Dangerous Compassions

how to make decisions about healthcare for sick pets

Hello, how are you doing?  I’ve been thinking about how to make decisions about healthcare for sick pets.  An acquaintance on social media had a sick cat and was asking.

It’s an important question, and we figure these things out on our own, too often.  Folks responded with different opinions.

social media

Social media gets harsh criticism, but it can be used in many ways, like any media.  I like it.  It’s part of how Ming and I managed to become friends and get together.  For that alone, I might approve.  But there are many ways it’s good.

  • Helps people socialize and remain connected who are stuck at home with disabilities, caring for young children, suffering from anxiety, lacking transportation.
  • Good for introverts and autistic people who prefer mediated social.
  • Safer place to try out newly surfaced parts of our identities.
  • Great for broadcasting questions like how to make decisions about healthcare for sick pets, to get a variety of responses.
  • Great way to share ideas with many people at once.  I promote my blogs there, and events with the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective.
my cat story

My ex and I adopted a cat when he was already eight years old?  Maybe ten years old?  If you’ve known me a while, you might recall him.

He was our dear Longster Raincloud Baby.  The Cry Cry Micro-Lion.  His name was Raider when we got him.  Then his name was Kitty.

So moody, brilliant, beautiful, and manipulative.  Sweet and cuddly but demanding.  He was gorgeous with long gray fur and a wild attitude.  He woke me up a lot.  The boss of the apartment.

Here’s me with Kitty in 2008.

old pet

I was 32 years old.  Yes, this was a while back.  Thank goodness I’ve been blogging every day since 2006, right?  Helpful to google my own life.  I recommend it!

And I remember that skirt.  It was drapey and slick, with browns and a little bit of red.  I loved it, but it was too long–I barely ever wore it.


My ex and I were struggling with money (and many other things) in a moldy one bedroom apartment in Sacramento, California, when we had Kitty.  I went to the ashram every day, during that time.  The lost decade.

Confusing poverty was our life.  My ex and I both worked episodically scoring standardized tests.  And we weren’t that good at being poor.  By that I mean we thought benefits and food banks were for the really poor people, over there.

We tightened our belts and tried to survive on our own as best we could.  As if we would get a prize for independence.  I’m sorry I was so wrong about so many things.  Understatement.

Credit cards make poverty more confusing.  We could accumulate debt like normal United Stateians.  But we didn’t want to do that.  We had no savings.  I remember being perpetually confused about what we could afford.  What did afford even mean?  It’s a psychological thing.  If we had not yet maxed out all our credit cards, did that mean we could afford something?

I saw credit as only for emergencies.  Like if we needed a new transmission, and there was no other way to get it.  But what about Kitty’s health?  How long should a cat live?

balance of responsibility

It was hard to balance the responsibility.  There’s responsibility to ourselves, to our pet, our extended families, the world at large.  That’s what I saw then, at least.  I feel more strongly now a responsibility toward Mother Earth, our ancestors, all the organisms of the world, and all the organisms of the future.

This pet came to us, having lived a good near-decade of life already.  We spent more on his healthcare than on our own.  Is that responsible?  The cat was innocent in a way we didn’t consider ourselves.

My ex and I had both lived lives of being told we were fuckups.  Survival was a struggle in many ways.  Our senses of self-worth were not stellar.  The kitty was sweet and seemed somehow blameless.  Despite how he denied us sleep and ruled our world with an iron claw!

I remember a figure like $500, as a limit for the healthcare of Kitty.  How much pain is he in?  How much quality of life would he have, if the procedure was done?  Sometimes vets would recommend an expensive thing that might not even help, just to gather information.  It would seem silly, to spend that much on something that might not even be conclusive or helpful.

judgement of others

Another difficulty was to balance the judgement of others.  We could get harshly judged for paying too much, or too little.  With our income, we could cover litter and food ok.  Some treats he liked.  The healthcare was the kicker.  Seemed so expensive, it was brutal.

There’s fear of later regret.  That fear is breathtaking.

Another complicating factor was pet health insurance.  I would see a little cardstock sign on the counter of the vet’s office for that.  Was it helpful or a scam?  Maybe both?  It reminded me of warranties.  They are a good deal for the company selling them because most people never use them.

Yes, the question of how to make decisions about healthcare for sick pets can be tied in with so much guilt and shame.  Here’s a partial list for me.

  • I am not good at making money or having jobs.
  • The world doesn’t value my skills.
  • I am too socially awkward, anxious, and crazy to do well in workplaces.
  • I fail at saving money.
  • My value as a person is very low, and my bank account reflects that.
  • My relationship with money is abusive!
  • Everyone in the world understands how to do money but me.
  • It’s my fault that I don’t understand basic things about money, and I should hide my shame rather than ask for help.
  • I’m a glutton for restaurant Indian food, travel to other cities, and buying expensive ingredients at Whole Foods to cook obscure dishes and bake a lot.

Yes, I shamed myself for baking a lot.  What a dork I was!  I wish I could go back in time and shake myself.

Dear Laura-Marie.  Your baking habits are ok.  Thank you for weekly vegan banana bread, countless dozens of tasty cookies, broccoli soup, and all that tasty dal you made.  You were a badass, and I love you.  You are ok, whatever you bake.  My dear sweet creature of Trying to Do Good.  You were so good.  I love you so much.

thank you

Wow, now I’m crying not about dying pets, but how mean I was to me.  Sorry, self.  You were ok.  How did I accomplish anything, with all the hate I heaped on myself?  It’s so much energy just to live.  Let alone to oppose the meanness of my own self to my own self.

Now I don’t have pets at all.  Maybe that’s a modern way of being mean to me.  Maybe one day Ming and I will bring a little doggie into our life.  I’ve met some cool little doggies of friends.  Who knows.

Thank you, reader, for staying with me for this emo blog post.  How do you use money, budget, prioritize, and decide how to make decisions about healthcare for sick pets?

Death is such a huge final ending, and healthcare is the trying hard to protect us.  But we will all die, pets and people.  Our culture will blame us for fucking it up, but they will not give a lot of guidance.  So many things are like that, right?

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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