Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to Not Euthanize a Cat on Social Security

I had a horrible "adventure" last night. It truly sucks to be old and broke in this country. My neighbor asked me to drive her to the emergency vet. It's the end of the month, so of course she had no money, and when we got there the cat was already cold and barely breathing. I had to double-check that she was still alive when I got her out of the car.

Of course “Jane” was in denial that Kitty was that far gone. They wanted $109 for the doc to even look at the cat. Any tests or treatment would be more. I already knew there would be no treatment. Jane wanted to hear that from the doc, and kept trying to get them to take a post-dated check. She finally asked if they could keep Kitty overnight so she could pawn some jewelry to pay the bill. They said that would cost $500, plus the $109, and $250 for blood tests plus more for whatever other tests they might need to do, and the cat's body temp and heartbeat were both going down. They said they'd put the cat down for free, but of course it would cost money to have them dispose of the body.

At that point I told Jane that when I was a medic and when I volunteer to sit with dying patients they get cold and their heartbeat slows at the end, and I that I thought the cat was dead in the car. I told her I didn't think she should put Kitty through any tests and I thought the best thing to do would be to just put her down. Then I called my daughter and asked if they would bury the cat in their yard, because we're not allowed to bury cats here. My daughter agreed. Jane finally agreed to let them euthanize the cat and take her to my daughter's. I said we'd put her in the recycling bin and put a stone on top to keep the critters out until the kids get home, because they’re out of town right now. Elizabeth also said Jane can come by and visit the grave.

The vets said they had some papers for us to sign before they put her down and left us alone with Kitty. They were gone so long, Kitty died in Jane's arms. I put her on the table and listened to her chest but didn't hear anything. Then I asked someone with a stethoscope if they could hear anything. The person who came in must have been the vet, because they tried to charge us $109. At which point, I went off. I yelled, "The f***ing cat died in our arms and you people did nothing for us! We don't owe you a thing!" Then we marched out of there—and I left my purse and had to go back for it.

So, Kitty is now in my daughter's recycling bin, in a bag one uses to bring frozen food home from the store. I suspect my neighbor would have pawned every piece of jewelry she owned if anyone else had driven her to the vet last night, and the poor kitty would have been dead when she got back there this morning. At the very least, she probably would have ended up pawning her jewelry to pay $109 for the doc to say, "Yup, she's gone," plus The Goddess knows how much more to have the poor baby cremated. I'm so glad I was able to be there for her, even if I did lose it at the end.

A few years ago when my cat, Titania died, I ran into the same thing, but I let my fingers do the walking. I was planning to take her downstate to our vet near Rantoul, but she didn’t make it to the third when my Social Security came in, either. I couldn’t find a place that would dispose of her without charging at least $100 to walk in the door and have a doc say, “Yup, she’s gone.”

That was the night I met the young man who is now my son-in-law. It was right after we had the Valentine’s Day blizzard—the ground was frozen and there was three feet of snow with drifts over six feet in places. Elizabeth called Marshall to help us. He ended up putting Ti in a dumpster on the other side of the Volo Auto Museum where we lived at the time. I wasn’t supposed to know that’s what he did with her, but there was nothing else he could do. We couldn’t exactly keep her until the ground thawed.

Thank the cat goddess Bast it’s been unseasonably warm here, and the ground isn’t frozen as it would normally be right now. Marshall can bury Kitty.

RIP, Kitty. Give Titania my love.

(I have no photos, as I have not asked "Jane" if it's okay to post this)

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