Rescue center left adopter with large veterinary bill
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:
- 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
- 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.