So, in between the cookie-stealing, and pancake stealing, and plate breaking, and pizza stealing, and envelope eating, the trash-pilfering, and bed wetting, et. al., Barley was definitely not my favorite pet this week. In fact, the phrase, "I hate animals" may or may night have come out of my mouth.
So imagine my delight and surprise when Blaine came inside the other night to tell me, "There is poop hanging off Blackie's butt and there are little rice-looking things stuck in it. I'm pretty sure the cat was worms."
He's not even *OUR* cat! We inherited him with the house. Of course, the first month or so that we lived here we sort of ignored him, assuming he belonged to a neighbor. Well, Blaine and I ignored him, and he did a pretty good job of ignoring us. But the kids have loved him from day one. Once we realized that no, he was actually living under our shed and most likely digging for food in trash cans, we began to feel bad for the thing. So we let him sleep in our garage. And we started feeding him. On a regular basis. And he gained so much weight so fast that we thought it was a girl cat, and she might be pregnant. Thank heavens we were wrong. Then we even cut a doggie-door (kitty-door?) in our garage door, so I guess at that point we accepted that the cat was here to stay. But do not forget that he was still not *OUR* cat.
And so, we weren't compelled to take it to vet until the suspected worm episode this week. I know, it's negligent of us, but it's the truth.
Because like I've mentioned in the past, I just wasn't feeling the love. Food? Shelter? Letting my kids play with it? Fine, ok. But he was NOT coming inside and he was NOT going to be listed on my annual Christmas letter as a family member and we were NOT taking him to the vet and claiming responsibility.
Until now. What with the rice-things, which we still assumed were worms. (sigh) (and gross.)
So I bought a pet carrier, and the kids and I took him to the vet today after school.
He needed vaccinations.
He needed flea medicine.
He has dry skin.
He has hookworm.
He has heartworm, which apparently is rare in a cat, so aren't we the lucky ones?
In fact, the vet said he's only seen three cases of actual active heartworm in a cat since the test became available. Well, good. I always like to be special.
So now in addition to the flea lotion-stuff we're supposed to put on him once a month, he suggested a combo-flea-heartworm lotion. Because, and I quote, "This won't get rid of the heartworm, but it will keep any new ones from developing. Cats with heartworm can suffer coughing, vomiting, and a sudden death syndrome. The life expectancy of heartworm is three to five years, so we recommend keeping new ones from developing."
And really, I started to feel a little guilty. Blackie only has three to five years to live? I mean, sure, I don't particularly love him like one of my own, but he *is* a pretty good-natured cat. No hissing, no spitting, no clawing. He lets us pet him, he lets the kids carry him all over the place, he even rubs up against my legs in the garage sometimes, especially if he's hungry. And Brayden, gosh, she loves him enough for all of us.
Three to five years? That's actually a little bit sad.
So I asked, "Will the three to five years the cat has left be healthy ones, other than the heartworm?"
And the vet replied, "Wait. What? No, the HEARTWORMS will live three to five years, then they'll be gone. That cat will probably live another ten or fifteen years."
And the children cheered, and I breathed a sigh of relief. All is not doomed, and we can proudly and lovingly nurse Blackie back to health and claim him as one of our family, and live happily ever after, yippee!
Then the vet handed me a bill for $245.90. The week before Christmas.
I friggin' hate animals.