Our little black fuzzball went to the vet today for a routine teeth cleaning, and I got a not-great phone call while he was under anesthesia - four molars are in trouble, along with the lower canines. They're in varying stages of decay, and there may be exposed roots and it'll only get worse - and it'll be $1,100+ to remove them. And I had five minutes to decide whether to go ahead with the procedure or have them wake him, and in the latter case it'll be an additional $160 for anesthesia at that time.
What would you do?
Here's what I did: I cried. I called Peanut and I cried. I called my mom and I cried. Because $1,100 worth of dental work on a cat that doesn't seem to be bothered by these teeth is seriously not in the budget. Last week I found out that *I* need $1,200 worth of dental work (despite prescription toothpaste and religious flossing!) which I am delaying because, dammit, we cannot afford these things when I'm not bringing in my full salary and we have a child in the hospital.
I feel a great responsibility for any creature that is under my care. I feel that to be the best cat parent I can, he should have those teeth pulled to prevent future pain and suffering. But I can't do it right now, I just can't.
I told them to wake him up and felt terribly guilty when I went to pick him up. I'll be watching him closely to see whether his mouth seems to bother him, and when it appears that it does, I'll have to make this decision again. Unfortunately, I just can't afford to be the kind of cat parent I would like to be right now.
I need to sit down and set a firm price limit, with Peanut's input. What if this were an emergency situation that required a decision to save the cat's life? Someone close to me has had to make that choice, and she chose to save the cat, twice, at great expense to herself. This is not a decision I want to be making in the heat of the moment. It's one I hope I never have to make at all, but if I do have to make it, I can't do it under duress.
I feel that my pets are part of the family, but at the same time, there has to be a limit on what they cost me. If you have pets, do you have a price in mind that is too high for you to pay to keep them healthy? What would you have done in my situation?