Another $225 Spent at the Vet

Last Updated on August 17, 2020


I’ve become a rather paranoid pet-owner since learning that my one cat, Oreo is sick with kidney failure. We’ve completely changed the food that we’re feeding the two cats, giving them lots of fresh water, and pretty much monitoring them constantly. (Hey, I’m already home all day, I gotta keep busy somehow, right?)

So yesterday I noticed right away when Kit (my other cat) started acting weird. I mentioned something to R and he said that he had noticed that Kit was being weird, too.

Within two hours, Kit’s behaviour changed from normal to very concerning. His meow was very guttural. He looked like he was exhausted. He was going in and out of the litter box without actually doing his business. Then he started squatting in random places around the house, again without actually doing anything. He looked like he was in pain. And then he started vomiting. This in itself isn’t too alarming (as it is sort of normal behaviour for them both), but there was a lot of it and it was happening almost immediately after he ate or drank anything.

We looked up his symptoms on Google and the results were scary. The few sites we looked at all pretty much said the same thing: the cat is either constipated (which is not really a big deal – unless it lasts for several days – and is easy to treat at home) or there is a urinary obstruction (which is a very rapid, life threatening emergency). Not what I wanted to hear in my already anxious state.

The vet’s office was still opened, so I gave them a call. The vet tech suggested that we bring Kit in right away. Because it was the end of the day, I had to call the emergency vet to come in. I spoke to her on the phone first and she basically said the same thing – it’s either no big deal or it’s a huge deal. I could either pay the extra emergency fee ($225) to bring Kit in right away, or I could wait and book a regular appointment ($85) – which could be for the next day, or could be a few days wait. I didn’t want to risk it. So we brought Kit in.

During the commotion, Kit was able to do his business (I never thought I’d be happy to see my cat poop on my kitchen floor!) – but he was still obviously straining to do so, so we still brought him in. After a quick exam by the vet, thankfully, things were fine.

I was much more impressed with the vet this time (who is the same one I had concerns with before). She told us that Kit is fairly healthy, although he is showing some signs of dehydration (but that’s pretty common for his age and we’ve already made the necessary dietary changes needed). She took the time to answer some of the questions that R and I had about homemade cat food and what we should be feeding them. She showed us how to check Kit’s stomach and bladder to determine if it’s constipation or something more serious in the future, and she suggested some ways to prevent it from happening again.

We brought Kit home and he was back to his normal self.

While I wasn’t thrilled having to pay an extra $140 to get Kit checked out NOW instead of later, it was worth it. I had piece of mind that my cat was okay. The vet actually talked to us and educated us about both this issue and Oreo’s kidney problems. And I had planned to take him in for a check-up sometime soon anyways.

So once again, I learned why it’s important to have an emergency fund and just how much I’m willing to spend to keep my cats healthy.


What’s something you unexpectedly had to use your emergency fund for?


Amanda Kay

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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12 thoughts on “Another $225 Spent at the Vet”

  1. Sorry you are having the worst of luck with your cats! I hope this run of health issues is over. Pets ARE expensive. From food to vet bills. We don’t have any because I’m not really a ‘pet’ person but expense is one of the main reasons. It’s also another reason we don’t have kids!!!

    • Thanks CeCe. I’m hoping this is the last trip to the vet for a while too, but sadly, with old cats it might become the norm. But yah – when we were waiting at the vet’s office, I said to R that this was just preparing us for when we have kids. 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh, how stressful for you and Kit!! I think you did the right thing – especially for a male cat to be acting like that, my immediate thought was UTI for a kitty. It’s so painful for them!

    A few months after we got our puppy, she ended up eating/getting stung by a wasp or a bee and her face started swelling. Online said 2 things: she could be fine or she could be in serious trouble. Without even a second thought, we rushed to her our vet, who gave her some medicine (she ended up being totally fine).

    While paying $200+ sucked (at the time, I wasn’t working), I’m really lucky we had the credit ability to pay for her vet visit. Pets are so important!

  3. You’re a great cat mom.. Just paid our vet $170 for assessment, hydration and check up for our chronically ill (inflammatory bowel disease we now think) 13 year old kitty. When you take responsibility for an animal you are responsible insofar as you are able to be- it’s the right thing to do. They are at our mercy.

  4. Yikes, those cuddly little guys can cost a pretty penny sometimes. If you’re looking for ways to get rid of their constipation, try any PEG laxative (Miralax, Laxaday, etc). It doesn’t have a taste, and it basically pulls water into their stool so that it’s softer and easier to use the washroom. If you’ve never done it before, go sparingly because you don’t want the cat to go too far in the other direction. It’s super easy to slowly syringe into their mouth (well with our old fella) – he just laps it up, or you can just leave it in a dish and they’ll drink it like normal water. There are other options such as giving them a glob of vaseline that they’ll groom off their fur, or using lactulose, but those have a taste and are more likely to be rejected and cause a fuss.

    (Yep, I am once again talking about cat bodily functions on your blog…)

  5. Our 20-year old cat’s eye was half-filled with blood one Sunday morning, so it was a no-brainer to go to the emergency room. It was a painful THREE HOUR visit, but I think it’s because she ended up being a lower priority to them since she was clearly not dying from it and would need extra care. It was well worth the few hundred dollars we paid. We didn’t go through with having her eye checked out (and removed) by a specialist, but she was able to live another 3 or 4 months pretty comfortably. So grateful for that time.

    She’s been gone for about 6 months and about a month ago we got a kitten and a 5 year-old cat. It’s crazy how they change the atmosphere of a home.

    In case I didn’t say yet, I think you made the right choice bringing in your cat right away.

  6. Our cat had the same problem. The vet told us it was the food we were giving him, because it had too much sodium in it. It turns out salt is poisonous for cats and builds up in their system over time. I’m glad to hear Oreo’s better now. 🙂

  7. Sometimes people overlook the need for pet insuarance and that can cost them overtime. Imagine getting a surgery done as your dog or cat ages which can run you in the thousands.Thankfully, I get pet insurance coverage through my employer by paying a small premium. For those of you lack coverage for your dogs and cats be sure to give Trupanion a try. They even cover medically approved foods.


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