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What to Do in Pet Emergencies: Tribulations of a CatMom
Lifestyle

What to Do in Pet Emergencies: Tribulations of a CatMom

cat surgeryWhen you’re adopting a furry child, you’re faced with many choices from beds to toys.

Yet nothing prepared me for the worst day of being a CatMom.

It was a typical Tuesday night. I came home from work and fed Pounce his dinner of grain-free dry food & wet. Afterwards, Pounce started the gross cough-hacking I recognized after a friend has had 8 too many adult beverages. Mr. DeLeon managed to puke up his entire dinner, which I chalked up to his overenthusiastic scarf-fest.

An hour later, I was surprised when I saw Pounce bouncing around the apartment like a maniac. Instead of a bug or mouse, I saw something else… hanging outside of his other end. I realized it was a burlap string. 

Before you stop and call PETA, let me clarify that I am not a totally absent-minded pet owner. I made one mistake.

Although I felt beyond guilty and slightly panicked, I immediately headed to the Emergency Room at VSEC in South Philly. Luckily VSEC is comfortable with a waiting room with coffee/tea, TV and friendly receptionists. They took Pounce back for an initial exam and continuously briefed me.

After an X-ray, the Vet on duty recommended an immediate surgery OR an ultrasound in the morning since she was worried about his internal organs and possible abnormalities. To avoid any possible complications, I authorized the immediate surgery at midnight.

Before leaving the hospital for the evening, I said goodnight between tears to my ginger stepchild. I told him to be brave and good for the doctors, although I was probably trying to make sure I didn’t go insane.

Luckily, I received a call at 3:30 AM saying Pounce’s surgery had been successful and it was ‘best case’ scenario as far as the procedure/circumstances had been.

“You spent money on surgery? But it’s a cat.”

cat surgeryAlthough Pounce DeLeon is only a cat, he’s stolen my heart since I adopted him. The little catdog has greeted me consistently every day at the door, lightened the mood over bad days, been snuggler, guest greeter and assistant cook(sneakily scoring some guac or food remains).

“But You didn’t have Pet Insurance?”

I had asked a few animal experts about pet insurance, and they all implied that it didn’t come in handy and would cost the same as a treatment eventually. Yet Mother Nature Network recently mentioned how pet owners are expected to spend $14 billion on pet medical care this year, as 91% consider their pets as family members. My decision to forego the insurance made me kick myself…

In case you have to go through something…

Here’s My Advice for Pet Emergencies:

  • cat surgeryRecognize the symptoms of your pets and give appropriate care when needed. There are 24-hour emergency centers in the city that will help you.
  • Do your best to not let your guard down with safety measures around the house. Although you don’t have to turn into a drill sergeant, review the potential danger zones and objects for your pet. Make sure to store small objects out of your pet’s reach.
  • Purchase pet insurance OR set aside money for an emergency. It will not be cheap.
  • If an emergency does arrive, listen to the doctor’s orders. Ask as many questions as possible. Make sure you’re thinking of the pros/cons, costs, and what to expect.
  • Your pet will be high as a kite after surgery. Pounce had this weird meow-growl when I visited him the morning after. This is due to the painkillers, and he was way more normal 24 hours later when I picked him up to take him home.
  • Follow recovery recs. Poor DeLeon wasn’t allowed to jump (and he IS a conquistador), so was stuck in larger dog crate for his recovery.
  • Don’t google the problem and read forums. OK, Google can have a lot of answers. But there are many messaging boards which will scare the crap out of you. Listen to your pet’s doctor.
  • Lean on your network. I was lucky to have a support system to offer help.

I’m happy to report that Pounce has recovered wonderfully and is back to his normal cat-self.

Readers, have you ever dealt with a pet emergency? What recommendations do you have?

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

4 thoughts on “What to Do in Pet Emergencies: Tribulations of a CatMom

  1. oh dear! Glad to hear the little guy is ok, we have insurance but I often then of cancelling it because like you, our cat stays inside. I don’t know what I would do with out him so I guess I can continue to shell out the money each month for peace of mind. Meanwhile my live in boyfriend is self employed and without health insurance…

  2. I understand your dilemma, Casey! It’s obviously up to each pet owner individually, but an alternate would be to have a ‘pet emergency fund’ and set aside the same money each month into a separate bank account (I can make ‘many’ free saving accounts on Capital One 360/formerly ING Direct.)

    There are pro’s and con’s to both, so it depends on what you think is best.

    Luckily for your boyfriend, Obamacare should kick in soon, right?

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thanks Caitlin! It definitely was scary at the time. I’m glad Pounce is completely back to normal and will give him a few pets for you. 🙂

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