My elder cat, Bueller, is getting on in age. He’s 13 and has been diagnosed with an auto immune disorder where he literally chews himself until he bleeds. A steroid shot clears him up for a few weeks (usually 3 to 4) but then it’s back to the vet’s for another.
We’ve been doing what we can, and the vet was nice enough to simply write a ‘prescription’ so that a lab tech can just give him the shot without an exam, keeping the cost to $46 rather than $160. Still, that’s an added expense each month we cannot afford.
Well, sure we could afford it, but he’s 13, the steroids aren’t going to do his liver any good and over the course of his life, we’ve spent several thousand in surgeries and medical care. We spent over a grand just last year trying to figure out what was wrong with him, have switched to expensive cat food, etc.
So, we’re now at a point where we’re having to decide how many more months to go before we have to do the unthinkable and have him put to sleep.
It’s rough. But the vet assures me that when the steroids wear off, he’s not feeling well because of the constant itching, but it just seems so horrible to have him put to sleep because of what amounts to a skin rash. Yet, when he chews himself, it’s constant, he bleeds all over the house (and he loves to sleep on the girls’ beds which is a problem) and then his feet start looking horrible and painful.
I don’t want to have to do it, when he’s on the steroid shot he’s a normal, playful (as much as a 13 year old cat can be), loving animal. But we can’t keep giving him shots every month and we can’t let him chew himself to the point where he’s bleeding and infected.
Even the vet agrees that the final option is not a bad one, and normally the vet’s office tries to guilt you into spending a bajillion bucks on your pets even if it’s just for shinier fur.
We’ve loved this cat for over 13 years, given him the best care and treatment we could, and will continue to love him until the end. Unfortunately, we’re having to actually decide when that end is which I think is harder than him just suddenly slipping away like my other cat Hudson did.