Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Now I understand why the good folks at the SPCA grilled me before allowing me to adopt my cat, Kitty Carlysle. They wanted to make sure that I understood that having a pet was not going to be a cheap journey. Sure, it’s easy not to think about costs when you’re holding a small, purring kitten, but the SPCA staff knows that the future could hold many expenses. Today I proved their point.

Kitty Carlysle, now three years old, had seemed uncomfortable for the last couple of days. She wasn’t her usual haughty, mischievous, camel-cricket-catching self. She also would cry occasionally when using her litter box. The final clue that something wasn’t right was when my perfect little lady of a cat had an accident outside her litter box, and that accident was tinged with blood.

I placed an emergency call to Dr. Lucy, our family veterinarian, and was told I should bring Miss Kitty in right away. I was told to leave her for a few hours so the vet staff could obtain a urine sample (don’t even want to know how that was accomplished!), and could run a few tests. All signs were pointing to a urinary tract infection, but Dr. Lucy wanted proof from her tests.

Two hours passed before I received the call verifying that Kitty had a urinary tract infection. She would need antibiotics and special food – food that would hopefully keep future such infections at bay. Apparently if a cat had one such infection, similar infections will frequently follow. The new food, available only by prescription, would keep urine PH levels appropriate and thus help prevent future days like today.

I was told to come back and get Miss Kitty, and the whole way there I wondered how expensive this would all be. It’s been my experience with past vet visits, that leaving with a bill less than $100 almost never happens. A vet visit reminds me a a shopping trip to Costco, our big box, warehouse style store when things are bought in large quantity supposedly at a lower cost. I’ve always said the store shouldn’t be called Costco, but rather the $100 dollar store because it’s impossible to go in and not spend at least that much.

True to form, the vet bill was $161! Yikes!! That was more than it cost to take my youngest daughter to the pediatrician for two ear infections. Besides the vet time, there was a charge for two diagnostic tests, a charge for the antibiotic (which looks suspiciously like amoxicillin), and a pretty hefty charge for both dry and wet prescription cat food.

So Kitty is back home and resting well. She enjoyed her expensive new food (as well she should!), and has had her first dose of antibiotics. Have you ever had to get a syringe-full of liquid medicine in an unhappy, squirming animal that has razor blades coming out of its feet? The next medical visit will be fine, I fear

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