I am finding these rescue organizations' applications and contracts annoying.
Found one contract yesterday saying they could inspect at any time and if the cat isn't up on vaccinations, they'll charge $250 or the cost of vaccination, whichever is greater, then take the cat. Yesterday, I cited one that had a similar $700 fee. You'll see why this concept is ridiculous in a bit.
First, though, when I feed and vet a cat, I consider it mine, not on loan from a rescue organization. I don't care for Big Brother to breathe down my neck. If they want to hover, then I would put them to work and make the litter box their responsibility.
I think I am entirely too Libertarian to use a rescue outfit again. Memph came from one, but theirs only had provision about vet care at the time of adoption, not down the line or in a threatening way. Come to think of it, they didn't even follow up with me about the initial vetting. I would use them again, but their animals are in cages at pet stores, so nothing is known about their personalities, i.e. Memph seemed so friendly and attentive, but we all know his best friend is the underside of my bed. I guess that's the difference; once an animal is put into foster care, the rescue org feels like they own it and just put it out on loan.
Another application I read yesterday really bothered me. It asked if you'd be willing to spend _____$100 _____$200 _____$500+ on a vet bill, with a couple lines for "Why?" if you wouldn't spend $500. This is obnoxious, telling me how to spend my money, and the answers do not necessarily represent outcome.
I'll give an example with Sad!e. She was alert but frothy and woozy one evening when she was almost 16.5 yo. I took her to the ER Vet thinking she'd had a mild stroke. The vet took blood for kidney failure and thyroid problems, plus did UA, but all later came back fine, so it was a mild stroke. The vet wanted to hold her for observation overnight, but I said I could not afford it, so we made a phone date for the next morning. I guess it cost around $125, because the vet kindly waived her fees of about the same amount; Sadie did get on an antibiotic and steroid. By the next morning, Sad!e, who thrived in her own home like cats do, had already followed me up and down the stairs and was just about her old self.
The vet, who was in shock at my old lady's progress, said we needed to work on fluids, said usually they'd go the in house IV route, but they'd show me sub-cutaneous means the next day, if need be, to save money at home. To avoid that, I opened a can of tuna, squeezed out the water, and my parched cat lapped it up over the day. Again, the vet was shocked and I think she added tuna water to her repertoire for when cats won't drink. I appreciated the vet so much for supporting me in going low tech at home.
Do you think my cat would have thrived more if she'd have stayed in the hospital on IV? No. Would I have been a better cat owner if I had thrown more bucks at her? No. I shudder to think what the whole shebang would have cost. It definitely would have put me in that $500 column, but that wouldn't have offered a superior outcome.
About eight months later, Sad!e was diagnosed with renal insufficiency, the gray area on the way to renal failure, which takes many cats. She was put on two daily meds and I was told to bring her in monthly for blood work, which would run something like $75-100/mo. Instead, I took her in every six months or so when the script needed refills; monthly monitoring would have provided useless feedback, because there wasn't much you could do for the cat beyond sub-cutaneous fluids and I could tell by her behavior how she was feeling. She lived almost two years after her diagnosis, the vast majority of it quite happy and healthy with little interference.
Again, I didn't throw a heap of money at Sad!e, but still had a satisfying outcome.
They're pets and you do the best for them, but there are lots of definitions of best. I don't want a rescue org defining what my best should be.
Now if $500 came easily to me, fine. However, I fail to see the logic in going in the hole to treat a suffering and dying animal. And if the animal isn't in that dire of a condition, then compromises can be made.
This leads me to an article from ever-trusted Slate: But Doc, the Dog's Already Dead! How to say no to your vet, by Emily Yoffe (Slate's ever wise Dear Prudence). Read it, especially the Lyme's Disease part (there are crooks in every field); I'm going to excerpt a different part. I would like to read Busby's book, How To Afford Veterinary Care Without Mortgaging the Kids. Here is what the vet says about vaccines. (Emphasis added.)
Busby also rails against the useless procedures foisted on healthy animals. Take yearly vaccinations. He writes, "[A]lmost all veterinarians insist on repeating these vaccinations over and over again throughout the life of the pet. Never forget how often they need to be given to you or your kids. ONCE!!!" Busby says that after the essential shots and boosters for puppies and kittens are completed, pets enjoy the same lifelong immunity humans do. (Legal requirements force more frequent rabies shots.) He points out unnecessary treatments are not necessarily benign because the treatments themselves can cause side effects. I know. My wonderful cat Shlomo died at age 16 because I followed the yearly vaccination recommendations. A component of the feline leukemia vaccine caused an injection-site cancer. (For a thorough discussion of the problem with pet overvaccination, see www.critteradvocacy.org.)See, even vaccines are bogus and a rip off, not to mention a health hazard. Why should a rescue organization force me to throw money at something useless, plus put my animal at risk of cancer? And then penalize me if I don't? Again, there are many levels of best.
To be honest, I do not know why cats they insist stay indoors need shots anyway. The "in case they get out" part doesn't hold water. If that were truly the case, they'd require tags and microchipping. Instead, I think it is a racket, manipulating pet owners into something unnecessary which then hangs over their heads as an excuse to take the animal.
My goal, of course, isn't to put vets out of business, but I need to be a customer with a brain, not a money machine spewing at needless interventions. Although Sad!e's ER vet really worked with me, it's as if pet owners are treated the same way that health insurers are: eh? they'll pay out of obligation so the test will be ordered and the procedure performed, regardless of need. That's how Sad!e's regular vet treated Sad!e, them wanting monthly testing. The prevailing philosophy of vets and rescue organizations seems to be to shame the owner into forking over the bucks in the name of health and sentimentality. The problem is the pet owners aren't bottomless pits like insurance companies are viewed and I, for one, resent being considered a bad pet owner or a poor prospect by a rescue organization if I choose to not spend my money on things that are generally fluff.
Although my cats are members of the family, eat premium food, are treated with the utmost in low tech care (i.e., Sad!e's pills, K gel, sub-q fluids, special food), and loved wholeheartedly, I don't forget they're cats who I am treating like children.
With my son never getting sick, I don't think he's been to the pediatrician in 2.5 years. Am I being irresponsible if he doesn't need to go? Will I be fined $700 by someone?
Why are cats being elevated higher than my kid?
It's just no wonder so many animals are in these rescue organizations.