Why I Don't Mind Paying A $300/month Vet Bill

This whole Cecil the Lioncase has brought up some interesting thoughts on how we treat animals. Going back a little over 6 months ago, my cat Ramone (most of you know about him – a feline friend that adopted me a few years ago) wasn’t eating.

A parasite from a neighbor’s dog had killed his appetite. Because of this, he started losing weight fast and his liver couldn’t keep up. Quickly, he became boney and his exposed skin and gums turned yellow. He was almost a goner. I took him into the vet where they said they were going to need to hospitalize him for a few days – antibiotics, feeding tube, the whole nine. Hospitalization was going to be very expensive and I needed to pay up front before they could do anything. I didn’t have that kind of money, but I was desperate – he was my buddy. He had been with me through a traumatic divorce, through a time when I was sent to the ER just over stress, etc. For $50, I could have ended his suffering through euthanasia. I decided to sign up for my first ever credit card right there in the cat examination room with him literally dying right beside me.

cat feeding tube
Ramone with his feeding tube and shaved fur for an IV.

I thought the card was no interest for a year, but it was actually for 6 months that will now almost tack several hundred more dollars in interest. I’m still putting several hundred away to pay for this…this…cat that wandered into my life and had helped me tremendously.

Fast forward a few months. Ramone was back to his old self. We moved into a larger place in anticipation of me getting married to my soulmate, the lovely Shakhar Bat David. For now, we were still living our bachelor life in expectation.

One evening, I was relaxing in my late-grandfather’s easy chair that I had inherited. I must have drifted off, but was awoken at around 3am to Ramone acting very strangely. He was acting very violent — biting my bare feet and running around erratically. I got up to calm him down. As I stood up, the room started spinning and my head was throbbing. I didn’t know what was going on, but Ramone wouldn’t stop attacking my bare feet, even after repeatedly pushing him away. I knew that sometimes being outside calmed him down, so I put on his harness with a leash (don’t judge – I live in the city) and took him outside. As I stood outside holding for a while, he calmed down, my head felt better and I wasn’t dizzy. Hmm…weeeeird. Not knowing what to do, Ramone and I went to spend the rest of the evening at my parents’ house.

The next day, I called the landlord. A maintenance guy came out to inspect. Evidently, on their way out for a few days, my neighbor brushed against his stove (right by the door), slightly turning one of the knobs, causing gas to filling the apartment. Being that it’s an old building, the gas drifted into my apartment, slowly filling it up. Had I just remained asleep the entire night in my chair, I may not have noticed the leaking gas and maybe not woken up…ever. Ramone knew something was wrong and was trying to get my attention.

So, yes, I’m shelling out about $300 a month to pay off this silly cat’s vet bill… but heck, it beats being dead.

Ramone the cat

What My Cat Taught Me About Existence This Morning

Some of you know about one of my best friends in the whole world – Ramone. Ramone is my cat. He’s a gray and white tuxedo cat that I took from being an outside-only mini-farm cat to fat spoiled inside-only cat. Ramone helps me to unravel some of the secrets of the universe. He helped me with one in particular this morning. 

I recently moved in with a friend of mine, so we’ve been trying to get the hang of living together. Of course, Ramone had to come with me. Upon entering the house, Ramone had to explore everything. In this process, he made my roommate’s giant flatscreen TV wobble like it was in the breeze. This made my roommate paranoid and he asked me to keep Ramone in my room while I wasn’t in the house and in my room at night. I kindly agreed – especially with the last part because he happens to be an amazing bed warmer on these chilly nights. Since changing to a new job this week, Ramone was spending more and more time cooped in my room and I was noticing that he was becoming periodically aggressive – something completely unlike Ramone. After fearing that he had rabies (did I mention that I’m a hypochondriac?), my vet told me that this was probably Ramone’s way of lashing out from being locked in my room. I told my roommate that Ramone has to be allowed to have free access to common living areas of the house at all times of day or else we’ll be living with a grumpy cat. I explained that if Ramone damages any of his property, I will kindly pay for it. I was happy, but Ramone was ecstatic. 

Last night, for the first time I had stayed in the house, I left my bedroom door open on purpose. Ramone was free to roam the entire house all night long. He probably could have gotten away with the equivalent of murder during those night hours if he had really wanted to. Still, I was surprised. Even though I had left the door wide open and Ramone realized this, he chose to stay with me – in my bed, nestled against my side. Zero aggression. 

Upon waking up to realization, it made me think of our relationship with God. God has created each one of us unique. He has given us freewill and sent us into the world to do whatever we want. Many people relish in the fact that they’re really free to partake in all of the carnal pleasures this world has to offer – some actually do get away with murder (in this world, anyways). Because this planet is so free and open, this makes returning to God that much more meaningful for those who decide to do so. When we return, though it is a life without as many scandalous pleasures to partake in, it’s warm – zero aggression. On the flip side of the coin some choose to live as though the door is never open. While this is the safest route, it takes away from the weight of the return. We don’t have to shun the world in order to take part in the warmth of God, but simply realize that it’s there and though it’s there, decide to enjoy the company of our Creator.