There is ‘frugal’ and then there is ‘irresponsible’

We lost our cat two days ago to a paralysis tick. Since having child #3 last year I have lost my responsible-ness (yes that’s a word now) and my mind.

When friends told me that going from having two children to three children was unbelievably difficult I use to think “It can’t be that bad, surely 2 is harder than 3? After all, you really should know what you’re doing by then and plenty of people go on to have child 4 and 5”. I always thought that they were exaggerating. However, since having our third child I have nearly burnt the house down, left the front door wide open and gone out, forgotten to pay bills to the point where they threatened to disconnect, and I let the worming, flea and tick treatments in my dog and cat lag for over a year. The result… my cat got a paralysis tick and passed away.

We hadn’t seen the cat since Saturday. The last time I saw her she was laying in the garden and we were all piling into the car. She looked like she was napping but didn’t quit look right. “I’ll check on her when I get back” I thought. But that was the last time I saw her. I’m assuming that she had snuck past someone into the house after that because by Monday afternoon we found that she had crawled up inside the lining of the lounge through a small tear underneath. She had hidden in there before.

We had searched the house and the garden a couple of times and thought “she’s disappeared for a day before, she’ll come back”.

On Monday morning my family were sitting on this very lounge, talking about putting ‘lost cat’ signs up in our surrounding streets and whether to search the bush nearby in case she had caught a tick and wasn’t able to get home. Then I felt this light cold nose on my ankle. The cat had crawled out of her hiding place when she heard us talking. I have to mention here, this is not a lounge room that we use every day.

As soon as I saw her I knew there was something wrong. We lifted the lounge off her so that I could pick her up without dragging her. Immediately I knew by the way she was laying with her belly flat to the ground and her legs splayed that she had a tick and her legs were paralysed. She had lost her voice hence why we didn’t hear her and she was panting. We rushed her straight to the vet.

The vet had to shave her to find the tick. They discussed treatment before proceeding and I asked about her chances of recovering (ie whether we needed to consider euthanizing her).They told us her chances of recovery were ‘good’ to ‘fair’ .Once they removed the tick they gave her a tick antiserum and anaesthetic since apparently cats can have an allergic reaction to the injection. They put a drip in her little paw and placed an oxygen tube just near her nose and mouth because she was having trouble breathing. By this time she had become worse.

It had been an hour since we had found her and the vet was closing for the day. They suggested we take her to an after hours vet emergency centre where she could be monitored through the night. We paid our vet $631, put the cat in the car with the oxygen tank and drip and drove her the 30 minutes to the overnight facility.

When we got there, she was really struggling to breathe and the next vet told us that there was a likely chance that she would not survive. They put her in an oxygen tank but it wasn’t enough for her so they placed an oxygen mask over her little face. We had one last look at her paid our $300 and left. I received a phone call three hours later that she had passed away.

We had found her at 5pm and she was gone by 10pm.

I’m so angry that we didn’t look harder for her. We had looked under the lounge but didn’t think to check whether she had crawled up inside as she has done before. She had literally been sitting under our noses.

I’m angry that I didn’t keep up with the tick prevention medication.

I’m angry that the vet told me that she had a fair chance of survival so we went ahead with treatment, paid nearly $1000 and let her struggle to breathe and suffocate for the next five hours.

And I’m angry that now I have to find somewhere to bury a dead cat.

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