Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Neutering The Suitors

So The Mangosteen Brothers, Barney and Maxx have a hot date with the vet on Friday. They've come of age, and as any cat owner may know, boy cats spray to mark their territories. It's quite disgusting, and I've been going around with a bottle of Clorox Cleanup in one hand, and a bottle of Fabreze in the other. I've contacted a local low cost spay/neuter program in the area to get this surgery done without costing a mint. Or at least I thought it won't cost a mint.

Since I'm a comparison shopper, I called my usual vet and inquired about their fee for male cat neutering. The lovely receptionist shot me a price that rocked me back on my heels a bit, then launched into what all goes with the fee. Pain Management, blood work, EKG, blah, blah, blah, and ended it with, "But while they're under, we will clip their nails free of charge...." Fuuuuuck lady, for 196 bucks per cat, you better gold plate their little balls and give them to me on a plaque! Holy Mackerel! Soooo, the Brothers Mangosteen are not going to our usual vet for denutting. I called the closest of the 'participating' vets from the sheet the low cost neuter people gave me, and set up an appointment. They did ask if I wanted an EKG done on each cat (for 12 bucks per) to make sure 'they would make it thru the anethesia without problems'. Huh? I've had cats for well over 20 years, and NEVER had a vet ask if I wanted the cat to have an EKG. This is fucked up people!! Not so long ago, when I got the Imperious Pete fixed, I took him to the vet in the morning, and picked him up sans balls in the afternoon. No hassles, just did it. No big deal, nobody wanting to EKG him to make sure he'd 'make it' thru the surgery okay. So now, I take the Boys to the vet by 7:45 on Friday, and I pick them up Saturday morning. Again, WTF? I didn't ask if there was a fee for the overnight stay.

Now here's my theory about this. (You know it was coming, didn't you?) Several local vets have these great Taj Mahals of offices. Complexes. With seperate dog & cat entrances, a whole platoon of chippy blonde vet techs who wisk your kitty/doggy off into one of the many shiny, sterile exam rooms with original art on the walls, atriums, skylights, the works. I know we live in a day & age where people care about their animals, and thats all well and fine. If Muffy and Kip want to take their pedigreed Golden Coonhound to the Mayo Clinic of vets (in their Range Rover of course) great. Good for them. More power to 'em. But there is a wide swath of pet lovers who don't have the means to afford to write a $300 check every blessed time they take their animals to the vet. When Barney hurt his leg last year, I dropped close to 700 bucks in a month. I didn't blink at the time, because he needed to be taken care of. And I know that the care was good, and the vet is fantastic, but forking out 200 per cat for a simple surgery that takes a half hour galls me to death.

Whatever has become of the vet down the way, who has a modest office, the cats sit on one side, the dogs on the other, they have a couple exam rooms, and a nice lady at the front desk who pets all the dogs, speaks to the cats in carriers, and gives you Kleenex when you're bawling about having an animal put down? These are the vets I grew up with, and they served me, my family and the rest of community very, very well for many years.

I scoped out the vets office where the Boys are scheduled to go on Friday. Yep, you guessed it. Snazzy website, atrium, pain management clinics (Yeah,really, what IS that? Breathe thru the pain, kitty, it'll get better..breathe, breathe!!) the whole nine yards. I'm seriously considering canceling the appointment, and going on a quest to find the plain ole' kindly local doc, with a modest office, a sweet receptionist, and who sees the animals as our friends, not as fuzzy things attached to walking checkbooks.

UPDATE: I contacted another vet on the list. One who neutered my first kitty years and years ago. He'll do it for a third of what the original vet quoted, and they don't stay overnight...HA!

Old school vets are the best!

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