When Is a Cat Just a Cat?


If you’re like me, the answer is never.

Most of you know I feed the parking lot kitties at my office. They get vet care, too, if they need it. But until now, it’s never been anything major.

We’ve pulled teeth, given them Revolution, antibiotics for bites — little, easy-to-handle things. But this week, for the first time, I had to make a real life-or-death, expensive decision, and it really made me think.

I have always said that cost is not a factor when it comes to my kitties. If Pimp or Moo ever needed ANYTHING, I’d sell my car, max out credit cards, and do whatever it took. They are that precious and important to me.

But a cat in a parking lot? Where do you draw the line?

Last week, we noticed Bully, my favorite cat in the lot, wasn’t eating. Actually he was slowly eating less and less, and we were getting concerned. So we decided to take him to the vet.

On Thursday, the day we were going to take him, he was nowhere to be found. Not normal. He is a fixture. We looked, we searched and finally found him late in the day, looking sad and miserable in a bush. He looked like a person looks when they have the worst flu ever. Just miserable.

So off to the vet he went. He had a fever … and something in his stomach. The vet could feel it and it seemed big, but needed an X-ray to see what it was.

Hi. I’m Bully and I’m anything but a Bully.

Turns out Bully had eaten something with a claw. (We think it was an iguana foot.) It was inches long, stuck high up in him, clogging him up and inflaming his intestines. He got antibiotics and doctor’s orders to watch him for the next few days to see if he started eating. The vet said it might take a couple of weeks for a cat to pass something like this.

And Bully had to pass this … or else it would mean surgery that could cost thousands of dollars.

Bully went to the house of our friend (who also has Stubbie still). He didn’t eat Friday. He didn’t eat Saturday. He wasn’t going to do this on his own. On Sunday morning, his other parking lot mom, Kelly, talked to the vet.

We had to make a decision: Put Bully to sleep or pay for expensive surgery.

Now, if this were Pimp or Moo, it would not even be a question. But for a cat from a parking lot … who is going back to the parking lot after the surgery? The decision wasn’t so clear.

But I couldn’t just let a cat die because he ate something. A great cat. A friendly, loving, perfect cat who I am pretty sure is Daddy Meow‘s brother. (They have big heads and similar dispositions.)

If we can save him, should we try? He doesn’t have to die. After the surgery, he should bounce right back — the vet said it’s usually successful and cats go right back to normal. The surgery would cost $1,500 to $2,000, depending on what he sees when he goes in.

In the end, we decided that while we don’t have thousands of dollars, we do have huge hearts and we owe it to Bully to do what we can to help him. He’s having surgery tomorrow.

I know some people will think it’s crazy, but it’s the only decision I could live with. And I know most of you aren’t the people who would think I’m crazy. You guys get it.

I don’t usually like to ask for money, and I struggled with even putting this up, but if anyone would like to help out with the costs of Bully’s surgery, I’ve set up a Chipin where you can contribute. I know times are tough for many, so please only give if you can spare it.

We made this decision, and we’ll find a way to pay for it.

And Bully is going to make it. And every single time I look at him, I’m going to know we made the right decision, because he’ll still be around giving me that look and rubbing my legs and being the first one in line for the pile of food.

Here’s a video of him I took Sunday when I visited. I told him we were going to fix him all up.

Please think of him today. I don’t know what time the surgery will be, but I’ll update as soon as I know when it is and how it goes.

P.S. I’m posting this on both of my blogs today, because it’s the only important thing to me right now. If you’ve already read it over there, thanks for visiting both. I’ll tell Bully you said hi. :)

Update 9:30 a.m.: Bully is at the vet. He’s going to get bloodwork done and another X-ray to see exactly where the claw thing is now. As long as the bloodwork checks out, he’ll have surgery early afternoon. The vet did warn us that he is an anesthesia risk (Bully is probably about 10), but that’s normal for older cats. Once Bully goes in, the vet’ll call us if he sees anything he thinks he can’t fix (we hope that sharp claw hasn’t injured Bully inside). Everything crossed that surgery goes well for our little man! I’ll update as soon as I hear anything else.

Update 10:10 a.m.: Well, the vet called. He did another X-ray and saw something that was obstructed by the claw and bones before. Turns out the claw thing has moved down a little, but the vet is seeing something else and thinks it might be an abdominal tumor. Please no cancer! :( He will try to get some of the cells and check it out so he can know for sure. Bully’s white blood count is high, which is not a good sign. I’ll keep you posted. This isn’t good. :(

Update: 10:41 a.m.: The doctor says the tumor is inoperable and he thinks that it is that, not the claw thing, that is causing him to not eat and feel bad. The claw is actually moving along in him. His white blood cell count is really high and his red is really low. I’m so sad. I’m heading over to be with him now and we’re going to help him to the Bridge so he can go peacefully. :(

I’m going to close the Chipin. He does have expenses from his two trips to the vet and all this testing. I’ll see what that is and get back to you all. Thank you.

Update 11:50 a.m: Bully passed peacefully to the Bridge surrounded by love from his three parking lot mommies, petting him, talking to him and kissing him. He loved us, and we truly loved him, too. We asked to have a private cremation and we’re going to spread his ashes back home, here in the parking lot. We lost a very special cat today.

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