Euthanising your cat at the right time and for the right reasons is a good thing. It is kind, gentle and proper cat caretaking. A lot people would love to have the same opportunity for themselves! However, there is one uncomfortable aspect of euthanasia that has to be recognised. It is when you have to decide to euthanise your cat because you have decided that you cannot afford to pay a $1000 or £1000 vet bill (or more) on tests etc. that may bring some benefit but may not. There may be bills beyond that. Where does it end? Or, you can afford it but you feel that you can’t justify it. That is even worse.
This is where the cat caretaker has to decide between their money and their cat’s life and if, despite being a good cat owner, they decide they can’t or don’t want to afford it, how guilty do they feel afterward? If the person is a genuinely good cat guardian, they are likely to question their decision and feel guilty.
Some people might argue that the reason for the guilt is the high cost of veterinarian care. If their charges were more modest the cash strapped cat owner wouldn’t have to make that impossible decision.
In defense the vet would say the cat owner should take out pet insurance. At a stroke that would eliminate the guilt. The cat owners would just say yes to the vet, go ahead and do what you have to do to cure my cat. The vet would also say that they are highly skilled and deserve a decent income, that they have high overheads and the drugs and equipment is expensive and so on. Fair points.
The trouble with pet insurance is that it can be expensive over the lifetime of a cat and it may be a waste of money. Pet insurance is a gamble and essentially it is about the passing of money from the person who has a very healthy cat to a person who has very sick cat. A substantial part of the money from the person with the healthy cat also goes into the pocket of the employees and directors of the large (and wealthy) insurance companies. Insurance is a bit of a game and a license to print money. I don’t like insurance. And a lot people who are the best cat caretakers can’t justify paying for it.
A vet might say that if you can’t afford pet insurance don’t have a cat and don’t complain about feeling guilty if you have to euthanise your cat rather than spend a lot of money doing tests.
Where does this leave a lot of people who are decent cat owners? It leaves them facing the reality that cat health is ultimately about money. There is no absolute right to cat health care. In fact, there is no absolute right to human healthcare. It all has to be paid for.
If you are a person:
- who is likely to pay a lot of money to save your cat and
- you can afford pet insurance…
…my advice would be to take out pet insurance to avoid the euthanasia guilt complex. I think we need to ask ourselves in advance, how much we are prepared to pay in vet’s bills. It seems to me that taking out pet insurance is both about us, and our mentality towards paying vet’s bills, and our opinion about our cat’s health.
It is essential to check the terms and conditions of any insurance policy because you can’t trust insurance companies. Also take written notes on any enquiries you make on the phone about what the policy covers. Insurance companies like to wriggle out of their obligations. And that is another good reason why people don’t take out pet insurance and have to face the guilt-making decisions of euthanising their cat.