If you have been following me on Twitter ( @nathansfight ), you will know that I have been dealing with some health problems regarding my first born cat, Baxter. This has been an extremely difficult situation for me emotionallyand financially.
Here is the story of how Baxter joined our family:
I started dating my husband June 4, 2004 and on my 21st birthday as a diversion from my father planned a surprise party , we walked around a local pet shop. I saw a cage of orange tabby kittens begging for a new home. I immediately fell in love and as a birthday present to myself, I picked out Baxter. How did I choose from so many adorable kittens? Easy, the first one to eat and use the litter box was all mine.
Baxter even accompanied me to my first apartment for my 3rd year at Rutgers University. You can see him below passed out on top of my study notes.
My husband and I were a bit worried two years later when we got our second cat, Nermal. Let me just set the record straight since everyone always asks:Nermalis Garfield's gray tabby cousin, the self proclaimed "cutest cat in the world". We thought Baxter would be jealous and attempt to hurt Nermal.
But soon enough Baxter could be seen grooming and cuddling our little gray kitten. Baxter is a big teddy bear who loves to snuggle.
Baxter also loves to eat, can you tell? He lets us know when he is hungry by meowing, chewing power cables, pawing at us, and taking an occasional nip. Although this can become annoying, especially when the pawing and nipping occur in the middle of the night, we still love him, all 24 pounds of him.
Unfortunately, Baxter has been having health problems these past few months. He has had several recurring urinary tract infections and urinary blockages. The vet managed to unblock him the first time and prescribed a veterinary diet.
Now in regards to the veterinary diet, it sucks. Excuse my foul mouth but we cannot afford a prescription diet, not when all three of our cats want to eat the same food, not when I have to make special trips to the vet to pick up food when we run out with a squirming toddler in my arms. So when we ran out I figured it wouldn't hurt to feed him the food we had leftover. Wrong!
I spent three and a half hours on Saturday at the emergency veterinary hospital with Baxter, knowing from the moment I left my house that I could not afford an emergency visit to the vet. I knew he was blocked and told the receptionist this when we walked in because being blocked can be deadly.
They swooped him away and took an x-ray to confirm my sister in law, veterinary technician in training, Megan's diagnosis. I was escorted to a private room to await the quote. I now know why they did not deliver the quote to me in the waiting area and I will not even disclose the astronomical price tag that was placed on saving my first born cat's life. I exploded in tears, my sister in law, husband, and mother in law can all attest to this.
In my gut I knew my only option would be to put him to sleep, which I also could not afford to do. My top priority is maintaining Nathan's health. I have bigger fish to fry with Cystic Fibrosis, which is an extremely expensive disease and how could I justify paying to save a cat's life while our financial accounts are dwindling away to nothing.
Franticly, I begged for another option. My sister in law told me what to request. I pleaded with the technician to speak with the vet for another quote, a quote which would have Baxter catheterized to remove the blockage and for me to bring him home and care for him myself. Risky, but my last semi-feasible option. I am sure other pet owners would understand me when I say that I could not make the decision to euthanize a member of our family.
It was still expensive and we are still not in the clear but Baxter seems to be doing much better. We have him back on his veterinary diet and are exploring lower cost options for keeping this diet in stock in our household. Unfortunately, urinary blockages can reoccur especially in overweight, male cats.
We cannot and will not be able to afford another surgery so all I can say now is that I promise to keep Baxter on his veterinary diet. If this does not keep him from blocking, then it is in God's hands.