Wednesday, June 02, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Four Hundred Dollars Later 

The cats were due for their annual vet check-up yesterday and to be honest Fort was long over due for his "new cat once over". We left it for a while mainly because we knew that there wasn't anything wrong with him and if there was it's not like we were going to give him back to Tom. The animal return policy would have been the only reason to get him checked up in 72 hours.

We went to Anderson's Animal Hospital which is really really close to where we live. This guy is great, he can treat exotics, small animals and of course cats and dogs. Not only is he a great vet though, he is also a superior salesperson. In Jim's words, this guy tried to sell us the farm. He wanted us to do $100 blood tests on both cats to test for both Feline Leukemia (which is apparently the number one killer of pet cats) and Feline AIDS. His main reason was that if either Gato or Fort had either disease (both of which are contagious and fatal) it would be best to find out and have the sick one put down rather than lose both cats. Eventually we settled on just doing the blood tests on Gato for the simple reason that we don't know her history and that she has had a litter. (Both diseases are STDs although they can also be transferred through bodily fluids)

After Gato's results came back negative (yay!) we got both cats vaccinated. It was about $90/cat. Dr. Anderson gave us the option of spreading out the vaccines if we didn't want to pay for them all at this point in time. There were two reasons why we decided to bite the bullet. One: that because this was our first visit, we were getting 50% off our consultation fee. This means that the next time we visted, we would have to pay $40/cat on top of what it would cost us to vaccinate them, whereas if we got them all done now, we were only paying $20/cat. Two: their shots were due and it would be really irresponsible to let it slide. Pets are a commitment whichever way you slice it. I've committed to taking care of them and money should not stand in the way of that committment.

We also asked about tattooing for cats. (I wanted to give them butterfly tattoos too...haha) Dr. Anderson (again with the upsell...) brought up a really good point about tattoos, that over time, they became smudged. Tattoos are usually a serial number of some sort in the cat's ear. The "font size" used is obviously very small. Indeed, I can't read what Gato's tattoo says (she came with one from the pound) and Gato's tattoo number isn't even registered with us as her owner. The alternative that he was offering was a microchip inserted under cats' skin. It is procedure for vets and pounds to scan all the "found" animals to see whether they belong to someone. It's a one-time fee and the chip will last as long as the cat does. So we got Gato microchipped with 24hr PetWatch which is an organization that vets and pounds can call to find out who the pet is registered under. I can update my information on Gato anytime online and I never have to pay admin fees. (They should pay me to advertise for them) We will get Fort microchipped when he goes in this Saturday to get neutered. The microchip was another $30.

We would have microchipped Fort yesterday too, but this is one cat that does not like the needle. When Gato is getting her shots, she just sits there with an indignant look. When Fort even -feels- the needle he jumps three feet in the air and yowls. Considering that the needle used to insert the microchip is much wider than the one used to administer the shots, we opted to have him under General Anaesthetic before he got chipped. You -could- argue that since they are indoor cats and since they both wear their snazzy tags with our phone numbers on them (Jim made them, parts and labour courtesy of Jack Kobelt) we don't really need a microchip. I would say that you are right. Regardless, I would rather waste $30 than accidently leave the screen door open one day and find them gone without any means of getting them back. Plus, 24hr PetWatch also offers insurance for $20/year for up to $3000 accident coverage. I'm probably going to get that just because I live on the corner of two extremely busy streets.

I think that it's really important that the public is educated about spaying and neutering their cats. There's this really good documentary out there called Best Friend Forgotten. It's only 47 minutes long, it's narrated by the yummy David Duchovny, go download it off Kazaa or something and watch it. I know that it's not all that relevant to everyone out there because it's filmed from an American perspective and we know that the Americans always have bigger problems than everyone else (let me quantify that, America has the most and biggest first-world type problems) but it's still a good film. For example, all of Canada's pet shelters are no kill and the most major pet chains help house and cycle these animals throughout the community instead of selling kittens and puppies so a large part about the wanton destruction of animals is moot. I have my own reasons for neutering Fort (I don't want him to want to escape....Gato will NOT tolerate dry, or otherwise, humping etc.) and I don't expect anyone to share them. That was my two cents about pet population control anyway.

All in all Jim and I have spent $400 (what is now a week's wages) on our cats. Don't tell my grandad, he will flip. As a result, we are not going to start the Atkins diet because it is a relatively more expensive diet. *sigh*


posted by Joie! at 3:54 PM

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