Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Cat That Can't Drain Its Bladder Is Draining My Savings

I'm dealing with a sick pet.

Pets can be tough under normal circumstances -- even more so when you spend 10 days a month or more on the road. Now toss in that the pet is dealing with health issues and it's bound to add to your stress factor.

I've been lucky with my life-long pet experiences. I had never been involved in putting a pet down until three years ago when my cat buddy of 14 years -- Rambo Watch Cat -- developed some sort of tumor in his mouth and I cashed him out. The entire ordeal spanned less than 7 days from the time he exhibited abnormal behavior and I put him to sleep. It was the only time in his life he was sick. He hadn't been to a vet in well over 12 years. 

Taking him on that last ride to the vet's was one of the most difficult things I've ever done.

The only pet my family had that I was old enough to have any clue what was going on when she had to be put down was my Boston Terrier, Penny. I got her as a puppy when I was 13. My dad had her put down my senior year in college while I was in school. I missed all the drama.

Every pet I had as an adult, wound up going with a live-in girlfriend when we split up. Thanks for playing our game and here's your parting gift. In fact, two such refugees from a relationship with me wound up with a dog and a cat. I have no clue what happened to any of those animals.

So, now I have Jazz. She's a sketchy little cat that tips the scales at a puny 8 pounds. What she lacks in size, however, she makes up for with a bad attitude. She'll come up to visitors, purring like a motor. It's an act. She's really waiting to sucker said visitor into petting her at which time she rewards the attention with a nip. Persistence on the visitor's part turns the nip into a bite. She barely tolerates me when she's in such a mood.

She is currently dealing with a stubborn urinary infection. There's a fancier term for it, but basically she's struggling to pee. Me too, but that's a function of just getting older. Forty years ago I could hit the toilet without getting out of bed. Now, well, not so much.

So far I have $450 invested in this cat illness. Like her bro Rambo, Jazz has managed to thrive the past 14 years without ever being sick. Her last trip to the vet was to have her front claws removed when she was two or three months old.

I'm not happy with what this illness has cost me to date. I mean, I researched it on the Internet and knew what the issue was when I took her in the first time. How many tests do you need to diagnose the most common cat ailment there is? Bing it yourself. Search "Cat not peeing in litter box" and see what comes up. It's a urinary tract infection.

But the tests are mounting up. I am currently waiting for the findings of a urine culture ($121). She is on her second treatment of a two-week antibiotics shot ($52 each). I have to invest in the two-week shot because I'm not home enough days in a row to keep up with pills or whatever that I would administer on a daily basis.

After dropping her off on Wednesday, the vet called to ask if I would approve X-rays to check for kidney stones. It's only $150, I was told.

"If it is stones, what would the treatment be," I asked.

"We'd perform surgery to remove the stones," I was told.

"Ah, no," was my response, "surgery is not an option. This is a 14-year-old cat not my grandmother."

So, no X-rays.

This may seem a bit coldhearted, but I'm not going to be one of those people with a sick pet who tallies up the vet costs after a month or two of trying to get things solved to find I've spent $1,500 trying to get an animal that's the equivalent of 70 years old healthy.

So, for better or worse, we're on the home stretch of this thing. If the vet can, in good faith, choose some antibiotic based on the urine culture that she believes will get the job done, then I'll throw a little more money at this. If it's just another shot in the dark, then I'm done.

Either way, she's had a pretty good run.

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