I was reading a message board last week that caters to cat owners, reading what others experience and advise. There was an 18 year old girl in America talking about her cat that was sick, it needed an operation. She wasn't able to afford the operation costs, and she wasn't able to afford the $500 that the vet wanted to charge for keeping it overnight and making the diagnosis. The sickness wasn't life threatening, but the vet kept the cat until she could pay the $500. A week went by and the vet demanded the money, the girl wasn't able to pay, the vet killed the cat.
Now, the politically correct term is 'put the cat down', but that's usually to prevent the suffering of the animal. In this case, it was killing the cat because the vet wasn't getting his money.
I was disgusted by what seemed to be a common practice in America, according to people who replied to the girl's messages. Some said that some vets would treat an animal for what you could afford, if you weren't able to afford the full costs, but that was a rarity.
I asked my flatmate about the resident vet at her pet store, where she works. She agreed with the policy, saying that if the customer can't pay for the treatment, then it's obvious they can't afford to keep the animal either, and it would be at the vet's discretion what they did with the animal. It was pretty much saying that being unable to afford the vet's exorbitant fees was cruelty to the animal, therefore you didn't deserve to own it, and so a likely option was to put the animal down so as to help it avoid further suffering.
I was horrified!
It's like, what the fuck?
She said, well you wouldn't expect to get free treatment at a hospital, would you?
No, but at least you can make repayment arrangements, AND THEY DON'T KILL YOU IF YOU CAN'T FUCKING PAY!
I didn't say it like that to her, but the thought was there.
My upstairs neighbours spent $5000 on their cat to fix it's fractured leg. The vet put a series of metal splints and bolts in place.
The other option was that if they didn't get that done, the cat would walk with a limp.
I guess if you got more money than sense, you'd pay $5000 to heal a leg that'll heal naturally anyway. Is $5000 worth it to have a cat not limping?
I guess to some. Would I be cruel to my cat if I couldn't afford to pay $5000 to have an un-limping cat? Would the cat be put down to save it from further cruelty?
I'm fuming at the attitude to animals that I'm just discovering is common, sanctioned by a higher-than-thou attitude that a vet knows what's best for the animal, and death is what's best under some circumstances.
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