Sasha and our cat Joel

Since I’ve already received some odd looks over my choice to spend almost $4,000 to fix my dog Kane, I figured I would pose a related question.  This question came to mind as my wife reminded me that our cat Joel is almost 14 years old.  The question is simple:

Assuming you owned both a dog and cat, hypothetically of course, and both needed expensive medical treatment to prolong their lives, where would you draw the line?  Can you define an objective amount, say $10,000, for each?  If not, would you be more likely to spend more on keeping your dog alive than your cat?  If so, why?

When answering the above questions please, if you feel comfortable, also state whether you own a dog, cat, or other pet.

Sasha and Lucius

Once we get a few comments up I will give my answer- so I don’t influence you guys by answering my own question too soon.  I will say this though, I had thought about this question before, and had thought that if the treatment cost more than $2,000 I would probably put my dog down.  However, confronted with the reality of losing my dog that number was rendered meaningless.

UPDATE: An added question for my religious readers.  Do you believe that you will see your pets again on the new Earth?  If so, is it just wishful thinking or do you have some scriptural basis for your belief?

  1. Neil says:

    Let’s just say the line for the dog would be much higher than that of the cat (sorry, cat lovers!).

    Our line is a bit lower, though we’ve spent a lot in the past. The problem is that you take them in for an emergency and it is hundreds of dollars, then some other procedures cost hundreds, then more. If you knew the total all at once it would be different.

    Our dogs are getting older so we’re to the point of paying for emergency things (animal hospital visits, meds/fluids to stabilize them) but no big procedures. We’ve overspent in the past, though, so we’ll see how well we execute the plan when the need arises.

  2. Neil, this seems like an interesting moral quandary to pose to your readership as part of the weekly round up.

  3. lifelemons says:

    We have spent tons of money on animals that will inevitably die so I will say that I would put either cat or dog down at $2000.00.

    We had a cat that had a tumor on his face, right on his nose, we ended up putting him down.

    We had another cat that had hyper-thyroid and we would buy the cat medicine for about $60 a bottle/per month for about 4 or 5 years. Then one day she broke her leg and when we took her to the vet they told us she had a bone tumor and that her leg would be amputated with no guarantee the cancer hadn’t spread. She got put down that day.

    My parents Chow-Chows fight constantly and have to be kept in seperate rooms, my parents have spent a lot of money on vet bills for there antics. The next time a bad fight happens between them I think they will get put down.

    I have two pomeranians and as soon as something bad happens two one of them they will be put down. They are good dogs mind you but they will eventually die.

    I don’t mean to come off heartless but I try to think logically when it comes to animals. I know a lot of people that literally piss money away on animals.

  4. Teresa says:

    We ended up putting our dog, Pepper down a few years ago. She was three weeks shy of her fifteenth birthday, and had a mysterious mass in her chest. We spent about $500.00 on palliative care, but when she started refusing to get into the car to go to the vets (she hated needles), we decided that we needed to let her go.

    She was no longer enjoying life, the treatment was making her more miserable, and likely would only prolonge her suffering without adding quality to her life, and was, in fact, causing more suffering.

    Even if we could have somehow healed the illness the most time she had left due to her age was less than a year (large dog, fifteen years old).

    Had she another five years life expectancy, with the expectation that she would have a good quality of life, I think I would be willing to spend almost any amount of money…as long as it didn’t hurt my family’s financial stability and compromise my children’s future.

    I’m allergic to cats, so I dont have one. I’m not fond of cats, so I wouldnt choose to have one. If I somehow ended up responsible for the life of a cat, I’d feel ethically responsible to give them the same care I would give a dog…but my heart wouldn’t be in it. :–)

    We chose to euthanize Pepper because she was in so much pain and there was no hope of a cure, and making her stick around for a natural death was akin to torturing her..

    Whe I was a kid on the farm, we used to “put animals out of their misery” with a gun-shot to the head. That didnt seem right either, since we had the option to let her simply fall asleep in our arms.

  5. territerri says:

    I don’t think I could name a price limit or say whether the dog or cat would take precedence over the other. (We have a Springer Spaniel, a cat, and just inherited my parents’ cat last fall.) I love them all and would have to consider each medical situation as it arises. Our dog, Shelby is 14 yrs and 4 months. We have seen the signs in the past several months that she would not be with us much longer. Her back legs are arthritic, she has trouble getting up steps and spends most her time sleeping It seems she suffered a stroke a day or two ago. The vet said to watch her. If she were going to recover from the stroke it would happen within a day. Well, yesterday, she was still stumbling and falling, bumping into walls. We decided and today we will have her put down. I’ve never had to make this kind of decision before and it is awful to have to do it. Even harder is trying to explain to the kids that the pet they’ve loved for most of their lives has to leave us. The decision though, is all about compassion and not at all about money.

  6. “Even harder is trying to explain to the kids that the pet they’ve loved for most of their lives has to leave us”

    That is the hardest part. I know I can handle my own pain, but I worry about my daughter.

    “Well, yesterday, she was still stumbling and falling, bumping into walls.”

    Sounds like my wife’s poodle several years ago.

    “We decided and today we will have her put down.”

    Your family is in my prayers Terri. I know how hard it can be. My dog Timmy was put to sleep when I was about 13 years old. It was the most painful thing I ever experienced up to that point.

  7. Neil says:

    “Neil, this seems like an interesting moral quandary to pose to your readership as part of the weekly round up.”

    My pleasure.

  8. territerri says:

    Will we see our pets in the afterlife? I was just thinking of how I would respond to that, anticipating one of the kids would ask the same thing. (They didn’t.)

    When I started going to Catholic school in 5th grade, I had a horrible, mean, nun for a teacher. With no compassion whatsoever, she taught us many difficult “facts of life.” One of those was that we shouldn’t expect to see our pets in heaven as animals “do not have a soul.”

    My belief is, “Who says?” I believe that heaven is not some other place, but this place right here. Heaven is the life we love, with all the evil, pain and hurt stripped away. I believe that all that we love about this life will be present in the afterlife, and that includes our pets.

    Thanks for letting me talk this out in your comments. It’s therapeutic to do this as I prepare to make that trip to the vet this morning. And thank you for your prayers. I will keep Kane and your family in mine.

  9. I figured, given your present circumstances, that this is a question you might have already thought about.

  10. BuddyO says:

    I’m negative on the cat… I’d pay up to $2000 to get rid of one.. 😉

    A moral issue… It comes down to stewardship. I’ll answer with a bigger question. Would you spend that same $2000 on a homeless person who needs surgery?

    I love dogs. We went through the loss of a 14 year friend a couple of years ago. But they are dogs… man has been set apart as special by God.

    As far as animals in heaven… the REAL answer is “I don’t know” any other answer is just conjecture.

  11. Thanks for the answer BuddyO. I think you are quite right. While I wouldn’t pay $2,000 to get rid of a cat, I definitely know I wouldn’t spend as much to keep a cat alive as I would to keep my dog alive.

  12. Tara R. says:

    I have two dogs and a cat, and love each of them dearly, but tend to be more pragmatic on spending $1000s on any of them. I would weigh their age and the potential improvement in their quality of life against the cost for catastrophic medical care. One of my dogs is pushing 14yo… would prolonging her life only a couple of years, and in a condition that leaves her basically ‘bed ridden’ be more or less humane than making her comfortable and letting her die peacefully or putting her down as a compassionate measure. I don’t think I would spend $1,000 on any pet to keep them alive.

  13. tam says:

    like you T – its hard to say unless im in the situation. the cost became unimportant to you. and it may me as well if i were faced with the same dilemma. i would spend every penny i could, and had available, to ensure treatment that would heal or prolong life, yes.

    as far as pets in heaven. well. why not? who’s to say yes or no. but i say, sure. he created animals. why wouldnt there be animals in heaven. and He loves to give us the desires of our hearts. if Fido was my best friend and we are both gone – why wouldnt He bring us together again.

    my pastor just wrapped up a great series on heaven. if you want you can listen to the last message on Heaven/FAQ.

  14. Rachel D. says:

    I actually have no pets because my husband is very allergic. However, my sister has a dog that I just love to death. If anything were to happen to him and she needed money I would help her in anyway possible. But I do agree with a few other posters that it would depend on his age too. If he were older I would have to take into account what his quality of life would be. I would hate to see him suffer for my sake.

    And I totally think pets go to heaven. They are one of God creatures so why not. 🙂

  15. Randy says:

    I have two dogs, one mine, the other the wife’s. Mine is a mixed breed, primarily black lab, 13 years. He’s got some arthritis that we treat with meds, and some tumors that are benign (they’ve done biopsies). The wife’s dog is a Schitzu, 8 years old. She has a skin disease that means steroid shots ever few months.

    We took them to the vet the other day, regular check-up, shots, meds, etc. Total bill for both – $250.

    I would have a hard time justifying over about $500. Maybe that sounds cold, but they are animals. We are human. I guess it would also depened on what I have to give up to pay for it. My son starts college in 3 weeks, that has to come first. Mortgage, groceries, etc. For the younger dog, I might go more. Also, since it’s the wife’s, well, enough said.

    Will we see our pets in heaven? Well, the Bible doesn’t say yes, but it doesn’t say no. Truthfully, I don’t think so, but I have no facts. I’m just not sure that we’ll consider that important. If my kids were young and they asked, I’d tell them that I don’t know, but that God will make sure we are happy there.

    One thing for certain is that animals don’t have souls.

  16. […] Transformation examines Tough calls: How much to spend on sick pets?  And would you spend more on your dog than your cat?  That’s rhetorical; of course you […]

  17. lifelemons says:

    I don’t believe we will see pets in the afterlife.

  18. […] Animal Vet Bill Cap If you would like to read the blog post you can find it here… Link […]

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