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Emilyy's avatar

How would you tackle this moral dilemma involving an injured kitten?

Asked by Emilyy (2133points) July 28th, 2008

I recently rescued an injured kitten from the parking lot of my work. I wasn’t in the market for a cat, but nobody else would take it in, so I agreed. I love cats and have wanted a companion for some time, but I wasn’t completely prepared for one financially. I’m 23 and I work at a non-profit in Los Angeles for a salary in the 35k area. Financially I’m stable, but I don’t have a lot left over for big expenses that just come up out of nowhere. My executive director agreed to cover the initial vet fees which totaled $400 if I would agree to take the cat. I figured that I could afford the day-to-day costs of having an animal. I was originally told that the cat’s leg would heal fine and he was sent home with a splint and a bandage. So home we went, and Scraggles and I spent the past week bonding.

I went in a week later and was told by the vet that they had “missed something.” They did a second x-ray (free of charge) and found a hip fracture (which I’m told will heal normally with rest) and a fracture in the “femoral head and neck.” Basically, there’s a fracture on the area where the leg connects to the hip. The vet quoted me a whopping $3,000 for the orthopedic surgery which is called a Femoral Head & Neck Osteotomy. I’m told that without the surgery, the leg will be a constant source of pain and lameness. Right now he seems happy and all, but I can tell that the leg is probably causing him some pain.

Here’s my dilemma. I was told by the vet that I could “shop around” for other prices, but I’m finding that places want to charge me over $100 even just to have a consultation. I’m concerned that I won’t be able to find anywhere that can do the surgery for much less. Even $1,000–2,000 is beyond my means. I have a couple friends who are vet techs who are looking into it. At this point in my life, I’m just not financially prepared to spend that kind of money on a cat that I’ve had for one week, even though I already have grown quite attached. I don’t want to do a payment plan, because I can’t even fathom spending that kind of money on him over time. But, I also don’t want him to be in constant pain just because I’m broke. And I don’t think that having the cat euthanized because I can’t afford his surgery is a viable option. I’ve also considered having some sort of fundraiser to gather funds to have the surgery. Finally, some folks have suggested amputation of the leg as a humane option that I guess will still allow him to have a long and happy life without pain. If I were to decide to give him up, I don’t know if I could find someone else who would want to take him, especially since there are SO many healthy kittens out there in the shelters this time of year.

What would you do if you were in my position?

Sorry that’s such a long explanation, but any advice, assistance, or donations would be much appreciated. :)

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29 Answers

waterskier2007's avatar

why not take it into the humane society or something. wont they take lost animals. i mean you could explain the situation to them

Emilyy's avatar

The problem is that right now there are so many strays that a cat who requires this kind of surgery would most likely be put down if I were to take it to the humane society or another shelter. Plus, some that I’ve called can’t even take more animals because there are SO many right now. There might be sanctuary-type places out there where they wouldn’t kill an animal. But your run-of-the-mill shelter will probably not let him live, sadly.

waterskier2007's avatar

oh yeah that is real sad. so you have at least called the shelters? why not post something online looking for a family who really wants a cat. i mean i highly doubt a family would pick this cat over a healthy one but its worth a shot

gailcalled's avatar

Do what my daughter did. Call your mother. (after you have called all your friends). Animal shelter is the kiss of death, sadly.

wildflower's avatar

I think the fundraiser is a great idea – and it may seam mean, but you might get support from your colleagues feeling guilty they wouldn’t take him in.
Why not write up the kitten’s story, arrange a fundraiser with intention of being able to write a happy ending! If that doesn’t get them reaching in to their pockets, they don’t have hearts ;)

nikipedia's avatar

Along the lines of a fundraiser—is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?

PupnTaco's avatar

What about a discount cat surgeon in Mexico?

flameboi's avatar

keep the kitten, and use your credit card :s PnT is a good option :)

kevbo's avatar

Call around to media outlets and see if they are interested in your story and setting up a donation account. Or, set up a fundraising page on your blog asking 3,000 people to give a dollar (or whatever). Get your social network to spread the word as far and wide as possible.

If you get media attention, perhaps the vet would be willing to trade the surgery for the publicity.

syz's avatar

For an FHO, you can reasonably expect to spend around $2000. You may be able to have an amputation done for around $800. Animals adapt quite well to amputation, especially when performed at a young age.

Check your area for rescue organizations. Some organizations will help out with medical expenses (in our area, there is Second Chance and Independent Animal Rescue).

There is also a company called CareCredit ( that you can apply for. It’s a credit card specifically for medical expenses. They currently have a “no interest for six months” program in place.

If you are unable to pay for the procedure, have the kitten euthanized. It is no kindness to let her continue indefinitely with this condition. The pelvis fracture will heal with time, but a femoral head break will only get more painful over time. It’s an unstable joint that will cause bone to grind on bone. That’s not discomfort – that’s pain.

Seesul's avatar

Have you discussed this update with the executive director? It seems like they were part of your decision, and without encouragement and funding from them in the first place, you would not have agreed to take this on. I would let them know and tell them exactly what you have told us. Ask if they have any suggestions how to handle this.

iJimmy's avatar

Set up a Pay Pal account and ask your fellow Fluthers and others to help out.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

$1.00 from 3090 (paypal fees) flutherites should do the trick. :)

gailcalled's avatar

OTOH, is this the appropriate site to use for collecting funds, no matter how beneficial?MY sense is if you want to make a contribution, take it privately.

kevbo's avatar

gail? was that lolspeak? tell me they didn’t get you, too? ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

Guilty as charged. The Pod people lurk outside as I type.

syz's avatar

Tsk, tsk…..we’re obviously a bad influence on gail.

gailcalled's avatar

—No. You enable me to keep up with the part of the Zeitgeist that interests me.—

syz's avatar

I’m jealous. I’ve never managed to work “Zeitgeist” into a sentence.

gailcalled's avatar

the next challenge (for me ,at least) is schadenfreude.

syz's avatar

Ah, but schadenfruede is the word-du-jour for the mass media. Not nearly challenging enough for you.

Seesul's avatar

Schad en Freuude were recently seen on TV, happily discussing the misfortune of others.

returning to my corner, punchy again

Trance24's avatar

Here are a few fudraiser sites that you can have people donate:
Fundable (Says right on the site you can raise money for vet bills)
Click and Pledge
Fund raising

Emilyy's avatar

Hey, for all those interested in knowing how this is going…I did find a vet through a friend who is a vet tech who not only confirmed that the surgery is necessary, but agreed to have thesurgery done for a much discounted rate because the kitty was a stray. Since I agree with Gail that this thread might not be the appropriate place to solicit donations, I just wanted to let everyone know that I did set up a donations page through I’m going to post the link on my external profile so any Flutherer with a desire to help out a kitten in need can definitely contribute.

Thanks for all the help!

redsgirl4eva's avatar

I like the fundraiser idea. I also disagree with taking the kitten to a shelter because they do kill kittens VERY sadly indeed.

Judi's avatar

Would your boss loan you the money and let you pay back over time? Just an idea since he did say that he would pick up the vet bill before you realized that it was going to be so much.

CMaz's avatar

$1,000—$1,200? You need to ask yourself this. Is that money more important for your health or, the kitten’s. God forbid you get hurt and need medical help. Some people have more money then they know what to do with. It seems you are not in that position. Euthanizing is not a bad thing. It is a hard call, especially now that you are responsible for that precious creature. I hear cat’s taste like chicken.

choppersangel's avatar

Hi Emilyy, Ohh, had to chime in with this, I would have felt obliged to do exactly the same even though there is no way we could keep a kitten. The various suggestions for raising funds, and your joining fundable sounds a good way to go.

Just an additional suggestion, as a family member of mine did something similar years ago. Among your friends and family, are there enough people interested in the cat’s welfare to form a sort of co-operative? Joint ownership/care for her? Members would have to be willing to look after her or help pay the vet bills, but it might allow people who cannot take a cat in full time to have some part in her welfare and human enjoyment….

Good luck anyway, good on you for caring!

selfe's avatar

Thru Google I found these pages with ideas for financial assistance for pets:

I had heard about IMOM but I don’t really know much more than the name. Maybe someone else can tell us if they are familiar with one of these resources…

Definitely continue sharing your story with people so others can help you. I will check your fundraising page. The people that were there when the cat was found and couldn’t take it home might be more inclined to help since they witnessed the situation…

Bless your heart for taking the cat in and for working hard to help him. We adopted from the local animal shelter a senior cat suffering from seizures and a sensitive stomach and she has been a blessing even if she needs extra care!

P.S.: Are people spaying/neutering their local pets?

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