Monday, December 26, 2011

Cost Frustrations

Cost to treat rescued cats with health issues is a huge factor for little rescues all over. I was given an estimate for tomorrow's dental, for Gretal, her third since mid August, of $400. How do I come up with this money? I am scrambling, let me tell you.

These issues are a constant battle. How to even keep the cats fed, vaccinated and treated for fleas and worms, while they wait, seemingly endlessly, for homes.

Before I get railed on, I never meant to do rescue. I was going to keep things simple and just do the round up of cats, to be fixed, which is the most efficient and effective way to help cats and stop the cycle of suffering.

What does one do, however, when in such pursuits, you run into cats and kittens who otherwise will die? Do you leave them to die, often horribly and slowly, or do you step in and hope for the best?

I have four cats left here, that I moved here with. Four. Those old days in Corvallis now seem like a dream. The most I ever had was 16. I did not know what i was in for, moving to Linn County. I knew it was bad over here for animals, but I had no clue whatsoever how bad it was.

In one sense, I'm glad I ended up here. I've helped thousands of cats and stopped terrible situations from becoming worse.

However, for me, personally, the results have been not so great, in that my struggles to stay afloat became acute. I ended up with so many cats from horrible situations, and there are so many of those situations over here, where they were going to die. I live on almost nothing. People aren't driving by and dropping off cat food and money for vet bills doesn't fall from the sky. Yeah, right, eh?

And then you get the cats with terrible health issues like Valentino and then Gretal. Maybe last summer I should have euthanized her when her teeth were so bad. Instead, a friend said she'd pay for her dental. That one didn't help much. Only a few teeth were removed and very quickly things went bad again. The same person offered to pay again, different vet this time. I was so grateful thinking this would do it. It didn't do it. And now she must go in for her third time around.

People stop contributing for another round. They start thinking my choices are bad with vets or maybe she has some other disease and decide, in their heads, "lost cause" and avoid me.

Valentino the same. I didn't want to take him in. I avoided returning the call in which some people who have caused many many cat problems and who are very demanding about getting free help, left a message that there was a "rabid cat" roaming around their complex in bad bad shape. I just didn't return the call.

Then the thought festered on my mind until I couldn't stand it. I knew the cat would not be rabid and that more than likely he had bad teeth causing him to appear to "foam" at the mouth. I drove over. There he was, in such shape, you couldn't believe.

I couldn't leave him there, drooling wads of pus, huge fleas that looked like beetles on his body, ears massed in ear mites. I tried to get someone else to help him, or to help me help him. But that didn't work out. The first vet who saw him said to just turn him out, since he was neutered there, that he had only a month to live with those bad teeth, that I'd done my duty by getting him neutered.

I'm not that way. I said to the vet, "If he's in that bad shape, please euthanize him." But the vet didn't want to do that either.

Valentino now has also had three dentals, all in under a year. The first, when he was in the worst shape, was a total scam. They took my money, told me they pulled five teeth when I picked him up. I knew he needed a whole lot more than five pulled. Two weeks later, when he was drooling pus again, I called and asked which teeth, since they were not listed on the records provided. The woman who answered said "the pointy ones". I asked for a more definitive answer. She could not provide one. It took the next vet, the next dental, to provide me that answer because that vet did a records request. Five incisors, the little nothing teeth I don't even think he had when he went in, were supposedly pulled in the first dental, when he had terrible rotten and infected teeth, that they ignored.

This next vet pulled seven more, including all four rotted, cracked and worn off canines, that came out easily, she said. She said all his teeth needed pulled. She didn't own the clinic, however, so could not offer me a deal or to let me make payments to get the rest pulled. Someone back east had raised $500 and sent it, through Poppa, to the clinic. That's how much work got done that day.

By November, he was drooling again. And had yet another dental. This time, all but four teeth were pulled. I have no doubt he will have to go in again to have those last four pulled but so far so good and he's looking good and feeling better!

Miss Daisy also once had to have three dentals in one year for tooth extraction. You start wondering pretty soon. What is up? I know homeless people whose teeth go bad, one right after the other. They know if one is bad very long, the resulting gum infection will cause the others to go bad. They try to find someone to pull them all, to avoid the constant mouth issues.

We have a vet college in Corvallis. I wish something could be worked out, so the upcoming soon to be vets could get some practice on live animals and the strays and rescues of this area could benefit too. With a vet college in the mid valley, seems so unfortunate half or more of the cats in this area never see a vet, or see only a spay neuter clinic because people cannot afford rent and food, let alone vet care.

I wish we could work something out with that college to benefit the animals of this area and the little rescues trying to help.

Be a big relief to the likes of me, now scrounging and scheming to figure out how to pay for Gretals' third dental and hopefully this will be the dental to end all dentals for her.

Supposed to be about $400. I got a check from the Wilsonville clinic, that damaged those Albany cats I took there last summer, for spay neuter. I'd ended up paying out $130 on the remaining balance of the bill to treat them at a Corvallis vet. I got a reimbursement check for that from the clinic on Christmas Eve, which nearly sent me to my knees in relief, because that money will go on Gretals' bill.

I got a $100 gift card to Freddies for Christmas. I went in there today and tried to buy a $100 Visa gift card with it, because that I could use at the vet clinic, but they said you can't buy gift cards with gift cards. That was devastating.

So I sold the card, full value too, made me happy, because that is another $100 that can go on Gretal's bill. I am closing in on the money needed for Gretal's vet visit tomorrow.

I am happy she will soon be out of mouth pain, all teeth gone. The struggle continues for people like me who are trying to help out the cats of Linn and Benton Counties.

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