Our cat, Jose Canseco (named after the baseball player), is in the hospital. He was diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks ago and was put on antibiotics and some other meds. He seemed to be doing OK until yesterday when my daughter found him panting and having what appeared to be an asthma attack. He came out of it but this morning his chest was heaving and his breathing was raspy - we thought he was having a heart attack. Took him to vet #1 who thought he was in cardiac arrest and alerted a nearby emergency clinic to treat him immediately. My daughter drove him to vet #2 where his x-rays showed an enlarged heart and lung problems but he was not in cardiac arrest. He was placed in an oxygen tent.
They removed fluid from around his heart and also removed about a cup of fluid from a lung. He’s doing much better now and we visited him for fifteen minutes tonight. His breathing seems normal and he purred when petted. He just looks so pathetic.
He’ll be reassessed tomorrow. If necessary, he’ll see a veterinary cardiologist at UC Davis on Monday. The lung problem can be fixed but the heart problem may be something else…He’s only nine!
He’s a mellow fellow, a regal gentleman with thick long white hair and ice-blue eyes. He’s beautiful. He does have a genetic defect common to his breed: far too many toes. He does not have the other genetic defect, deafness. He’s an indoor cat and has been disease free.
About five years ago he fell from a loft onto the kitchen counter below. He broke a foreleg, a rod was inserted, he was put into a cast and was confined to a pen for six weeks. When he went to the vet for his six week checkup, it was discovered that he had broken the rod. The shorter part was removed and the larger part remained so that he had something to stand on. He has developed arthritis at the joint where the rod ends, but can run around on three legs with no problems.
So, how much do you invest in a cat? A cat that you can cry over when you couldn’t do the same at your own grandmother’s funeral? So far my daughter has spent about $350 and money is a concern. (Our joke is that for $350 we could get 35-1/2 cats at the ASPCA @ 10 bucks each). We love this little beggar but if he has a serious heart disease, do we go for treatment that will allow him a few more years?
To me, the pain aspect is at the forefront. If he is in pain, we can have him euthanized (as I hope someone would do for me if necessary). If he’s not in pain but faces a lifetime of heart disease and we are merely prolonging the inevitable, I see no point in allowing him to go on.
So, how do you decide? I’ve stressed my daughter’s love for this cat but I admit I have the same feelings. My daughter lives in and out of my house as if there’s a revolving door; the cat remains with me and we’ve been through some shit together. He snuggles during winter and I genuinely love the little fellow. How can we evaluate an animal’s pain?