Our Cat

She’s eight years old. A couple months ago, we spent a grand to get her teeth cleaned. This morning, I paid $280 to find out that she probably has some sort of cancer. We’ll have to spend another $400 on an ultrasound to more accurately diagnose and determine next steps (which could include no more good money after bad).

[Evening update]

Patricia came home, and Rerun wanted to climb on her lap while she was on the computer.

We moved her to her favorite blanky from when she was six months old, and she started kneading it.

[Late evening update]

She ate some of her dinner, then crawled on my lap. Then I moved her to Patricia’s lap, and she was even more happy.

[Update Friday afternoon]

Yesterday, she got the ultrasound, and they did a biopsy of the tumors (yes, two, with an iffy-looking liver as well). The vet thinks it’s either lymphoma, which would be relatively good news, or carcinoma, which would be bad, because it’s basically inoperable. They won’t know until they get lab results next week from the tissue samples.

We’ve started her on prednisone on in case it’s lymphoma, in the hopes that it will reduce the sizes, and perhaps even result, best case, in complete remission. They also gave her an appetite stimulant. This morning, she ate some of her normal, not prescription, food, and seems a little better. We’re flying to Florida in the morning and will board her at the vet while we’re gone for a week or so, and they’ll keep an eye on her.

[Bumped]

32 comments on this post.
  1. Jim Davis:

    A couple months ago, we spent a grand to get her teeth cleaned. This morning, I paid $280 to find out that she probably has some sort of cancer. We’ll have to spend another $400 on an ultrasound to more accurately diagnose and determine next steps (which could include no more good money after bad).

    Does she have a diamond studded collar as well? 🙂

  2. Rand Simberg:

    No, but I wouldn’t expect a non-cat person to understand. We spend very little on her, other than (lately) medical expenses. She’s been a cat of simple needs.

  3. McG:

    I’m not so much a cat person as a married-with-cats, and I do understand. Our neutered male cat was treated for a UTI three years ago and Mrs. McG still feeds him nightly in a separate room from the other cats to make sure he gets his special food.

  4. Ctrot:

    One doesn’t have to be a cat person to understand, just a pet owner. Having dogs that I love almost as much as human family I understand. Good luck, I hope she does well.

  5. wodun:

    No, but I wouldn’t expect a non-cat-pet person to understand.

    Pets are a part of our family and we always do what we can for them. I’m sorry to hear about your cat, she is lucky to have such a caring family.

    IMO in situations like this, there is no “bad” money just the limits of reality.

  6. Casey:

    Here’s hoping the news is good…

  7. Bart:

    Looks like I’m the only horrible person who agrees with you, Jim. It’s just a cat. There’re thousands more being given euthanasia every day who deserve even a little life compared to the wonderful lives of some of their kin. I don’t know how much a single shot of pentathol costs, but I think it’d be a lot more economical, and merciful to the others who could be adopted in replacement.

  8. Rand Simberg:

    Looks like I’m the only horrible person who agrees with you, Jim. It’s just a cat.

    “It’s just a cat” are the words of someone who has never been owned by a cat. And I pity such people.

  9. Bart:

    Puts me in mind of W. F. Buckley on Bach:

    “Those who do not know Bach are to be pitied. Those who do not like Bach are to be despised.”

  10. Zach:

    That’s hard. I’m awfully fond of my cats. Nothing against dogs at all; I like dogs fine. But I don’t have a dog, and at the same time I couldn’t imagine NOT having a cat.

    We always try to have three cats, with pretty good spacing in their ages, so we’ve always got one old cat, one middle-aged, and one (relative) kitten. It sucks that their lives aren’t that long, and it sucks when they get sick. I empathize.

  11. ken anthony:

    You could get a tortoise or parrot to outlive you, but that just passes the problem to the next generation.

    My folks animals may outlive them. My sister is coming next week to take the outdoor dog back with her to Tucson (he’s the happiest bull in the china shop when he accidentally follows the Chihuahuas inside.)

    I just have an apartment and don’t believe it would be fair to keep any pets although all my neighbors have them.

    It just seems better to not make attachments when I can’t give them the care they deserve.

  12. rickl:

    Best wishes, Rand. I lost my 17-year-old Kira on Saturday, after a long battle with kidney disease.

  13. wodun:

    Sorry to hear that rickl. That’s an amazing run for a pet, she was lucky to have someone that took such good care of her.

  14. Dick Eagleson:

    Me and mine have neither dogs nor cats, we’re guinea pig people. Not that it matters, really. An 8-year-old cat is no senior citizen. I hope your medical expenses pay off in many more years of companionship. We have made similar expenditures once or twice for our little guys when they were far closer to their live’s ends. I don’t regret a dime of it. Family comes first.

  15. Tom W:

    Have to agree that a non-pet person wouldn’t understand an folks with pets completely get it.

    I went through something similar with my golden a few years ago. Before we had him checked for cancer, my wife and I discussed the options if the test showed cancer. The vet told us that the cost would most likely be in the $3500 + range, and still then there was no guarantees. At that point, we decided not to spend the extra money (about $500) and sadly he died about a month later.

    As hard as it is, I would advise you to talk to your wife to determine just how far you are comfortable going with this possible issue.

    Good luck and hope he gets better soon.

  16. Rand Simberg:

    Oh, believe me, we will discuss it, but we’re committed to at least getting a good diagnosis.

  17. wodun:

    One of my previous dogs had cancer and it was interesting to compare the costs of treating his cancer to a human’s.

  18. MfK:

    I’m a cat person, and last year lost my best feline friend. He was an amazing Russian Blue who lived 17 years, despite health challenges that almost killed him and a three week excursion into the wilds, from which he returned seriously wounded, but wiser. We spent a lot to save the little guy, and he returned it with affection one rarely sees in a cat. So I sympathize with you, Rand, and hope the outcome is good.

  19. rickl:

    One thing I’m surprised that nobody has brought up is that veterinary care is still mostly free market, which means that a procedure performed on an animal is much less expensive than the equivalent procedure performed on a human. My vet will even give me an estimate beforehand.

    This is because a pet owner pays out of pocket, whereas the human health care industry is totally screwed up by third party insurance and government mandates, to the point where nobody knows or cares what a procedure actually costs, just whether “insurance covers it” or not. This was the case even before Obamacare.

  20. Rand Simberg:

    One thing I’m surprised that nobody has brought up is that veterinary care is still mostly free market, which means that a procedure performed on an animal is much less expensive than the equivalent procedure performed on a human.

    You might think so, but get a cat’s teeth cleaned some time.

  21. rickl:

    I’ve never heard of a cat’s teeth cleaning costing $1000. Kira’s teeth were cleaned when she was 7, and it wasn’t that big of a deal.

    In March of this year, she had an operation to remove a malignant sarcoma that cost $1000. That didn’t seem unreasonable to me.

  22. Rand Simberg:

    We got three quotes on teeth cleaning. Each was a grand. If extractions or root canals required, a lot more. We’re talking periodontal work here, not just rubbing them while the cat is conscious.

  23. born01930:

    They can do a root canal on a cat? Amazing…the teeth being so small.

  24. wodun:

    I should have scrolled down before commenting.

    Cancer treatment for dogs is many times cheaper than for humans. Same goes for knee surgery, it costs about $1500.

    Our vet even has different service packages for the regular stuff, sort of like having a lawyer on retainer.

  25. Rand Simberg:

    If it’s a lymphoma, it would be treated with steroids as chemo, which are quite inexpensive, a few bucks a month. If she needs surgery, probably a few hundred bucks, maybe a couple thousand.

  26. Paul D.:

    We had two cats, sisters. One is still with us. The other died about age 10 from a mast cell tumor in the small intestine. This usually hits dogs, but in her case it perforated the bowel and caused her to go into shock (with chemicals from the mast cells possibly causing an anaphylactic condition). The end was mercifully swift, at least.

  27. Fletcher Christian:

    I like cats (and also dogs, to a lesser extent) but I don’t keep them for two reasons. One is that I’m allergic to pet dander; when I visit my friends who have four cats, I have to dose up with antihistamines.

    The other is a bit more serious; I think it would be irresponsible and potentially cruel for me to keep animals. I live on my own, and have health problems that mean I might keel over, permanently, without warning. Potentially very bad for any animal stuck in the house with me.

  28. DarkstarSF:

    I’ve been there. Still have the health issues, now recovering from a big setback, but now I’m part of a large and growing (!) family.

    We have a Corgi I just love to pieces. Since he actually belongs to my step-son and his wife, they get the work and I get the love. I also help with the bills.

  29. DarkstarSF:

    Also, all of us together can come up with quite a bit of money for vet bills in an emergency.

  30. Arizona CJ:

    Best wishes on a good outcome for Rerun.

    I haven’t had a cat since I was a kid, but I know they are family members – I certainly felt that way about mine.

  31. Tom W:

    Rand
    The feelings you have for Rerun really come through here.

    I very much hope that the current treatment cures her and she gets healthy soon.

    For now, all you can do is give her all the attention that she wants and make her as happy/comfortable as possible until you learn the diagnosis.

    Best wishes.

  32. Calvin Dodge:

    Jim, did Garfield make you say that?