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.
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.