Danecdotes: Apparently, even free cats are expensive
I've written about our cats before, but it's been a couple of years so allow me a quick recap.
Shortly after we got married three years ago, my wife and I adopted Luna, a roughly 2-year-old cat that strayed into my in-laws' neighbor's yard. To our surprise, she was a few weeks pregnant when we adopted her, and soon after we welcomed seven kittens into our two-bedroom apartment.
We found homes for three of the kittens and sent three more to a no-kill shelter where they were adopted shortly thereafter. We decided to keep Mork, the runt of the litter who is now bigger than her mother.
Enough recapping? OK, moving along.
For a cat nearing her third birthday, Mork is still very much a kitten. She loves the 9,000 toys my wife has purchased for her (that is just barely an exaggeration) and she sets aside a portion of every day to sprint through the house like a maniac, jumping on things she shouldn't and mildly harassing Luna.
On a recent Sunday morning, I was lying on the couch watching TV while Mork was batting a twist tie across the carpet. I thought nothing of it; she has been playing with twist ties her whole life.
All of the sudden, I heard an unnatural crunching sound and the twist tie was nowhere in sight.
This, of course, led to my wife panicking a fair amount. After I scoured the living room on the off chance the twist tie was not in Mork's digestive system, my wife made the always enjoyable - and always expensive - emergency veterinary phone call.
Because there is apparently only one vet on call on Sundays in the whole of Crow Wing County, we had to take the cat to a veterinary office about 15 miles away. Fun fact about Mork: She absolutely hates car rides and she will spend the entire trip screaming like a wounded bobcat. She also hates visits to the vet (which have traditionally gone hand-in-hand with car rides) so she was far from content or cooperative.
The vet eventually got an X-ray, which showcased a multitude of small bits of wire throughout Mork's stomach.
The vet said there wasn't much we could do - basically either wait for it to pass or have the wire removed surgically, which would be both expensive and traumatic. He suggested we pay a visit to our regular vet the following day and get another X-ray to see if everything was passing.
So I took that Monday afternoon off and lugged the wire-eating goofball to the vet - and yes, she screamed the whole way once again.
I love the veterinary office we go to, but that day seemed like their busiest day of the year because we spent a fair amount of time in the waiting room. It didn't help that every other person waiting was there with a dog or two, and Mork was the only cat in the waiting room and wanted to make sure everyone knew she was there by being extra vocal.
We eventually got to see the vet, who took X-rays that showed the wires were almost through Mork's system and had done no internal damage.
After two visits to the vet in two days, three X-rays and nearly $400, we had confirmation that the little monster is going to be fine.
Now, I don't have any children, but I can't help but feel like owning a pet is a solid, small-stakes way to prepare for that next step.
My sister has three kids and my brother has two, and I've heard both of them utter a sentence I'm sure every parent has said and no parent ever expected to say:
"Don't eat that!"
Heck, I say that once a week. The only difference is that I say it to a 10-pound, orange and white monstrosity, instead of a smaller human.
In addition to the nonsense you say as a new parent, I also feel like owning a pet is preparing us for what you have to do when those in your care need help, like the Sunday morning emergency car rides or inspecting droppings for bits of wire (to be fair, my wife did that last one).
Maybe I'm overthinking the notion of pet-ownership, but I would recommend to everyone who has the ability to own pets.
They make for enjoyable company. Just keep them away from twist ties.