Monday, November 29, 2010

When Cats are Part of the Family

When animals enter our lives as pets, I imagine that most of us welcome them as companions, four-legged-children, parts of the family.  

My cats are most definitely a huge part of my life.  When I lost Buddy, so many of you shared in my grief.  When I started volunteering at the humane society and found Vernon, you cheered.  So now I'm going to ask you to cross your fingers for my tiny kitty, Max.

Max is twelve years old, and he's a rescue kitty.  He's my cuddle cat, too, always snuggling up to my tummy as close as he possibly can when I go to bed at night.  He's a little slip of a thing, only weighing between six and seven pounds.  So you can imagine how he and Vernon look next to each other -- the total Odd Couple.  Vernon at 21 pounds (he's put on more weight) and Max the Munchkin.

"What are YOU looking at?"  

For the past couple of years, Max has been taking thyroid medicine, but now it's no longer working and he's at a critical stage where something has to be done or ... well, or.  So our tiny kitty is going to be going to a special vet in Baltimore, MD for feline radio iodine therapy to cure his hypothyroidism.  We hope.  He'll be radioactive for a few days (so obviously, he'll be away from home during that time) and it costs a lot.  A lot.  A LOT of money.  Deep-intake-of-breath-when-I-heard-the-cost kind of money.  

But that's what you do when cats are part of the family.

Max in my jewelry-waiting-to-be-photographed bowl.
Some people may think we're crazy for spending this kind of money and traveling that far for a cat.  But this is a cat that saw me through desperate times, lean times, on to happy times.   He's a constant, he's a link to my past, he was Buddy's best buddy, and I'm not ready to give up on him.

So if you would, keep this little puff of fur in your thoughts for a minute or two.  The treatment isn't nearly as bad as the alternative (surgery) and once he's had it, he shouldn't have to take medicine again.  I wasn't prepared for this particular phone call this evening, so it helps me to know there are other cat lovers out there, too.

Thanks.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.



48 comments:

  1. My thoughts are with you and your adorable kitty. It is expensive, I know but it is something we do because we love our pets. They enrich our lives so much. How can we say no? It isn't an option.
    Best to you and yours.

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  2. I'm praying for your little kitty and for the rest of your family, too!
    God loves animals, too!

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  3. I have 11 cats and each one is like a little piece of my soul.
    I'll be sending lots of white light to Max.
    Cenya

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  4. definite cat lover here... and i too have been through that experience where people think you must be insane to go great lengths for a 'pet' (heck, i have people who say that about the things i have done for my kids) - who also happens to be a member of the family & who we choose to take on and care for... your fur baby will definitely be in my thoughts... i hope all is successful and you will soon be giving a positive report...
    hang tight, lori - there is balance in life... good stuff is happening...

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  5. Oh! Best of luck to your sweet little baby. I understand exactly; you can't deny them treatment. They ARE family! I hope he does well and lives many more happy years :)

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  6. I will be keeping you and Max in my thoughts. I know what you are going through, but they are a part of the family and we are responsible for their well being. I have been there and spent lots of money and seen many specialist for one of my boxer girls. Max is very lucky to have you looking out for him.

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  7. I know how you feel Lori...since I was a child I have always had a cat, or two or three in my life. The comfort of a warm purring puff ball is so therapeutic and soothing.I am wishing your little Max a good trip and a speedy recovery.

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  8. Oh, I do completely understand and sympathize. While we no longer have cats, we do have two dogs, one which is getting up there in years. We've spent a lot of money on the old boy having things repaired. But it is what you do when animals are part of your family. They give us so much and really ask so little. I'll be thinking about your wee kitty and hoping for the best outcome.

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  9. Our pets are part of our families and they deserve the best we can give them. Max will be just fine after his treatment and maybe he'll gain some weight like his friend! Keeping you in my thoughts.

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  10. You've found a kindred spirit in me. I will say lots of prayers. I have two cats myself...they are my everything. Literally...like children...my husband and I would do anything for them. So when Emma got sick a few weeks ago...we just budget ourselves better after the $400 vet bill....Hang in there!

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  11. You know how we feel about our babies so if anyone in this world can understand that spending money even when it is hard in order to keep them well, we are among the babies' lovers. It may seem selfish and foolish to some, but to us there is never going to a price too high to pay for the love and companionship they bring into our lives.

    Off to light a couple of candles, and to trust the Universe to send him back home well and healthy for many years to come. Love to you, as always.

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  12. I can't say that I am a *true* cat lover, but I am owned by three of the fluffy things!
    Good thoughts for your Max, for the success of his treatment, and for you, Lori. Hugs!

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  13. Keeping you and Max in my thoughts. You're jewelry waiting to be photographed needs it's protector! And your belly needs its night-warmer.

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  14. Good luck to you and your kitty. I know all about the lengths we will go to for our 4 legged friends.

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  15. Hi Lori, I will say a prayer for Max and for your family. I am a crazy cat lover and I lost my two boys early this year, one was 15 and the other 12 so I know how you feel about spending the money and doing all you can to save them. I had to make very hard decisions to let each of them go when the time came and the treatment was going to be harder on them then the alternative would be on me. I now have a new rescue kitty and dog that I love with all my heart. I will never forget my sweet boys and they will always be with me.

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  16. keeping my paws crossed for you and Max!! and the $$ only has to be worth it for you.. no one else's opinion counts.

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  17. Aww. Been there. I have FIVE rescure kitties and two rescued dogs. Love'm all. I'll keep ya all in my thoughts. Let us know when all is well and your kittie is well at home again.

    Hugs for both.

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  18. I'm rooting for both of you! I know what a special bond there can be - the love that is in their eyes. I have been through some pretty awful times with cats during sickness and I know the heartbreak and the worry. My kitties and I send love and prayers your way.

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  19. I do not think you are crazy at all. I can relate to the big & Lil cat. I have a 7 pound kitty and a 18 pound kitty. Different as night and day. I spend about $150.00 a month on special food and diabetic injections for the big one (jasmine) a month, the lil one (juliet) gets special food and vitamins for urinary tract and bowel problems. My dog is getting weekly shots at $54.00 a shot for severe arthritis, plus medications that are about $90 every 10 days. He will be on those the rest of this life. So, basically because I am disabled, it means that I make very little money, and in order to help them I have to forgo things like paying my doctors, or filling all my prescriptions. i ONLY tell you this so that you know I TOTALLY understand. I have never understood how anyone can forgo treatment on a pet, and then go out the next week and buy new shoes, or something like that. Like you said, they give such unconditional love, and never expect anything in return. So, no don't think you are crazy. I think you are an angel for your lil kitty!
    Sending healing thoughts! I hope all goes well :)

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  20. "But that's what you do when cats are part of the family."

    Totally.

    It's what you do. You don't just say to one of your best friends, 'Sorry, but you're too expensive to keep alive, so I'm going to let you die'.
    Money's just money. You can get more of it, and it won't love you when you're dying. You can't snuggle up to your bank account at night. Friends – human or animal – are irreplaceable, and worth more than any amount of mere money.

    Here's love to you, your family, and your pussycats. :-)

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  21. There. Prayers have been sent. Thinking of you.
    Enjoy the day.
    Erin

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  22. my thoughts are with you and your family......I know its hard when one of our family is sick, even the fuzzy members, so my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery are headed your way
    hugs
    Norma

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  23. Hope it's going to be ok...^_^ Virginie

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  24. He sounds like a lovely little cat, I will keep Max in my thoughts and hope for a positive outcome.

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  25. Oh Max...poor wee fluffy... Sending positive healing thoughts from our "fur family" to yours.
    ~ Laura (Moags) and "the kids"

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  26. Oh Lori, be sure that in France, very far from Max, i will keep him in my thoughts, not only for a minute or two, but for the rest of his life.
    Max and Vernon are just so lovely boys, and your post is just so touching.

    Veronique

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  27. I do hope he's ok.
    Kitties are very much part of the family. They're so much more than pets.
    Got my fingers crossed for you that he's ok.

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  28. Dear Lori,
    i' ve been meaning to send my condolences for the past 3 months ever since I read on the passing of your beloved kitty. This post today was a ign that I had to stop procrastinating and do something! so first of all let me just tell you, being a cat person and all, that I completely understand the loss and sadness that you feel, everytime one of my kitties died I felt the same way. Everytime I ask myself is it worth it? Everytime I ask myself why get another cat, it will only end in tears... Well, why do we do it? Here's why: because of the unconditional love we get in return from these lovely creatures. My Rufus has been with me for 6 years and he makes me happy EVERY SINGLE DAY! He greets me when I come through the front door, every single time, he cuddles with me, when I cry or when I'm hurt he comforts me. I'm very accident prone and when I bump into something and cry out, he always runs over, meowing to comfort me and then he ˝kisses˝the bump with his nose. Well I could go on and on.
    Our Rufus also suffers from FLUTD and everytime he has to go the vet it's bloomin' expensive, so expensive that one year we spent our vacation money on the vet bill and consequently stayed at home. And you know what, I would have payed three times that money, borrow it if I had to just to give my kitty the best treatment possible.
    So I applaud you Lori for your brave decision and I wish a speedy recovery for your darling Max!
    Love, Ana

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  29. Hope everything turns out fine for Max. And I'm feeling a special connection because I'm suffering from underactive thyroid too.

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  30. I hope Max does well. My father-in-law actually had a similar treatment. Here in the US they told him he was on his way out (I don't think the docs around here bothered to find out what was wrong with him), but when he went back to Mexico he got the treatment which essentially knocked out his thyroid. He is doing really well.

    As for the high cost for pets, this was just the subject of a show I heard on NPR. Like you, I think of my pets as family members. I've had some very expensive cats before and I believe I would do the same for my dogs. I'll be thinking about little Max.

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  31. Awww who could resist such a handsome lad.....sending Max lots of positive energy from across the sea. Keep us posted won't you Lori? x

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  32. All paws crossed in my house in hopes of a speedy recovery for Max.

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  33. sorry your little cat is not well..
    they are part of the family even if they are all covered in fur.

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  34. Being a cat lover, I completely understand. I would do anything for mine.
    Poor Max. He looks like fighter to me, though!

    Will keep you all in my thoughts! :)

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  35. I'll keep you and Max in my thoughts.

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  36. My kitty, Musashi, had radioactive iodine and did wonderfully well. Hang in there. He'll be as good as new soon! Cats aren't just cats --- they are furbabies, family, dear ones. They deserve the best of care.

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  37. You know I am owned by my kitty too and I would also do whatever it takes to keep her healthy and part of our family. I wish you both a safe journey and I will be sending healing thoughts everyday! Give that sweet baby a pet and nuzzle for me!

    Hugs

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  38. I am sending prayers and best wishes from me, Misty, Bertye, Mattie, Zena, Francis, Boris and Zorro (yes, you counted right - 7 kitties!). We all hope Max feels better soon!!!

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  39. I hope everything goes well!!! :)

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  40. Good luck to Max, hope everything goes smoothly and he is back home and better as soon as can be. All our fingers and paws crossed for him.

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  41. A family is many things, and that includes furry companions of all shapes and sizes! I've had my share of animal specialists in the past and would do it again if needed. Yes, the the cost is shocking, but the life of a companion is priceless.

    Sending warm and fuzzy hugs and kisses for you and your family :)

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  42. I have cats, dogs and fish. They are my children (I have human children too..hehe) and I would spend what is necessary to keep them well. I hope the radio therapy works for kitty.

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  43. Hannah2:52 PM

    My thoughts will be with you and max. best of luck.

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  44. Poor Max -- I wish him all the best and send positive thought to both him and the whole family.

    Yes, cats are family member and you really are prepared to do whatever it takes when they get ill.

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  45. Oh goodness. I will be lighting a candle for Max and sending healing energy his way. I am very much a pet lover and a firm believer in pet insurance. If my animals get sick, I have to pay upfront out of pocket and then I get most of it reimbursed. Might want to look into that because you just can't say no to what they need to live and thrive.

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  46. I do not pray, but if I did, all my prayers would be for Max.
    My cats are my family (and no, I am not a mad cat lady and I have human friends and family lol), and there's nothing I would not do for them. My first one, Penny, went over the rainbow bridge a few years ago after a short, but fierce battle against a disease no vet could even name. She was insured, so I did not have to cover the costs, but I would have done anything to drum up the money needed. Anything.
    Cash does not come up for a big cuddle at night, does not wait for you to come home from work, does not frown at the food you served, does not nearly fall into the bathtub when you're having a soak, does not casually stretch out just far enough to gently touch your leg with barely hidden claws, does not shred your morning paper and look at you innocently in a cloud of confetti... unconditional love, and I am determined to give back as much as I receive and then some. I don't want to know people who do not understand this.
    Max will be fine. He is in the best hands- yours.

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  47. I am very sad for you and Max.

    I don't know what else to say. I'm too sad.

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