Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Twitchy Itchy Livy Kitty

I'm just watching an electrical storm of twitches course through my cat (multiple muscles on all four paws, both ears, eyebrow whiskers, nose, lips, the works), and thought I would write a little bit about her.

I took Olivia to the vet on Saturday, because she has been having some itchy skin problems lately, and she had not seen the vet in what turned out to be two and a half years! It turns out Livy is okay, although she does have allergies to something (hence the itch), and I may have to switch to expensive vet food, because her kidney function, although still in the normal range, is a little high. But her teeth are in great shape. Which means she just has terribly bad breath.

I was very proud of Livy. Everyone at the vet's office talked about how calm she was in the face of adversity, sitting quietly on the bench next to me, chatting up fellow patrons, and ignoring the dogs as much as possible. She didn't cry when the vet took two vials of blood, or when she got her vaccines. She was good in the car, too. She stays in the back seat (unlike Dusty, who used to think crawling under the brake peddle was the safest place to cower), she meows a little, hops up in the rear window, and settles down. She almost fell asleep on the way back.

All of this has me thinking about just how far I'd be willing to go if Livy became seriously ill. Growing up, we always had a policy of "no heroic measures," that was founded as much on cost as it was on the accepted role and importance of pets. Of course, that policy was never really tested; If we actually had the money to spend, would we have made exceptions? I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. I love my cat, but she is a pet, not "my baby." I think it is my responsibility to see that she is healthy and comfortable for as long as she is alive, but how far am I willing to go (or spend) to extend her life? It's a hard question, and if she knew I was considering it, I don't think she would be snoring so serenely with her nose squished against the couch.

Is it terrible that pet care is not just about quality of life, but cost as well? And just what is that magic number beyond which we have to stop? Is it when the cost of keeping the animal alive exceeds your monthly phone bill? Your furniture payment? A year's tuition? How much is the love of a pet worth?

If I catblogged every Friday, this blog would be nothing but cat pictures, but in honour of this post, I will make an exception. Behold, the beautiful Livy, in macro.


Threnody said...

I probably would've gone up to $400 for my cats...which I miss a lot :(

Lori said...

We learned a lesson after we paid over $1000 for our cat that someone shot in the face. In the end, she had to be put down.

It's kind of like going to an auction - you have to decide ahead of time what your limit is and be a little detatched about it. Cold, but reality. It makes me thankful for (people0 health care.

Arianna said...

Thanks for the advice on finding books! I'll definitely need to try that out, but I'm not hopeful. Ottawa U is notoriously bad at anything that resembles a service to the students.

I know Chapters isn't super good for having all the titles, that why I had to hold my nose and try it last, after going to every single independent/feminist/pagan/occult/hippie bookstore in the city :P