The Tale of The $8,000 Cats….

Notice anything missing in this picture? Yessss...thatsh would be the teetsh

Reading the title you might think this is going to be the story of bionic cats. Perhaps cats with super-silicon-titanium-unobtanium implants and electronic ultra-feed quantum powers.  Add-in some ESP for good measure.  Sadly, as cool as that would be, this is not one of those stories. It is in fact the simple tale of two almost TOOTHLESS cats and how we managed to dish out $8,000 to get them that way.

Oh, and the joy of owing pets too…

It's a good thing they're so darn lovable

The tale all starts with a degenerative and completely incurable tooth disease. They’re called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions  (FORLs, or resorptive lesions for short). Basically it’s a condition where the cat’s own body attacks its’ own teeth and starts dissolving them, creating painful lesions in the mouth along the way. The fun thing about this disease is that despite almost 20 years of research on it, it’s not known what causes it and there is no known cure or preventative. The ONLY thing you can do is home tooth-brushing to help with basic oral health and extraction when the resorption gets too advanced.

Believe me, I’ve looked into it. I’ve read copious quantities of on-line research, contacted vet universities, even went for a several-hour sit-down with the guy who literally “wrote the book” on FORLs over in FL last year. All you can do is pull the darn teeth.

And therein comes the moolah and the pain (for the pet parents that is). A single tooth extraction can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000.
I’ll allow you a moment while you consider how MANY teeth are in a cat
and another moment while you all grasp your chests and gasp for air
Oh and BOTH our cats have the disease

Yup, a cat's life is a good life...

It’s painful isn’t it? This has gone on for years now and needless to say we save up money all year just for one single tooth extraction event…

Rand is at the vet dentist today (Taggart’s turn is tomorrow) and I have to admit I’m nervous. I always get jittery when our pets have to go under even though I know they’re in the best of hands. Taggart’s already gotten rid of most of her teeth, but I estimate Rand’s got at least another good few thou $$ worth left in her mouth. It’s a good thing I love the furry bums so much, otherwise it’d be a hard bargain to accept. They DO say pets are worth their weight in gold, don’t they? :)

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  1. says

    Wow, and I thought we spent a lot on Oreo’s 4 bladder stone surgeries.(He was worth every penny, though, and we wish he was still around so we could spend more on him.) I have heard of the tooth disease but thankfully in our years of having numerous cats that is one disease we’ve avoided. By the way, our other cat Quincy had his teeth cleaned and two extractions in Truth or Consequences, NM for under $200.a couple years ago.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sorry to hear about the bladder surgeries. That must have been hard. Our one cat (Rand) has suffered from cystitis for many years which prompted me to join and eventually lead the yahoo FLUTD group (which I’ve done for 3 years now), so I’m very familiar with bladder problems. They’re very stressful and difficult things to deal with!

      The price you got on cleaning and extractions in NM is a deal!! Do let me know who you used there!

    • libertatemamo says

      They’re sisters (from the same litter) so unfortunately it’s not that unusual :( Turns out no extractions needed for Rand this year (yeah!) so only Taggart to go now. We love them both dearly! Nina

  2. says

    Our pets are certainly priceless and your blog post demonstrates that! A brilliant friend of mine consoled me after the loss of my 12 y/o black lab by telling me, ‘the reason it hurts so much is because we understand that they depend so completely upon us, and we feel like we have let them down when they leave us..’ Your pets are certainly fortunate to belong to such a loving family. I hope you all enjoy many more happy days together!

    • libertatemamo says

      What a beautiful sentiment and I totally agree. They love us unconditionally, these furry lovlies, and we do so feel responsible for that love. Nina

  3. says

    Jim and Gayle, I’d mortgage everything I have for Jack if I had to (and last year was a number I won’t even begin to state) but he’s worth it. Fur kids are family (to some of us) and when quality of life is still preserved, there’s only one answer if I can afford it. On the other hand, I believe that I carry the responsibility to lead my pups to a peaceful end when I know their quality of life is going to decline. Just my opinion.

    I sympathize with people who have pets that they love, but don’t have the money to spend thousands to save a pet. It must be heart breaking, and one reason I would never own another dog aside from the fact that I’d be afraid they’d outlive me.

    On a lighter note, I laugh when I think in terms like that. I had to replace my HVAC last year and the salesman was trying to tell me about a great system that would last me 30-35 years. My response was, “Are you paying any attention to the person you’re trying to sell to. I don’t think I’ll give two hoots whether it will work 30 years from now.” LOL

    • libertatemamo says

      I totally agree. Our pets are worth EVERY penny we spend in them! I’m so happy Jack got through everything and is doing well now. I know it was a tough time for you.

  4. says

    Oh for heaven’s sake. I have never heard of this before. I am with Gayle. Bella has had 2 bladder stone surgeries, and we said enough is enough. We hope she doesn’t ever get another one. We love her but…
    I just can’t image having to have the babies put to sleep all those times. How horrid for you two. Hope Rand does well today.

    • libertatemamo says

      Ah yes, it’s never an easy choice. You know the one saving grace with our cats’ issues is that once the teeth are extracted the issue is gone…forever. It’s the pain of getting those extractions done that’s the hard part.
      What can I say. I love the little bums :)

  5. says

    Wow Nina, I have never heard of that. Of course, most people never heard of a dogs stomach flipping over until it happened to us years ago! Its always something, but from another rv’er traveling with 8 paws, I understand the need to take care of them. Best wishes for a healthy recovery to both Rand and your wallet.

    • libertatemamo says

      I happen to know about the stomach flipping (from having worked in dog rescue for many years), but I totally know what you mean. Sorry your baby had that happen! It’s really frightening!

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s most definitely a compromise. Of course I keep telling hubby that it’s still cheaper than having kids :)

  6. says

    Here’s hoping your furry kids are ok! Jasmine is nearly toothless and I remember the pain in the pocketbook for that. We also just shelled out a bunch ‘o cash for Samantha’s bilateral FHO hip surgery. All well worth the cost to keep the kids alive & shedding!

    • libertatemamo says

      Awww…poor Samantha. Just read your blog post about staying up all night with her. Here’s sending you lots of good healing {{vibes}} for the beautiful girl!

  7. says

    What wonderful pet parents you are. My husband and I adore cats, we have thankfully (knock on wood) had a cat with this disease. But we have had cats with numerous other medical issues that we have had to endure. Take care, and I am sure they are so glad to have great pet parents like you.

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks Maribeth. We’ve definitely run the gamut here on cat issues (one of our cats is early-stage CRF too), but they’re still worth it. We do love them so!

  8. says

    Well anybody who loves their cats that much is okay in my book. We recently spent about that amount on a kitty trying to keep her alive. Sadly it didn’t, but we would do it again if we had to. They sure worm their way into your hearts.

    • libertatemamo says

      So very sorry for your loss!! And I totally agree…they sure do worm their way into our hearts.


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