So if you didn’t already know, our pet cat, Spaz, was hit by a car back in June. The right side of his pelvis was crushed. His recovery has been rocky and challenging for everyone. He had to be confined to a pet crate for the better part of two months, he cannot jump, and he will never go outside again. LE cannot play with him since the risk of re-injury is too great, and it’s hard to keep an inquisitive toddler away from a furry kitty.

Some time after the accident, Spaz started fur mowing as a stress response to the healing process. So he has been on a series of medications to manage a raging infection, inflammation, and depression (yep, kitties get depressed when they can’t play outside or jump anymore).

The antidepressant he was prescribed did not work for him. It basically stopped him up, threw his levels off, and he wound up severely dehydrated. I took him to the vet today and had him checked out, and the vet took him off the problem med, stuffed him full of fluids, and prescribed several others (including another antidepressant).

The whole thing is difficult because

  1. it costs a lot of money we don’t really have,
  2. it is stressful for Spaz to be on all these medications when they may or may not work, and
  3. the recovery period is so long it makes us wonder if he will ever really get better.

So we are faced with hard questions about Spaz’ continued life and how far we are willing or able to go to provide medical care, and how and when to determine when it is time to stop. Spaz could recover very well over the next few months. Or not. We just don’t know.

We have considered declining the new antidepressant since it is so expensive and we don’t know if it will work. It takes 3-5 weeks to see a change in his behavior… but if he’s fur mowing because of the healing process and he’s better healed in 3-5 weeks, do we even know if the medication did anything? Not really. But then again, he might really need it and it doesn’t have the nasty side effects the old one did. We won’t know unless we try. So.. do we fork over the money and hope it helps? Or do we leave him be and hope he stops mowing on his own?

Either way, what if another setback befalls him? Do we invest another $300-500 to keep him going? How many times do we spend that kind of money on our cat? He’s a member of our family and we love him, but medical care for him is coming out of our accumulated savings, and we aren’t making enough to replenish it. If we are not careful, we will be taking a financial risk on our family’s future by investing large sums of money into our cat.

In a small sort of way, this is a preview for the time when we will have to care for our parents. How much is too much? How far is too far? I for one don’t want to answer those questions. It feels like putting a dollar value on a person’s life. Maybe it is. But do you invite, say, bankruptcy to keep an ailing family member on a treatment plan that is, at best, delaying the inevitable?

It also gets us thinking about what we ourselves would want if we had to face life disabled, on unpleasant medication, and with an uncertain prognosis. What would we want our kids to do for us?