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Tough Spending Decision - Final Chapter
Old 06-21-2008, 09:44 AM   #1
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Tough Spending Decision - Final Chapter

Two years ago I started a thread on the subject of spending a significant amount on medical treatment for our cat, Pyewacket:

I am facing a spending decision where my head is telling me one thing and my heart is telling me the opposite.

Our pet cat, Pyewacket, is 13 years old and has been on medication for a hyperactive thyroid for 2 years. Over that time we have reached a level of mutual comfort where he accepts the twice a day administration of his pill by me or my wife with a minimum of fuss. The cat is not particularly friendly or affectionate even toward us and has always reacted very negatively to strangers. Despite this, we love the cat and greatly enjoy his company and antics. Prior to his requiring medication we were able to leave him in the house with food and water when we traveled and just have a neighbor come in every few days. Last year we tried leaving him with my daughter, who no longer lives with us, but who grew up with Pye. He would not allow her to give him his pill no matter what she tried. He was very aggressive toward her when she tried. Since then we have tried to board him with two different vets. The first one called us while we were away for permission to sedate him. Last week we tried boarding him at another animal hospital. When we went to pick him up after four days there they told us that they were unable to medicate him and that they would not accept him for boarding in the future due to the "danger he presented to the safety of their staff". They even asked us to get him out of the cage ourselves and into his carrier! The vet also told us that he was so stressed in that environment that it was cruel to keep him there.

The vet told us that there was a treatment available for his thyroid condition involving the use of radiation to destroy the benign thyroid tumor that causes the prodution of excess throid hormone. After the treatment he would not need any medication, so we could leave him at home while we travel with just a pet sitter to give him food and water and clean the litter box. He is perfectly happy staying home by himself. The problem is that this treatment costs $1250!!!

I am really struggling with this decision. The alternative is euthanizing poor Pye before our next trip at the end of June. This seems pretty drastic but with anyone else but us, he cannot be handled and I cannot see foregoing travel for as long as he lives. On the one hand, based on my long standing LBYM lifestyle, I cannot see spending that kind of money on a cat. On the other hand, we can afford that amount with no real long term impact on our overall finances. Right now I am leaning toward having the treatment done and the cost be damned. We love the cat and would miss him terribly. But this voice in the back of my head keeps saying: "are you crazy? that's money that could go into a grandkid's college fund" or some other equally important use.

I value the opinions and experiences of those on this board. What would you do?



Here is the final chapter in this thread:

Pyewacket died in his sleep last night. We took him to the Vet during the afternoon because over the previous week he had lost weight, stopped eating, was having difficulty walking and was clearly not doing well. The Vet did lab tests that showed his kidneys were functioning at only 25%. X-rays showed one lung mostly obstructed and several likely tumors elsewhere. He was given pain meds and treatment to ease his breathing. He will be cremated and his ashes will be spread in an apple orchard.

He had two good years since the radiation treatment cured his hyperthyroid condition, (the subject of the original thread. During that time he was mostly healthy, much more affectionate and friendly and seemed to enjoy his life (what's not to enjoy; he owned the house?) and we certainly enjoyed his quirky personality and his companionship. On balance I would say that the expenditure for the treatment was worthwhile.

We will miss him. Thanks to all of you who posted on the original thread.

Grumpy
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:57 AM   #2
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I think keeping a pet alive is worth the cost. We have spent over $3K on one of our 2 cats and enjoy every moment he is still with us.

(When they finally plant me, I would never want anyone to be able to say: Saved $3k by abandoning his friend.)
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:22 AM   #3
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Glad to hear that you got 2 more years with him...
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:57 AM   #4
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My condolences on Pyewacket's passing. Pets add so much to our lives, but it's so painful when they leave us.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
He had two good years since the radiation treatment cured his hyperthyroid condition, (the subject of the original thread. During that time he was mostly healthy, much more affectionate and friendly and seemed to enjoy his life (what's not to enjoy; he owned the house?) and we certainly enjoyed his quirky personality and his companionship.
IMO, quality of life is what matters. You gave that to him and in return, he gave that to you.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:24 AM   #6
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grumpy, I'm sorry for your loss. Sounds like you made the right decisions for Pyewacket over the years, and are glad you got the extra time with him. I may be facing similar choices for my aging kitty soon, and I hope I end up at peace with my decisions.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:45 AM   #7
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I'm so sorry about your loss. I have an aging kitty too, but no obvious health concerns yet at age 13. I'm just waiting, though.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:12 PM   #8
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Sorry, Grumpy.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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Good old Pyewacket. You did right by him and how wonderful that he passed quietly in his sleep. A good end to a good life. Thanks for sharing, Grumpy.
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:27 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear he is gone, but once again, I think you did the right thing by him.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:04 PM   #11
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$1.71 per day so that your beloved pet could go two years without being forced to take pills every day and so that you could enjoy each other's company for all that time. good decision.

when wolf puppy started having trouble walking i redid the house with non-skid tile flooring. lost him 6 months later. still, six months of him not having to struggle on wood floors just to get up. a bit expensive but worth it to me.

sometimes hard to keep them alive. always tough to lose them. peace.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:11 PM   #12
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Sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose our old, furry friends.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:19 PM   #13
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Condolences, Grumpy.. he was a really fine-looking cat. I don't think I responded to your initial post, and I have to be frank in saying I probably would have counseled a different decision (based on his age but also the "not particularly friendly or affectionate even toward us" part).

It's a tough call, and interesting that you say his personality got better after the treatment. I guess who among us wouldn't reserve the right to be cranky if we were not feeling well!?!

I'm glad that you made the decision you did, and that it turned out to be the right one for you and Pye. He was one lucky cat to have picked you guys for owners, as will be any future cats you may take on. Good on ya, Grumpy. You did right by Pye.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:21 PM   #14
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Grumpy, losing a family pet is just the pits.
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:50 PM   #15
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Sorry to hear about your cat . You did your best !
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:37 AM   #16
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Grumpy, I too am so glad you got to spend more time with Pyewacket!

Sarah is right, it is really good fortune that he died on his own in his sleep.
That final decision to put a pet "to sleep" is harder to live with (at least for me it is/was).

Sounds like you did well in prioritizing your spending. Best to you and your wife.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:50 AM   #17
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So sorry for your loss. We had a kitty that looked so much like your Pyewacket! He even had that little tuft of white on the chest. It's so hard to lose them You gave Pyewacket a great life!
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:22 AM   #18
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Thanks to you all for your supportive words. I find myself expecting Pye to greet me each time I come in the door. DW has made me promise that we won't discuss getting another cat until after we return from our son's wedding in Brazil in December. I will have a hard time holding out that long.

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Old 06-22-2008, 01:59 PM   #19
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Give DW just a little while, then email her some petfinder cuties or just happen to hear about some kittens that a friend needs to find homes for...you could easily get a new cat acclimated before December...!

And as Purron says, get two--it is twice the fun and they won't miss you so much when you are gone. You two are splendid pet owners and I wish that I could mail you several of my mom's many new kittens (she got 4 female cats, all pregnant, dumped on her recently--gotta love living at the end of the dirt road!).
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:13 PM   #20
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Grumpy---sorry, just seeing this now. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful cat. I remember the thread you started a couple of years ago about the dilemma--I know it wasn't nearly long enough, but glad you got to enjoy each other's company for all these months.

I hope the months go by quickly until you can get another furkid or two.

And I think any man who is a cat lover---and admits it---is very cool and secure in his masculinity!
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