Six years ago, Rose brought home a six-week old male kitten whom she named Chase, a name that perfectly fit his personality.
This his past summer, he suddenly refused to eat, drink or use his cat box. Rose noticed that Chase was spending a long time in the litter box. She took him to her local pet hospital where they diagnosed him with a urinary blockage. He was sedated, the blockage flushed out, a urinary catheter was installed and he was hospitalized for five days. He appeared to recover well, so the catheter was removed and he was sent home.
While this is the standard procedure and usually results in a good outcome, it didn’t work that way for Chase and the next day he couldn’t urinate again. Rose rushed him to the E.R. at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (SFVS) where she was given the choice of Chase receiving either further catheterizations with a good chance of reblockage, or having drastic surgery that would greatly reduce the probability of reblockage. Rose preferred the latter procedure but the costs for the surgery was over $5,000 and that was considerably more than she could afford.
Fortunately, the doctors at SFVS were able to combine several of their grants from San Francisco Aid for Animals reducing Chase’s bill by over $2,500. Chase had his surgery and has been a happy cat ever since.
In Rose’s own words: My husband and I would like to thank the folks at SFVS and SF Aid for Animals for their compassion and for their help in reducing Chase’s bill and saving our beloved cat’s life. In 2016, we were still managing the costs of our relocation, wedding, honeymoon, pregnancy and other accumulating costs and Chase’s needs were beyond our financial capabilities. I am happy to report that since his surgery he has had no incidents and is a joyful and loving cat.
Spotlight on Small Animals: Pocket Pets, Birds and Reptiles
With an estimated 78 million dogs and 86 million cats living in American households, our canine and feline companions clearly make popular pets – and for good reasons. Dogs can help us stay social and active, and the gentle purr of a lap cat does wonders to soothe an anxious mind.
However, if dogs and cats aren’t for you (maybe your lease prohibits them, or your busy schedule won’t allow for the time commitment), how about a smaller companion pet? “Pocket pets” and other small animals are little creatures with big personalities. Parakeets, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, or hamsters make wonderful pets – as long as we are prepared to learn about and meet their particular needs.
Did you know that many shelter and rescue groups, including SF Animal Care and Control as well as the San Francisco SPCA, have small animals available for adoption? These organizations can help you find the right pet for you and your family.
Did you know?
• Rabbits have a life expectancy of 9-10 years. Some have been known to live 16 or more years!
• Guinea pigs will learn to whistle (“wheek”) in response to the opening of refrigerator doors or rustling of plastic bags, where their food is most usually stored.
• The part above a parakeet’s beak is called a “cere.” You can learn the gender of a parakeet by the color of the cere. Once mature, a male’s cere is blue and a female’s cere is brown.
• The red-eared slider is the most popular pet turtle in the United States.
• Hamsters are “crepuscular”, which means they are most active during the twilight hours.
SPRING SAFETY TIPS
Plants: Lilies and other seasonal plants and flowers can be toxic. Lilies are especially dangerous to cats. Ingestion can cause kidney failure; be sure to keep your pets away from these pretty flowers.
Foxtails: Watch out for pesky foxtails, which can work their way into any part of your dog or cat. They cause irritation which can lead to serious infection and even death if left untreated.
Parasites: Keep pets properly guarded against ticks and fleas, which are known to hitch a ride on our furry friends if they aren’t protected. Talk to your veterinarian about prevention to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet.