Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have a VERY URGENT question. I have a year-old male Siamese cat who is primarily an indoor kitty. He managed to get outside yesterday afternoon for the whole day, and now he can’t go to the bathroom. I have tried to get him to the vet, but none of the vets in my area will take a payment plan, I have absolutely no money, and I can’t qualify for care credit. I also don’t have anyone who can help me. The vets that I have talked to will offer a humane euthanasia but won’t see him. What can I do? I don’t want to lose my kitty.
Siouxsie: Danielle, you certainly should be commended for trying. It’s unfortunately a common experience that people who say they can’t afford vet care really mean that they don’t want to spend the extra money. But you’ve applied for Care Credit, you’ve talked to every veterinarian in the area, and you’ve done everything you know to do.
Thomas: We hope sour suggestions will help you, because failure to urinate is a very critical problem. Whether he is having acute kidney failure from getting into something toxic or whether his urethra is blocked by crystals, your kitty must have veterinary attention, and soon.
Dahlia: Have you tried contacting your local humane society? Sometimes they have free or low-cost clinics. This is more often the case in large cities, however, so if you live in a rural area you might be out of luck.
Siouxsie: There are some organizations that help the caretakers of cats with urgent medical problems. There’s a listing of such sites here. We recommend that you contact these groups right away and see if one of them will contribute to your cat’s care. You can also Google using the keywords “cat care financial assistance” or something like that.
Thomas: Unfortunately, there’s no way to unblock a cat’s urethra without veterinary assistance. This is a very painful condition. The cat’s bladder gets bigger and bigger as more urine goes into it. Eventually urine will back up into the kidneys and cause toxicity or renal failure.
Dahlia: We hate to say this, Danielle, but if you can’t find any assistance then the most humane choice may be to have your sweet boy euthanized. I’m crying just thinking about it!
Siouxsie: A cat with a blockage will develop acute renal failure and will die if the condition is not treated. The death is very painful and gut-wrenching to watch.
Thomas: I know this is an incredibly sad situation, Danielle. This dilemma is becoming increasingly common as the economy falls apart: do we pay our bills and buy food, or do we pay for an animal’s vet care? Or do we find ourselves almost unable to pay for food and other basic necessities and then have an animal with a medical emergency?
Dahlia: You’re not the only person who’s ever been faced with the possibility of having to put down an animal because you can’t afford crucial care. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your cat if you have to make this choice. And it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an animal, either, as some heartless people may say.
Siouxsie: Our vet is seeing this more often lately, too, because we live in an area where a lot of people barely make ends meet even under the best of circumstances. Now that food and fuel are so expensive, people are struggling even more. Add a job layoff or a disabling injury to this problem, and the fragile balance that’s made life possible to this point just can’t be sustained.
Thomas: Danielle, we really hope our suggestions can help you get your cat the medical care he needs.
Dahlia: And if you can’t get assistance, and you need to have him euthanized to minimize his suffering, we hope you’ll try not to blame yourself, especially if your current financial situation is due to circumstances beyond your control. You’re doing the best you can. Please know that your kitty boy is grateful for all your efforts to help him and he will continue to love you unconditionally no matter what the outcome.
Siouxsie: While we’re on the rather grim topic of the current U.S. economy and its effects on family pets and livestock, our favorite veterinary blog, Dolittler, has an article on how the foreclosure crisis has affected animals in her area. Here, she writes about the veterinarian’s side of the dilemma of offering payment plans and gives one specific example.
Thomas: On the other hand, if you have a good and long-standing relationship with your veterinarian, it’s possible that he or she might just cut you a little slack.
Dahlia: If your vet knows you — because you bring your cat(s) in for annual checkups, they look healthy and happy, you ask questions about your cat’s health and communicate well with your vet, etc. — he or she (and the front-desk staff that really run the nuts and bolts of the practice) will be more inclined to cut you a little slack.
Siouxsie: However, don’t be surprised if they don’t want to do that. Many clients who make payment arrangements for treatments unfortunately end up failing to live up to their end of the bargain.
Thomas: Regardless of rumors or ideas to the contrary, veterinary medicine is not a high-margin business, and vet clinics really can’t afford to take on expensive treatments and not get paid for the services they offered.
Dahlia: We interviewed our wonderful and fabulous veterinarian, Doctor Sarah, last fall, and asked her some questions about what it’s like to be a vet, how to have a good relationship with your vet, and much more. You can read it here if you’re interested.
I know the situation, i am lucky to have a vet i have used for 20 years who helps me with payment plans in times like this I think all vets should give people a chance. what was the outcome for this kitty ?
To Whom it may concern. My kids found 3 newborn kittens,that were less then 1 week old there eyes were just opening know there has been some time passed and they are about 6 mo’s old and one of the kittens is very sick this is the only boy of the group. For some reason he isn’t eating very much or doing much of anything anymore he was very outgoing but know all he wants to do is lay around. He seems he is geting better but not that fast. You Can feel his ribs he need to gain more weight.Please help us in finding a cure for our loving cat.
Our cat Toby’s tail was run over while he crossed the street. He seemed fine except his tail dragged on the ground. After a couple of days we noticed that he couldn’t relieve himself (urinate) We found out from the vet that the injury caused damage to the nerve that controlled his bladder. The vet explained that there was not much he could do for him that wouldn’t cost a lot of money or effect the quality of his life. We didn’t have the funds to help him. We decided to put him down. Right before the vet did it he asked if we wanted to hold him one last time. My wife held him in her lap and then Toby came to my lap and he licked me on my nose. He had never done that before. He knew he was going to go and it was his way of saying goodbye. That was several years ago and it still pains me that we had to do it but his farewell will always be remembered as “Its okay it’s time for me to go”.
I’m in the same situation as Danielle. Included everything she said, but change the kitty to a “girl”, and the age to “3” years.
My vet put me on a payment plan for the massive amount of money I already owe them for examining my poor kitty. I cannot afford anymore tests, and so far they haven’t been able to tell me what’s wrong. Nothing is working. I’m having to force feed my cat tiny bits of food, and give her water through a syringe, but she just spits it back up. I’m scared my girl is going to die just because I can’t afford blood tests. Please help!
i have a couple cats and a dog and i am waiting on disability which will take a month or 2 to get here. until then we have my husbands income and that is not enough after paying rent and gas and lights etc to have any emergency funds available. our credit is bad so we dont qualify for any credit assistance. and yesterday my cats got into a fight and the one got hurt. she was bleeding from her eye and nose. i got her cleaned up as best i could. but i seriously have no money to take her to the vet right now. i would spend any amount i could on her if i had could. she is not a cat to me she is my little baby girl. my child. i think she will be ok but still needs to be looked at. i still dont know what happened. her eye is half closed im sure from being swollen now and more crusty from the blood i couldnt get off. i have caught her eating and drinking and purring when i pet her and she is trying to take her paw and clean her face. but i have her in a room by herself for now. im worried about her and scared. she needs to bee seen but really i have no money at all. and i have called few vets in sioux falls, sd. and they dont do payment plans
My kitty Desi is about 13 years old. My brother’s girlfriend gave her to my sister, who gave her to me. She had been abused, so she hid alot and crouched around people. She comes out to eat, but mostly hides places. I have 3 other cats, 2 were feral, and one black male the youngest, biggest. Desi does not play well with others, although she gets along with my flamepoint feral turned domestic male cat. He is around 7-8 years old. She has been pooping and peeing on everything. She jumps up on the table and squats and pees on papers, clothes, she will pee on shoes, slippers. Or just on the carpet. I have seen her do this, and then she slinks away. No matter if I leave the doors open for the cats to go in and out…She will not. I think she is sick, her feces is hard but she drinks alot of water. Her appetite is good, and I give the cats “flea free” in their water, seems to control the fleas, I have no money for vet help, what can I do, what should I do?