Rescue center left adopter with large veterinary bill

Ralph a rescue cat with gum disease

Ralph a rescue cat with gum disease

An animal rescue center in Southern Ontario, Canada, told Pam that the cat she wanted to adopt was 8 months old and in good health. The good health report was obviously important but particularly so for Pam because she is a student with little in the way of funds.

It transpired that her cat, which she named, Ralph had exceptionally poor dental health and is estimated by a vet  to be about 7 years of age. After the adoption, Pam had taken Ralph to her local vet who said he had severe gingivitis (gum disease) and several teeth that were so bad they had to be removed. Ralph has difficulty eating and is in some discomfort.  His teeth need to be extracted urgently to prevent the gum infection spreading to other parts of the body. It is that bad.

Ralph needs some pretty heavy dental work and that means a general anesthetic. This sort of veterinary surgery does not come cheap. The cost will be $800, which is £467 (GBP). The figure is similar to British vets or at least vets in London, UK. London is usually more expensive than anywhere else in the UK.

Ralph is booked in for the operation on 2nd December 2013. Good.

Pam has discussed the matter with the rescue center and they appear to be ignoring her and have washed their hands of the matter.

I am impressed with Pam and her sister Katy Blanchard. They could have returned Ralph to the rescue center but decided to fight for Ralph’s health.

Katy did this by going to a website that I have not seen before: Indiegogo.com. It is a website where people can seek funding for all kinds of things, almost anything. It is like the now closed Chipin website.

You can see Ralph’s story on this page (note: this link may eventually be defective because once the campaign is over the webpage may delete the page). There are two reasons why I am writing this short post:

  1. To spread the word a bit so that hopefully Katy and Pam can get the $800 Canadian to get Ralph back to good health and
  2. To highlight the misrepresentation of the animal rescue center. They misled Pam, badly.

Clearly rescue centers are keen to rehome cats and dogs. Young cats are more popular than older ones. The health of rescued cats at centers seems to be a potentially big problem and often a major and ongoing problem.

Rescue centers are in a difficult position. They probably have limited funds. They have lots of cats in one place where contagious diseases can easily spread. They will receive cats that are not in the best of health. Can they afford to fund veterinary treatments on a regular basis? Can they prevent the spread of infectious and sometimes fatal diseases? Are they adequately equipped for that?

With those difficulties in mind, it seems that the person who dealt with Pam overstepped the line and lied to her. Contractually, Pam had the right to take Ralph back and get any money back she had paid. That would probably have been the death sentence for Ralph. I wonder how many cats like Ralph are simply euthanised rather than treated? It would not surprise me if the general rule is to euthanise rather than spend $800 on veterinary surgery.

This little story simply highlights some of the problems in the world of rescue cats. It would have helped if Pam had her vet check Ralph before adopting him. Can a person who attends an animal rescue center request that the center allow her to have her vet check the health of a cat that she has picked out for adoption before adopting the cat? How would the center react to that? I am pretty sure that they would have then told Pam the truth about Ralph’s age and health.

How many people who adopt from cat rescue centers insist the cat has a health check before adopting? How many people do their own little health check before adopting? Some basic checks even by an person who is not formally trained can avoid a lot of potential problems.

The downside to rejecting a rescue cat at a rescue center on health grounds is that it may well be a death sentence as mentioned.

This story may well end up better for Ralph despite the lies and errors made.

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Rescue center left adopter with large veterinary bill — 19 Comments

  1. A great story of cat philanthropy. Spending 800 U.S $ for veterinary bills on a adopted shelter cat is unimaginable and the person would be considered stupid or filthily rich.Veterinary treatment is expensive in all Country’s when compared to the cost and living standards of that particular country.No wonder many pets are dumped at “Pet Shelters” or abandoned on streets.

    • I donated a little- don’thave much left – but I’ll be told how it went and sent a couple pics of Ralph after the op which I will share here – I’m sure we all wantto know what happens.

      • Marc it’s a wonder you ever have anything left for yourself! I’ve never known such a kind person.
        Cats Protection have every cat coming into their care vet checked, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped if not already done and also dental work if necessary before they are put up for adoption. But it all costs money, so although it’s not right to adopt a cat out like Ralph who needs treatment, it’s understandable a Shelter might try to cut costs that way.
        Pam is obviously a cat lover, I hope Ralph’s treatment goes well and he has a long and happy life with her.

        • I know – the money I gave to Marion is tiny if you consider expenses – its nothing – it will be gone in a week or two no doubt. I wish I had more money!
          I’ll update what happens with Ralph either here or in comments later when it happens.

          • Marc the money you gave to Marion was far from tiny, it was HUGE and I know she was genuinely surprised and grateful and will put every penny to good use for sure.
            I wish I had more money too, I wish I’d had a better paid job and some savings. I wish our little weekly flutter on the lotto would come up. I hate to hear of people who win saying they will buy a new car, designer clothes, go on holiday. All we would want would be for Babz to be able to retire and spend more time on Animal welfare like I can. Also we’d help all the charities, just like you Marc, giving makes us happy.
            We are working on filling Christmas boxes with cat food for Cats Protection and Kays Hill but now hear Ark on the Edge are really struggling too so we need to stretch to doing three.
            How I wish we could help ALL cats…..but dream on Ruth …

        • Poor little Ralph – I’m so glad he got a nice adopter – I hope this is a good thing for him. Mitsi essentially died because of teeth problems. Ralph must be in a ton of pain. I can’t wait til he feels better and comes out of his shell. He needs the teeth out as soon as poss.

        • Nevermind – I donated my every last penny (350 cad) and they are now at 840 – I get my pay on the first of the month and Ralph gets her teeth done on the second. Now they have the money they need so it should be ok.

            • This is the latest Marc. You are a great guy:

              “Ralph had surgery today! The vet removed four of her back teeth. Pam and Ralph just got home and Ralph is really dopey from the anesthetic still. She has to take antibiotics for two weeks and then hopefully her mouth will be all healed! Now we have to wait and make sure she is eating and drinking okay with less teeth. If she is, then she shouldn’t need to go back to the vet for a while. Fingers crossed! Thanks again everyone!?

              • I know – yay – fingers crossed Ralph blossoms into a young cat again. I had personal experience with the worst of what badteeth and gums will do to a cat. She might have a whole new life ahead of her feeling better. I suggested they keep the laftover money for folow ups.

                • What is particularly beautiful about Marc’s gift is that it is, to all intents and purposes, anonymous. The woman who cares for Ralph could have thanked Marc – not that he wants thanks – or made some remark about a gift that made the whole the thing possible. This is a gift from a complete stranger. It is the Good Samaritan in action.

          • Our wonderful kind generous Marc! I worry he leaves himself short. A strange comparison I know but our late mother would give her last penny away, just like Marc, I sometimes wonder if he’s another long lost brother?

  2. Find it so appalling that a rescue would deceive folks about an animal . It is hard enough to find loving homes for these homeless furries . This is another reason why it is so difficult . People are leary of the statements in the health of these poor babies! Cheers for Pam and her sister for forging ahead anyway,and Kudos once again to Marc for saving the day!!

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