Friday, April 22, 2011

How the Expenses Broke Down Yesterday

I spent more on the cat than the kid.  Seriously.


This 20 pound ball of fur with feet cost me $452 at the vet yesterday.  Okay, so they had to knock him out to yank out five teeth from his infected gums and that really sucks for him.  But the $452 sucked for me.  Apparently, this cat is prone to tooth problems because he had a complete dental checkup (for a similar cost) back in 2008 when we got him. 

Joey's cleaning cost $56.  What is wrong with this picture???

I've had cats since I was six and I would have to check with my mother on this one, but I don't remember her ever taking one of them to the vet for dental work.  We had regular checkups and the resulting fillings every six months, but the cats did not go to the dentist. 

Are vets now recommending dental care more than they did when I was a child or did my mom just turn it down?  I can't ever imagine her not giving one of the animals the care it needed.  She's not exactly an animal person, but she has a soft heart.  When a little stray showed up at her house a couple of years ago, she and my dad ended up feeding him and giving him a warm place to stay.  They even took him to the vet and had him fixed, not an easy task seeing as how he was feral.  I forget how long it took them to catch him, but it was at least a week.  Unfortunately, the cat ended up getting mauled by one of the local dogs that their neighbors can't control and won't keep leashed, but the point is that my mother took the cats to the vet.  I remember it.  So why all the dental fuss now?

Max lost both of his canine teeth yesterday.  They were protruding down into his lower lip and it looked painful.  His gums were red and swollen.  He now has only eleven teeth in his head and this is an animal that obviously loves to eat.

I am dismayed at the expense, which comes at a time that I am working desperately to pay off our unsecured debt.  Having pets is a financial responsibility, no question about it.  Every time I see a new little kitten somewhere, I long to bring it home, but then I remember exactly what goes along with a baby animal.  Those vaccines and surgeries to stop the breeding Are. Not. Cheap.

I keep thinking about what I could have spent $452 on if Max hadn't needed to go to the dentist.  I could have completely clothed the kids and bought their shoes and had money left over for that camera I really want.  I could have probably gotten the service done on my car.  That might have bought me a new washing machine or a dryer.  Or at least made a heavy dent in the down payment on one or both.  THE iPAD!!!!  Oh my God, I could have bought the iPad if I had thrown in another $50.  Life is just not fair!

But...

I do love my pets like I love my kids.  And they are way more accepting and loving most of the time.  They never talk back, their love is unconditional and totally forgiving.  If I'm emotionally rocky, one of them will always come looking for attention.

When I got the call from my dad in January that my mom had bone cancer, I was crying so hard I had to sit down.  Jackson, our flaky golden retriever puppy, heard me making a sound I've never made before and came running to find out what was wrong with his momma.  And let me hang onto him while I sobbed, never moving or trying to get away from the woman who was hysterical and clutching him in a death grip.

Pets make the world a better place.  I cannot imagine a house without something furry.  To me, that would be a very lonely, if cleaner, place.  So I reluctantly pulled out the credit card and paid the vet.  Because I love that fat, furry, purring machine.  In fact, I'm crawling back into bed to nurse this cold right now and he is lying there waiting for me.  Therapy cat.  Seriously.


Yep, that's exactly where I'm headed right now.

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