24 March 2008

The trials of being a cat owner

A while back, I mentioned my lovely new cats, Freddie and Millie. Well, last week they had to go to the vets for some dental work. The bill that had originally been quoted as around £270 actually came to £390 in the end. Our hopes that Millie would just need a scale and polish were dashed when we were told she'd had a tooth out, but not nearly as badly as our hopes that Freddie would need less than four teeth our thus only incurring a charge for minor extractions - he ended up with eight out, very major indeed. A cautionary tale on getting rescue cats from someone other than a rescue centre if ever I heard one.

But it's not just the cost that hurt. I wasn't prepared for the anxiety I felt when they went in. I became convinced that Freddie was going to die under anaesthetic just because he'd had a bit of a cough, and I actually cried after dropping them off at the vets. Not only had we starved them overnight then forced them into their carriers, we then abandoned them at the vets. All day at work I couldn't stop thinking of them, hungry and scared.

Then they came home. I was heartbroken to see bald patches on their necks, and really upset by how the anaesthetic had made their eyes glazed. What was worse was that evening, when hubby had gone out and I stroked Freddie on the head, only for him to raise his head and reveal blood all over his chin. It stopped eventually thankfully, but I was terrified, and my attempts to get through to the vets' emergency helpline were met with recorded messages every time.

The next trial was giving them their antibiotics. After several attempts at putting the tablets in their mouths, and a few resulting scratches, we gave up, crushed the pills and mixed them in with their food. Cheating, I know, but you can hardly blaim a cat with sore gums for lashing out when someone forces his mouth open!

They're a lot better now and hopefully everything's healed nicely. But I was amazed at just how emotional the whole process made me. I used to think treating pets like your children was weird, but now I totally understand it!

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