressed each one of them no matter the cost. She was not just a dog, she was a family member. She passed last October and the pain is still very raw. We don’t feel any guilt though because we gave the the best life we could possibly give her.

    Have a blessed day. ☺

    • Thank you for your input. I am sorry about Little Bit, I commend you on the excellent care you gave her without worrying about the cost. I hope you had a nice day too.

  15. Our cats are FAMILY, not “just a cat.” I would not set a limit either. Making a decision on caring for our cats has many factors–age of cat, other health conditions, quality of life, etc. Yes, money is a factor, but not the only one. That being said, I would not be extreme about spending. I know someone who was nearly 100K in debt because she did everything possible for her cats, and sadly, she could not afford that.

    I have seen both ends of this spectrum. A co-worker had a dog and once told me that if something cost more than $500, he would euthanize the dog. OTOH, another co-worker and his wife have long had Scotties and have spent many thousands on cancer treatment and surgeries, only to have the dogs not live much longer any way.

    You need to do what you feel is right in your situation, and what is right for the animal. So the short answer is, there is no easy answer. But to say it’s “just a cat” is wrong.

    • Thank you for your input. I am glad we agree that a cat or any pet is not “just” that. I would probably be that in debt if my credit limit were higher. My biggest was 6 thousand for KaChoo and she didn’t survive. I have spent about that much this year, but it was on several with ultrasound and Sam’s surgery and special food. Your co-worker sounds like a jerk.

  16. I would not set limits on per animal. That being said it would depend on finances and the best interest of the family member. Recently we had to choose between two treatments for Seuss and had to choose the one we could afford. I feel we did make the correct decision and he is doing well. We did sit down and figure out how many we could afford before adopting any of our family members. Once they are adopted you do the best for them not up to a certain dollar amount per member. pam

  17. First off, congratulations on working through your therapy; I tell myself that I don’t have the funds for it, but I’ve got enough to keep four (now five!) cats fed and going to the vet as necessary. I wonder if your therapist’s patients actually do set a limit for ‘just a cat’, or it that is his own feelings? When we decide to adopt a cat or dog, they are now ours, and do unto others rule applies. Spend $10,000 for an additional one week…well, no, but I’d never set a limit to help someone who lives in my house, sleeps on my bed, and eats my food.

    • He just said it was someone he knew, didn’t say if it was friends or a patient. I think he was trying a new approach to my therapy being that I always have high credit card bills from vet bills. Thank you for your input and I am glad we agree that a limit should not be set for those we love. XO

  18. First, I would just like to say our pets are our family. Would anyone ask how much is too much to spend on a sick kid?
    I believe it is whatever someone is comfortable spending without going into debt. There is also a quality of life issue. Do you spend thousands on chemo to buy a few extra months and your pet suffers or do you let them go before they are completely debilitated? Personally, I would spend whatever it takes if there is a reasonable chance for improvement. On the other hand, my heart breaks for those who have to make a decision between life and death of a beloved pet simply because finances afford them no other option.

    • Thank you for your input, my feelings are the same. I do feel bad for anyone that wants to help a pet and just can’t afford it or even get care credit. I agree that quality of life comes before expense, but no matter what they are our family. XO

  19. Thank you for such an honest post and one that has generated lots of thoughts and consideration. Of course a cat is not just a cat. It’s sad when people feel this way, and I would prefer not to surround myself with people like that. While I would never say that I would set a limit, I also think weighing the cat’s qualify of life is very important. However, that wasn’t really your question. So no, I would never set a limit on something like that. We’ve had our senior dog for 13 of his 14 years. And in that time, he’s had three back surgeries, which some pet owners would not have paid for. We do say that Eddie is lucky to have ended up with us – people who were willing (and able) to pay for his surgeries. And guess what, he recovered from each one! He’s lying next to me right now as I write this. Now, had we set a limit, it probably would’ve been less than the combined amount we’ve spent on him. But we didn’t, and he’s here with us today, living his old-man dog life.

    • Thank you for your input, and I am happy we feel the same. I am glad Eddie has come through his surgeries so well and that he is your baby because many probably wouldn’t have done so much. I love that the blogopshere is such a caring group that does know what is important and that is our family- fur or no fur πŸ™‚

  20. First, I must address grandparents. They were the very best part of my life. I spent more time with them than anyone else. They loved me unconditionally (which I did not get from my parents). I always say they were the best part of my life as long as they were alive. Now to your question. It is impossible to set a money limit on the care for our kitties. Like you, we have a lot; though, our max number has always been eight. When Lily was hit by a car at age four, she had a broken and dislocated leg and four lung punctures. She was totally not expected to live. The expense to care for her was astronomical, but she is now almost 18 years old. I can’t imagine missing the last 14 years. When Fiona was first diagnosed, Tom said we would do whatever she needs and spend whatever we need to keep her with us as long as possible (as long as she is not suffering). Every life is precious, and if you take on the responsibility of caring for a pet, you should be willing to do whatever it takes when they need health care. I watch Animal Cops Houston on TV quite a bit, and I am always astounded on the mistreatment of animals. Obviously not all people make the same commitment that we do. However, I believe anyone who answers you here will feel just as we do, Ellen. Hugs and love, Janet

    • I am glad you had your grandparents in your life, I am sure they were a big influence on what makes you so sweet. Thank you for your imput, I know you take wonderful care of all your furbabies. You are lucky your hubby is on the same page, this is a big issue with my hubby and I. He doesn’t trust vets and thinks they run up the bill. I don’t think that is true and I always want to do what I can to help, taking into account quality of life first. I wouldn’t be able to watch Animal Cops, it would give me nightmares. I am thankful for all these wonderful answers because when I told my therapist that many feel as I do, he doubted it- and I have 45 comments of proof. πŸ™‚ XO and love to you and the kitties

  21. I agree. I wish that grandparents could live forever. They are precious, priceless treasures in our lives. Thanks for joining our 19-Somethin’ challenge.

    Now, for your questions, if money were no object, no, I would not set a limit for taking care of our kitties. Their health needs could be taken care of completely. As it is, limits are set, not by us, but by the fact that we’re living on a single income, disability at that. Money is extremely tight, even for care of our human family members.

    I don’t like the term “just a cat” or “just a dog” or “just a….” whatever the living creature is. Heavenly Father made them just as He made us. We are commanded to take the gospel to ALL creatures and, in my way of thinking, that includes animals. Here is the verse:
    “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 KJV

    It doesn’t say “all people”, but “all creatures”. How could a kitty ever be “just a kitty”? Would we be told to share the gospel with all creatures if they were “just a kitty”? I don’t think so.

    Many of us have financial struggles and seek to do more than we are financially capable of doing. We have to find a way to take care of both what we need to take care of on all levels. That isn’t an easy thing to do in this money-grubbing world.

    I hope that you’ll be able to find a way to be able to take care of all the kitties that you want to take care of. There’s got to be a way to do it. Have you investigated becoming a 501c organization? That way, you could solicit donations and the donors could get tax incentives to donate. Or maybe even something like a GoFundMe campaign? That is a program kind of like Kickstarter, but not exactly. GoFundMe is ultimately better, in my opinion. Anyway, those are some thoughts of mine. You’re in my prayers as you find a way to do what He has laid on your heart to do.

    Have a blessed day!

    • Thank you for your kind and thoughtful input. I appreciate the bible quote too that proves God wants us to appreciate all living creatures. I have seen many in need use Kickstarter and GoFUnd, I am thankful to not be at that point. My big issue is usually that my hubby does not trust vets and feels like they all know I am a sucker and try to run up the bill. That means no matter what I spend at the vet is an issue for my hubby.

      • You’re welcome, Ellen. We started a GoFundMe when Xerxes was diagnosed. We got a few donations, but not all of the expenses were covered. We are very grateful to those that were able to help either with donations or prayers. Almost a year later, we still owe the vet $399.99. The original bill was just under $1,000. At our current ability to pay, it is going to take several years to pay that off. They have been very patient, thank goodness. The original agreement was to have it paid off within 90 days. We are well past that.

        I am sure, like with regular doctors, there are vets that rip people off. We just have to find one that we can trust and pray that they are not charging more than necessary just because they can get away with it. Whether they are or are not doing that, Heavenly Father will sort it out in the end.

        Has your hubby had a bad experience with a vet (or a human doctor) in the past that makes him so adamant that they are ripping you off?

        If you were to find a way to make the money specifically for the vet care, would he be upset about you spending it then?

        I’m sorry that you’re in such a difficult spot. You’re in my prayers.

        • That was kind of you to get Xerxes care despite limited funds, I am sorry you didn’t raise the full amount. I am sure the vet is glad you at least pay a little at a time. Back in 2010 , I spent 6 thousand on KaChoo and she died anyway. He feels they kew she didn’t have a chance and kept running tests. Thank you for your prayers, they are appreciated.

          • Maybe they kept running tests hoping that they would find a way to help KaChoo. I am so sorry that you lost her anyway. πŸ™ None of us, not even our sweet fur babies are guaranteed tomorrow, regardless of how well we are taken care of. We all just have to do the best that we can and hope for the best. You’re welcome for the prayers.

          • Yes, that is what they were doing. She had kidney disease, but her numbers were not that bad so something else was going on with her that we never figured out. The worst part was I was going to take her home and the vet recommended she stay another night. I called to check on her at 9 pm and was told she was OK then I got a call an hour later saying she went into cardiac arrest and died. I was so upset that I wasn’t with her, I wish I had insisted she come home with me.

          • In this case,the vet told us upfront that all we could do was extend Xerxes’ life; we could not save it. Still, we prayed for a miracle and did everything we could for him.

            We took on extra hours at work to pay his bill. We are still working on it and , YES, if we had it to do all over again, we would still do it.

  22. Saying just pet (whatever the species) makes me crazy. Anyone who thinks this way is kinda scary. What kind of commitment to a life do they have. Unfortunately this is a disposable society we live in and full of the “me me me” thinking. As many have said…my thought would be “quality” of life and doing what is best for the animal. I have never owned more than one pet at a time. That is our comfort zone to assure best care. Our first cat became very sick nearly overnight. At his 14 year annual check up a slight heart murmur was detected. We were to have it checked again in 4 months; however, we did not make it to that point. One day he he was playing and happy the next day he fainted. Literally!! Life changed in an instant. We rushed him to the VET. It was suspected to be congestive heart failure. Our vet told us if we wanted to know for certain we could have an ultra sound of his heart. We wanted to be sure what we were dealing with so we took him to a special Vet Hospital. Ultra sounds and specialists for any being are expensive. That is what we wanted to do so we could make the best decision for him. It was confirmed. He had never been sick in 14 years never had a pill. We were given a RX for some compounded heart meds. We had that filled. Took him home to keep him comfortable for as long as possible. His decline over the weekend was very rapid. All this happened in a span of 10 days….
    Everyone knows their limit. The therapist gave you a lot to ponder.

    • Thank you for your input and for sharing your story. I am sorry about your first cat, that is sad. I commend you for making the effort to help him live a good life. You are wise to have just one cat, I am slowly realizing I need to not get back to 15 unless I win the lottery. XO

  23. Dragonheart, Merlin, and Devi’s mom here.

    Our only limit is how much we have available to us. We spent $6000 trying to save Arwen, as she was diagnosed with a septic abdomen and they had to do emergency surgery. Unfortunately, it did not save her as she was diagnosed with FIP when they removed the staples from her surgery. We ended up maxing out our credit to get that $6000. Now, had we known she had FIP and the surgery would not save her, we likely wouldn’t have spent it. But the vets said she had a septic abdomen, and so we took their advice. Even vets can be wrong and sadly there is no refund afterwards.

    Our Sphynx are not “just cats.” They are family members. I still mourn Arwen. As I’ve never been able to have children, these Sphynx ARE my babies. I care for them more than any creature on Earth except my husband. Given whatever resources I have available to me at any given time, I will do whatever I can for them, but I also try to be realistic. For example, one type of chemotherapy for Merlin would have been extremely expensive ($10,000), and they estimated that, because of the type of cancer he has, it would only give him an extra three months. Well, we didn’t have $10,000 on hand when he was diagnosed, and that seemed like a lot of money for just an extra three months, not to mention all the extra trips to the vet we would have needed to take him to, and the associated stress of that. So we made a decision to go with a less expensive form of chemotherapy (and given that Merlin has outlived his prognosis, it’s clearly working for him). I do second-guess myself sometimes, and wonder if the more expensive chemo would have been even better, given how long he has made it so far, but if the money isn’t there (not even on credit), it isn’t there. So we do what we can, given our limits, and weighing the likely outcomes along with the pros and cons with whatever information we have at the time.

    • Thank you for sharing Arwen’s story, I am sorry she had FIP, that is such an awful disease. I spent the same amount running tests at TUFTS to save KaChoo and she did not make it, but they gave me hope and that was all I needed to keep trying. I am happy that Merlin has responded so well to the therapy you chose. I would have chosen the same when factoring in cost, only 3 extra months and the biggest issue- stressing him. It is good to know so many feel the same as I do and love their furbabies as much as one would a human. XO

  24. Who came up with the phrase, “just a cat”…. does your therapist think you are “just a human”?
    The financial part of your question is more complicated and not as easy as pulling out a credit card to buy medication and/or pay for medical procedures. Quality of life for both human and pet factors in. Is the amount you are spending on pets undermining your financial stability and security? What quality of life will the pet have if you do spend the money?
    Another friend has a similar obsession with dogs. She spends every spare cent on medication for her beloved, but aging pets. She spends more time cooking special meals for them than she does for herself. In point of fact, over the past year, the focus of her life has become taking care of her elderly dog. Not only are her finances suffering, so is her own quality of life and her personal health, as she devotes all her time and attention to making certain they can ‘die a natural death’. While this is admirable, I’m not sure this is ‘natural’…. without her intervention, her dog would have passed at least two years ago because she is too arthritic to catch prey, not too mention too blind and deaf to find it.
    In my friend’s case, I would certainly advise her to put a dollar limit on what she can afford to spend on her aging dog. I would also advise her that she should be objective about how this obsession with keeping her dog alive well past it’s natural age (in ‘dog years it is over 100) is affecting her own health and quality of life.

    Ellen, is it possible for you to align yourself with a foundation and/or non-profit institution which would allow you to defray the financial aspects and still allow you to help cats?

    • Thank you for your input. I agree that quality of life is more important. I commend your friend with the dog too=- as long as the dog is not in pain, I always thought arthritis was painful and I wouldn’t try to extend a painful life. I am thankful that I can still afford good care, it is my hubby that gives me grief because he is distrustful of vets. I was able to have a shelter take the feral kittens that I helped with, but as far as my own, I doubt anyone would pay for their care. I do know that even if it irritates my hubby, I will always do what is best for my kitties.

  25. If the treatment will only prolong life a few months and not save life, if expensive I do not do it. IF THE TREATMENT might save life, I do it. I am not inclined to go into much debt over
    pet treatments. It would be irresponsible. However I am happy to say I have always been able to pay my way.

  26. The saying “just a cat” makes Mom’s blood boil. We’re her sweet furry babies and we trust her to take care of us, love us and do what’s best for us. Mom will do whatever she can to help us if we get sick. She would not keep us alive through extreme methods if there was no hope and we were in misery because that wouldn’t be for US but for her. She would NEVER put a dollar figure on us though.

    The Florida Furkids

  27. I don’t have a particular limit, but of course, there is always a point I couldn’t go beyond no matter how much I wanted to. For me the real question is – SHOULD I go for advanced treatment? That’s really a quality of life issue though. Animals live in the now; they don’t understand that this is for their own good. Cats especially can be changed by constant vet visits, poking and prodding, and just feeling terrible in general. At what point would I continue to inflict things on them?

    Many, many years ago I worked for vets. My first day a cat was brought in, hit by a car and had a broken jaw. The owner had no money and opted for euthanasia. I thought that was terrible until two years later when the situation repeated itself. This time the owner had resources; that poor cat was in total misery for the rest of his life. That was not a better outcome. Or the FIV cat who had to come in weekly to have fluid drawn off his lungs. Again, more money didn’t equal a better life. BUT no cat, or dog, is “just an animal”.

    • Thank you for your input. I agree that quality of life comes first. I am glad we agree that no pet is “just” a pet. As pet parents we do need to weigh things out to be sure money spent will improve quality of life and not just keep them with us and prolong their misery. That is sad that the FIV cat could not be helped.

  28. This “just a cat” nonsense has to stop. My “just a cat” is the ONLY reason I’m still alive. It’s painful to admit, but it’s true. Bear stuck with me, loved me, made me laugh, gave me a reason to fight for my life when I had no reason of my own. If his life doesn’t matter, then neither does mine. No, I would not set a limit. When I thought he had a vaccination-related sarcoma 18 months ago, I was prepared to spend anything for his care even though the prognosis is mixed at best. My father told me I had had nine good years with Bear and I should let him go. I didn’t have any income at the time. I was lucky that it wasn’t a sarcoma – and a surgery to remove the tumor was all that was required. But I would not have set a limit. On the other side, when Kitty was almost 16 and clearly not doing well, I didn’t pour money into her care – not because she wasn’t worth it – but because I could tell she was in pain and her quality of life was such that she’d given up. Part of me wanted to hospitalize her and stabilize her – but even as the vet said, that would just prolong her life for a week or two. And she’d have another week or two of living misery. I don’t expect most people to understand the bonds and relationships I’ve had with my cats – but my cats have been there when no one else was. So maybe that’s unhealthy on my part, but you know what? I was driven to that by the unhealthy people that have surrounded me for most of my life. And by unhealthy, I mean toxic and cruel. Is it any wonder that I prefer cats? I feel like I’ve gone off on a wild tangent – but don’t let anyone EVER tell you one of your babies is “just a cat.” Anyone who cared about you – anyone who knows you – would know better, if for no other reason than because they see how much those kitties mean to you.

    • Thank you for your input and I love your rant-it means you feel as passionately as I do about this. I am glad Bear rescued you and you rescued him. I am very happy it wasn’t a sarcoma. I am sic of people with the “just a” attitude too. I do agree that quality of life comes first and I would never prolong misery. Vet care is so expensive, I have spent thousands this year because of Sammy’s surgery which needed the ultrasound first and Phoebe needed one before a dental because of a murmur-with so many cats, it is never ending expenses.

  29. guys…what biznezz iz it oh yur momz therapist ta say how her shuld spendz her money…..ore ta tell her what de OTHER clientz due….. ore dont due.. with therz….

    yur mom N dad could be bazillionairez, they could haz pet insurance, they could haz unlimited spendin on ther charge oh card….point iz, it’s THERZ to spend how they see fit…..N resolve de expense issue… how they see fit

    yur mom noes her limits; we all due, thatz why sum mite haz 1 pet… ore sum might haz ten….N ree gard lezz….itz noe onez concern BUT de petz mom/dad…. N de care giver/vet who noez whatz bee in spent in de furst place

    de food gurl went ta all lenghtz ta help gram paw dude and sauce; N will due sew for tuna…even boomer N dai$y if knead be, ta inn sure they haza happee… healthee…. quala tee oh life ~~~~~

    we iz guessin de fact thiz purrson said…..itz just a cat……haz NOE petz……gotta feel sorree for em we guess β™₯β™₯

    • Thank you for your input, I know your food service girl will do anything to help you as long as you won’t suffer. My therapist said the people who are limiting expenses on the cat’s care said it is just a cat which is so sad because how can you live with a loving cat and then put a number on how much it is worth? I feel bad for that poor cat. XO

  30. We think those “just a cat” people can just stop breathing and the world would be a more loving place. To date, we have spent whatever it took to make each Colehaus Cat happy and healthy, even angel Zooot who was lovingly referred to as “the six-million dollar cat.” In actuality, her bill was more like six thousand dollars, but it was worth it because she was with us for an additional nine, happy years. Sunny, our newest senior may come close to that, eventually. We don’t have a bunch of money laying around for cat care and we make sacrifices in other areas (we don’t have phones or cable/satellite) so our dollars can be put to the best use wherever needed. We do live a rich life though, one filled with cats who have been with us through thick and thin. We like to believe we have been there for them, too, when others wouldn’t or couldn’t. We know our finances will all shake out well in the end and in the meanwhile, we have a house filled with years of love. We hope you feel the love surrounded by your cats and know you are doing whatever is right for you and them all.

    • Thank you for your input, I am glad so many value their cats ( and dogs, etc. ) lives to know they are more than just a pet. I agree all people with that mentality should stop breathing. We are much like you, we don’t travel, we keep our car for 15 years, rarely go out to eat, etc. My only big expense is vet bills and I will never change that, as long as quality of life is good. I wish the world were filled with people like you and all the other commenters- it would be a much better place. XO

  31. Not ever are they ‘just cats’. No way, they are or family and they deserve the best we can give them.

    We did face that dilemma years ago. We had almost no $$ and Toki got very ill with severe diabetes. We had ill elderly parents and had to travel hundreds of mules out of town to be with them (600 to one and 300 to the others). That meant not only cost of care for him at home but extra cost when going on those long trips to board him. It was impossible. So with heavy hearts and tears we bade him good bye. I do not know what we would do now that Minko has reached the stage of a special needs kitty, but for now we are able to lovingly manage his care and needs, with out too much financial burdens. That being said, we are now also in a better way with funds, though not rich by any means, LOL For us I think it is a special thing we would address when the time comes. As long as there is quality of life and a desire to fight on the side of the furry one we would carry on as best we could. We don’t need new clothes and gadgets, but our fur kids need food, medicine and care, which is far more important. I do work part time to help with some of the costs of having our three now senior furry ones.

    • Thank you for your input. I know you do everything you can for your furbabies including all the time involved in feeding Minko. I am thankful for people like you in this world. XO

  32. “just a cat” is offensive. people who say it do not understand the relationship one has with a companion animal.

    I spent $1000 on a surgery for my cat when I KNEW it would probably only give him a few more months because the cancer he had was not slowing him down in the least but it had erupted through his skin and that was treatable.

    However, I refused to do surgery on my previous cat because it would be expensive but also because it would ruin the quality of the life she had left. Even if the surgery was 100% successful, the chances of it prolonging her life wasn’t worth the risk.

    I don’t have a set limit, but I do realize there are limits of what I can do, and what I should do. If something was going to cost $10,000 (or even $500) I really need to know that the cat has a very good chance of coming out of the procedure and having a good quality of life afterward. Unblocking, absolutely. thyroid issues, yup. Being hit by a car or other acute trauma, it would depend on how bad things are and how much the cat would suffer and for how long before he got better and quality of life afterwards. a bad leg that needs to be removed? done.. bad leg, broken ribs, broken hips, etc.. I might elect to end his suffering.

    Basically, in my mind, I believe that the more that needs to be spent, the slimmer the chances of a positive outcome, so I am inclined to believe that with a hefty price tag of a vet bill comes the idea that ending their life is actually the more humane option. It isn’t that I wouldn’t be willing to spend the money, but more that I am not willing to put them through it.

    • Thank you for your input. I agree that quality of life is most important and as their parents we need to weigh out the cost and quality. Sometimes vets will lead you into more tests wen they know it is hopeless so having a good vet is very important too.

  33. There is not anything such as ‘just a cat’. Here they are totally my family. I couldn’t keep going without them. I have to admit they don’t get as much vet attention as they should but I can’t afford it but they all seem to survive just fine. I cannot spend large amounts of money to save a cat and most of the time, putting them to sleep is better than making the cat go through all kinds of torture to try too keep it alive.

    • I know you love your cats and value them all. I realize this isn’t a perfect world and funds are limited, but it does anger me that some with enough funds won’t use them to help their cat.

  34. Wow, this question is resonating! Using minimizing language of “just a X” by anyone let alone a trained therapist is judgmental. I’ve lost three cats in three years but the cost in cat care is not only financial. Choosing to give Merlin quality palliative care cost us 6 figures in lost revenue by not working. I’d do it again in a heartbeat for him. I would not however extend a life with invasive treatment i.e. 10K for oncology for an extra few poor quality months. Every cat deserves to be honored as as sentient being.

    • The therapist was saying the people with the cat said that, not him, but I still didn’t want to hear it. I agree that all cats deserve to be honored and I truly admire all you did for Radish who was a shelter cat. I also admire all you did for Merlin because you knew he wanted to be here/ I wish there were more people like you in this world. XO

  35. Oh awnty Ellen, we think you know where we stand. Mommy has always said, ifin there was any hope to keep her babies with her she would beg steal or borrow. She ‘members da day she had to let sis Lexi go to heaven. She didn’t have any money, but ifin money could have kept her here you betcha mommy woulda been beggin’ everypawdy to help us. She goes without everyday so dat we can have good food and good lives, and never fur a minute regrets any of it. Ifin money were no object, then mommy would spend it all to keep us alive. There are all kinds of peeps who do all kinds of things. We will never unnerstand those peeps, and fankfully they’re not our mommies and daddies. You must do what’s right fur you and your husband and not worry ’bout da rest of da world. We will luv you no matter what, and you will always be furmily to us. Tell your therapist dat you can’t put a purrice on luv.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena and mommy A

    • Thank you, I know how much your Mom care about you and you are her family. It broke my heart that your Mom had to let Lexi go, but quality of life is mot important. I plan to share all these comments with my therapist because when I told him that all the people I knew would feel like I did, he doubted it and now I have a lot of proof. XO

  36. The “it’s just a cat” notion makes me angry too. I firmly believe that cats are sentient creatures that deserve our respect and care. That said, I think it’s become more difficult to make medical decisions for our pets as the options–and the associated price tag–have increased. When our cat had cancer thirty years ago, we had him put to sleep immediately because there just was no other option. Today we might try chemo and who knows what else? And at some point, we might have to say, “We can’t afford to do more for him.” I don’t have a preset spending limit on health care for pets…but I have delayed routine recommended blood work and dental exams because it’s just too much of a stretch financially. Before I had health insurance for myself, I delayed seeking treatment for some back pain, and when I finally got covered and got to the doctor, it turned out I had stage 3 cancer–so I know exactly where “putting it off” can lead. Still, if the money’s not in the bank…what are we supposed to do? There just are no easy answers.

    • I am sorry you had stage 3 cancer, I will include you in my prayers. I know most people have to be careful with their funds, but the people I wrote about could afford to do more and won’t- that angers me as well as their attitude of just a cat. All my cats have rabies shots up to date, but several need dentals as I can only afford a few per year. Thank you for your input.

  37. Granny would do anything for me that she would do for herself and Grandpaw too. She sees me and all her fur babies before me, as a fully member of the family and she can’t live with people who say ‘it is just a cat (dog, animal)’ . She says that it says so much about the people who talk like that. Granny has one big dream, just like you, to have a lot of kitties, the seniors, but she knows that she also can’t affort it, when we need medical help, so I am the only one, that has her fully attention… and wallet… and sometimes Grandpaw is even jealous that I have my first dinner and he has to make it himself…I think I am getting to talkative now, I think I have made my point…MOL πŸ˜€ Extra Pawkisses πŸ™‚ <3

    • I am glad you have such a loving home Binky. I don’t like people that don’t understand how special cats and dogs, etc. are. XO and paw kisses

  38. I HAVE limits, because of my finances, but would do whatever I could (9 year old Oscar got a transfusion this summer that was $1300. Neither he nor I had planned for it but he has recovered nicely and it would be hard to tell he had ever been sick ) Quality of life would be important, however. Otherwise, I’d have to deal with it case-by-case. But I don”t think I would set an arbitrary limit – that’s be borrowing trouble !

    • Thank you for your input. I commend you on getting Oscar a transfusion I am glad he is doing well. Most of us do have to spend within our means, but we try our best and realize there is no such thing as just a cat.

  39. They are never just a cat but a very much loved family member. I would spend whatever it takes for Flynn as long as he continues to have a good quality of life. We know he has his bad patches, but he pulls through and his good days outnumber the bad ones.
    People who say it is just a cat are missing out on so much in their lives.

    • Thank you for your input. I am thankful to know so many who feel like I do and realize how special our kitties are. I am glad Flynn has more good days than bad, I am praying for him. XO

  40. My limit is, how much good is the therapy really going to do for the animal, or am i just keeping it alive in spite of pain or a bad quality of life just to spare myself the suffering of having to lose it?

    When the cost of treatment outweighs the actual benefit to the animal and it will not really help, just delay the inevitable and not give the cat a good, happy life, i can’t justify the cost.

    We’ve faced that several times with cats that had tumors. We assumed the tumors were cancerous (placement, and how fast they came up, etc.), and we could have chosen to operate and maybe do chemo and radiation, but i’ve seen people go through that and live with constant pain and very low quality of life, and i can’t put an animal through that. That’s especially true when the animal is already in pain.

  41. Just a cat? That thinking makes me feel sick. Over Angel Tara’s two years of illness, between ER visits, specialists, and medicine, I can’t even imagine what I spent and I never thought twice about it. Doing everything I could for her was all that mattered. The fact that some people think that way is one of many reasons why I prefer animals to humans.

    • Thank you for your input, I feel the same way and prefer animals to people, but I do care about all the humans in the cat blogosphere- they know what is important.

  42. My cat (and my dog) are my family. I care about my pets more than I care about most people. To answer your question: ” if you could afford to spend any amount would you still set a limit?” NO

    If I had unlimited funds I would NEVER set a limit.

    Even with limited funds I would try EVERY means possible. You are NOT alone on this!

  43. WHat a thing to say,if that is how you feel about pets then you shouldn’t have them.I don’t set a limit on vet bills if it is in the best interest of my Bunny or any other pet that I have had in the past.But I have set my self one limit and that is Speedy because realistically I can only afford vet bills for him,oh I could stretch to more but I don’t want to be constantly worrying about money,but I would spend every single penny I have and a bit more if needed if it was in his best interest.But I am lucky that I have enough knowledge the most Nursing of sick bunnies I can do at home including injections and force feeding if I had to which saves a bit on medical cost,xx Rachel Speedy’s mum

    • Thank you for your input. I know I can’t get back to 15 again because I do want to be able to afford the best care for all when needed.That is great that you can do so much medical things with bunnies- I hope you never need to though. XO

  44. This is a difficult question and I don’t think there is one right answer that fits everyone. First off, the “just a pet” thing riles me and has nothing to do with the question. All of God’s creatures, including us have spirits and value and are not “just” anything!! Just a pet is like saying just a piece of furniture. Ugh That being said, I believe that having a pet of some kind is good for everyone, but some people end up with more pets than they can provide good food and necessary medical care for. That isn’t good parenting. I would not go deeply into debt for one of my beloved furkids, but I would certainly do everything within the realm of possibility to get them the help they need if it can be effective. Credit cards can be handy for emergencies as long as we have the ability to pay them off again and don’t end up in deeper and deeper. We can plan ahead, put a bit aside, and do all we can to ensure that our furkids remain healthy. I have four, and would probably have more, but Papa Bear is the more rational of the two of us and knows that this is just right for our house size and our budget!

    • My hubby has tried to limit me, but it didn’t work. I do realize I can’t get back to 15 because it is too expensive. Just a pet riles me up too, thank you for your input.

  45. There is no such thing as “Just a ___”. Xerxes was more than just a cat. We would have spent much more to save him if we could have saved him.

    People justified Hitler’s actions with, “Just a Jew”. Cost cutting measures by big companies like the railroad and steel industries that ended up costing people’s lives were justified with “Just an Irishmen, or just a Chinaman.” Abortionist justify what they do with terms like, “Just a fetus.”

    There are countless ways to waste money. Taking care of God’s creatures is not one of them. One can smoke and endanger their lives and the lives of countless others with their second hand smoke.

    People drink alcohol and endanger their lives with alcohol related illnesses as well as injuries caused by the influence of alcohol. Alcohol and tobacco are both senseless wastes of money.

    When it is all said and done, and you get to heaven, I am sure that Jesus will meet you at the gate, tell you your mansion is inside of Rainbow Bridge and He will say to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant:.”
    Matthew 25:21

  46. NONE of my cats or dogs were ‘just pets’. They were & are full fledged family members. Period!
    I did set a limit on keeping a cat or dog alive according to their HEALTH not the financially concerns. That being said, my Ex-fiancΓ© helped with Mingflower’s bills for almost 2 years & then he helped a bit with Nylablue’s earlier Vet bills (Accupuncture). Then she was well but when the Bowel Disease appeared I HAD NO financial back-up. I remember blogging about the situation as did NB & then the Guardian Angels came forward & helped me with Vet bills for 1 1/2 years. I have been extremely blessed.
    With Siddhartha Henry, I have his previous owner Mary-Ellen aka Mumma M-E who helps me when she can…..
    So I would do all that I can as long as it is in the BEST interst of my cat or dog.
    ((hugs)) Sherri-Ellen

    • Thank you, I know how much you love Siddhartha Henry and have loved all your furbabies. I am very upset that my therapist can’t understand this and to add insult to injury, he said to me people without kids feel this way. I told him a lot of my readers that commented also had children and felt the same way as I do about their cats.

      • Your Therapist is a bit ‘for the birds’ if I may say so!!! I lost 3 babies early on & was a Step Mom & raised my Niece….I loved my Dogs, my Budgies & my Cats. Period….
        Sometimes Therapists need to just shut their mouths. I am trained in Counselling & have seen so many assumptions made about ‘cat people’ or ‘dog’ people…it is a lot of ‘hooey’ as my Father Henry used to say!!!
        πŸ˜‰

  47. We don’t have a ton of money but when TW was younger and working, she spent thousands on Chizzy. Her main focus is on quality of life for both the cat and them. They’re at an age now where their retirement could run out and they’d rather the cat and themselves have a roof over their heads.

  48. Here in Canada a Psychiatrist has their own! They HAVE to!
    I think that is a good rule.
    I suspect your Therapist is just not a cat/dog/family 4 legged person.
    Neither is my Sister. She has a Burmese cat named Nigeria who I adore. But to my Sister she is ‘just a pet’…..
    To her animals are 2nd class…maybe even 3rd. I did NOT raise her with this belief….maybe it is genetic (as she was adopted into my family…) ;0

    • I don’t know psychiatrist rules, but I see a psychologist so maybe it is different rule wise, he can’t prescribe meds like a psychiatrist. I do think part is genetics and part is how we were raised.

  49. Ah the old “Nature vs. Nurture” discussion Ellen!
    I have to agree part is nature & part is nurture.
    I had a Psychologist/Therapist a few years ago & he has a Counsellor for himself. So our rules must be different.
    In your situation aside from his belief about 4 leggeds has he been good for YOU??? If so, can you still work with him?
    If you can’t, then it is time to move on.
    (I bet you already figured that out, lol…)

    • He said that wasn’t his opinion, just a cat was what those people said. Yes, he is like a father figure to me being that mine passed away 15 yrs ago.

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