Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dead in the Water

Tonight, without warning, the vet clinic I used told me, starting Monday, there would be a $20 charge per cat for pain medication. Prior to this, I'd been paying $2 out of my own pocket per cat for a laser pain treatment on each cat. I thought that was supposed to be really good. Now, I wonder if that was real or what. I don't know anymore, who to believe and who not to believe.

I do know I can't pay $20 per cat for pain meds. Supposedly, this is a brand new mandate from the Oregon vet board.

But Safehaven will be exempted from the fee. That riles me. It riles me because I told Safehaven about that clinic. It riles me because they're all paid there at Safehaven. It riles me because they don't work together with of the Linn groups trying to stop overpopulation. It riles me because they don't go out and try to solve the overpopulation problem and refer people needing help to little unfunded private people outfits like KATA. It riles me because they glide up in a van and don't have to sit in a parking lot all day while their shelter animals are fixed up there but I do, as a volunteer, rounding up unfixed Linn County cats to be fixed. I guess I just have a frustation over the haves and the have nots in the world of trying to help animals.

It mainly riles me because I'm tired, because I try to so hard and I really don't care they get exempted when it comes down to it. But if they are, and I'm not, I feel the old "you're not good enough" come rising from within, the out caste lonliness, the "you don't count" thing building and that's why it matters that they are exempted and I'm not.

And the clinic telling me that late, when I was picking up the ten cats fixed today, already worn out, blindsided me big time. I had no time to prepare myself for this, for the fact now I have no way to help the masses of cats out there who could have been fixed at least. I have lost my job, my mission, my identity, in a flash.

Who's going to help cats like up at that Lebanon place, 39 so far, where two roam still unfixed, if I can't, using Poppa Inc. funds. Nobody is. Or like at that Lebanon trailer park, still with three ferals and at least two kittens needing fixed. Nobody else is going to step forward. Nobody.

The vet says Safehaven is exempted because Safehaven gives their own pain meds prior. But if this is a mandate from the vet board that probably won't cut the mustard either. I would think detailed records of pain meds given, per weight and health of animal would need be supplied for the clinics records by a vet who assessed the animals ability to handle that med prior to administration at Safehaven or any other shelter exempt from the add on fee, because they give it themselves prior. So I don't what is going on, not really. I have no clue.

I guess I assumed all clinics gave something at the time of surgery and that if you paid for pain meds, it was for post surgical pain meds. The Countryside $8 post surgery meds would come in five syringes you had to administer once each day, making this not an option for ferals, that is for sure. It is certainly a reasonable price for tame cats, however, and often people would pay for that, when I asked them to, for a tame cat, but not if they had multiple tame cats. The poverty levels people live in now are astounding. I have met people living on no income, except food stamps, on many occasions.

If people have let things slide until they have ten or more cats, and they have not gotten them fixed, they're going to donate $10 at best, usually, and often that is all the money they have at the time, and given to me in small bills and change.

I asked the vet "Does the vet board know this mandate will kill cats, lots of them? Because they'll never then be fixed because of the increaed costs? Does the vet board know the reality out there, of human poverty and cat overpopulation?" He said he told her that and encouraged me to call her and tell her that myself. I will, after I read the pain med mandate for myself.

As sudden as a bullet hits, I am without a job. I have nowhere to take cats should I round them up or trap them. I have left messages for two of Poppa's board members and sent an e-mail to both, but no reply yet. I have no idea how to proceed.

I found a site by a vet on pain treatment. It is, turns out, extremely difficult to find drugs safe for cats that also treat pain and are approved for use in the US. Metacam is one approved, but only as a one time injection:

"The injectable form of Metacam is approved for cats as a one-time, subcutaneous injection for post-surgical pain. If given more than one time or if other NSAIDs are given, kidney and liver toxicity may occur in cats. Both their kidney and liver function must be monitored frequently. If your veterinarian elects to use it in cats, it should not be given more than two or three days per week. Because of the nature of NSAIDs in cats, you must weight the potential risks against the benefits and make your own decision along with your veterinarian."

UPDATE: I feel really stupid writing to the vet board, at the encouragement of the clinic that is raising prices. I don't know anything about these things, I just trust that the vets do right by the animals. I had always assumed the cats are given a long or short term pain treatment with surgery. I find out that is the case at Countryside. I always loved that place. I fell in love with it when Dr. Anderson ran it. I had the phone conversation that one day, and afterwards, I didn't take in cats there anymore.

I felt they did not want me to, although I could never really get an answer or resolution, after that conversation, on credit card processing fees, over cats with special issues, when I would try to get donations to cover costs. I could not get an answer, on whether they wanted me to bring in cats anymore or not. I figured with no direct answer, that was the answer, and they just couldn't say it out right or something.

Someone else told me the pain injection should cost only a few cents. I don't know these things. I actually am still very trusting, especially of professionals, that they will do the right thing for the animal, to the best of their ability. Because I never went to vet school and I have to trust the professionals, once an animal arrives at a clinic. They're trained, after all, have lots of education and experience. Sure, there are bad apples, always are, in any profession. I am one of those people who still wants to believe there is a lot of good in the world, and good people, although everybody has their days and makes mistakes.

If the clinic I've been using is going to raise their prices now beyond what we can afford, the bottom line is, I have to find another way. Or hang up the traps. I have loved that clinic. They are really nice people and have been very good to me and the cats I have taken in there.

I will try to find another way, of course, that's the way I am. I feel embarrassed now, for writing the vet board, however. Oh well, I'm always putting foot in mouth. I just wish there was a way to address the masses of cats out there, who need help, but don't get it, often because of money.

See all I'm good at it rounding up cats, and I am good at that. I'm good at trapping cats. I'm good at quickly solving situations and getting cats saved. I'm not good at almost everything else. I'm no good at politics or knowing what to say when, or how to resolve conflicts except to apologize. I work best at night and alone, to be honest, just me and the cats and any other wild animals out and about. So I muddle along, trying to find a way to continue. I admit my many faults, recognize other people have bad days, faults of their own, and that there are very very dangerous people out there, so I can try to stay alive a little longer.

Sure, I have issues that crop up all the time. I get upset sometimes thinking of the shelter people, the way they get paid and all, and how so much money goes just to their salaries and how that money could make a real difference instead if it was used to fix tons of cats. But that's the way it is right now.

I'm always feeling on the outside, an outcaste. That's probably because I am alone 99% of the time and face so many issues alone. It's also because of my past, the abuse I endured, alone always, with never anybody sticking up for me, or at my side. It's like being a stray, danger everywhere, out there alone, trying to have a life while keeping alive, knowing nobody has my back but me.

That's also why I go out there, because I will be the one who has their backs, to defend the defenseless. I will be the one there, when no one else is, to scoop up a kitten suffering, to snatch an abused cat from her abuser, face to face, if need be, hair puffed, back arched, in defiance of extreme odds. I know I may get killed in the process, but I won't be the one looking the other way. Too many people have lost their way, a sense of right and wrong, courage to stand against wrong. Too many people have made the choice to look away. I'm not going to be one of them.

I will say Heartland Humane in Corvallis is really helping out some of the Linn rescues who are trying to halt the overpopulation problem and I appreciate that help very much.

It's all I can do. That's it. That's just the basic way of life. My life. I like to round up cats to be fixed and boy, does it ever help people, too. I see the need for it, and wish it was easier, not always a huge scramble and fight, to find places to get them fixed and the money to do it. But that's the way it is, so I have to accept that's the way it is, unless I can find ways to make it easier. But I'm not much good at that.

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