I have often half-seriously joked that it is a shame I can't deduct my cats as dependents on my tax returns. Sometimes it seems that I spend as much time, worry, and cash on their care as I did for my three human children when they were growing up. I feel fortunate that I am able to do so, even though at times I have to make personal sacrifices to make the budget ends meet.
Everyday Care is a ResponsibilityThe cost of raising and maintaining cats has increased exponentially since I first started writing about them. Part of it is because I feed them the best food I can afford, I provide plenty of scratching posts and cat trees, a safe cat litter, and enough litter boxes to accommodate four cats. And of course, cat toys are a must, and mutual play with our cats helps build our bond with them.
Veterinary Care is High PriorityThankfully, I now have pet health insurance for all my cats. The three boys are insured through Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), and Jennifur is covered by Pets Best.
My last three cats, who lived long lives (Arthur, passed at 18 years, Shannon at 19, And Bubba at 18), all developed serious illness in their later years, and their veterinary costs ran into the $thousands.
- Joey was diagnosed hyperthyroid, and because he developed an allergy to Tapazole, he, like Bubba before him, had radioactive iodine therapy (I131
- At his six-month followup, he was doing well. However, at that time we were keeping an eye on his Hyperthropic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which was thought to be in the early stages, and for which there is yet no known cure. Thankfully, almost 18 months after the (I131 treatment, an ultrasound revealed no evidence of HCM, however, he does have asthma and is being treated with prednisone.
- Jaspurr, Joey's littermate, is obese, at 21 pounds. He's been eating a diet of grain-free dry food and canned food, and has lost two pounds in the past three months, but still has a way to go. At a recent veterinary visit, I asked that he be tested for diabetes mellitus, and thankfully, he is free of that, so far. However at 10, he is already showing evidence of arthritis, a painful hitchhiker to obesity.
I do all these things for my cats because I can, with pet health insurance to help defray the costs, and because our bond is so close I couldn't not do it, as long as I am financially able. However, I'm getting to the age when I may not be able to work forever, and I'll have to cut back on expenses somewhere. I could someday be in the same boat as so many other people: having to consider economic euthanasia when needed treatment costs more than we have to spend. There sometimes comes the time in every cat lover's life when the decision has to be made to let our beloved cat go in peace, rather than live in pain and suffering. Knowing when to let go is important, but can become tragic when the decision must be based on finances rather than the cat's health condition.