Little Hearts

Though my conversion to crazy cat lady was swift and complete, I did not take Sampson to the vet as soon as I got him, which was September 13, 2014. You would think my general state of anxiety would have imagined an illness for my favorite little buddy before a year had passed, but he was generally a healthy, if neurotic, cat. Vets are expensive. He's an indoor kitty, and a very well-nourished one at that. It never seemed like an urgent problem.

At Christmas, Samps had an embarrassing and ugly little cat...issue...and my sister and I decided he should go to the vet. He also has some smelly breath and needs to get his teeth cleaned. So I made an appointment earlier this month, which I thought would be quick and cost me a couple hundred dollars. During the exam, the vet kept asking questions like "Does Sampson ever run out of breath? Does Sampson ever open-mouth pant? Is Sampson more lethargic than he used to be?" This started to sound like, "Does Sampson seem like he's dying?" It turned out Sampson has a pretty bad heart murmur—on a 6-point scale, with 6 being the worst, he gave it a 4—and since we had no vet records we didn't know what caused it. The vet recommended a trip to a cat cardiologist for an echocardiogram. A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I loaded Samps into a cat carrier—a process that involves a lot of treats, trickery, crying, and scratching—and drove him out to Maryland. They put him under sedation and shaved off little patches of fur and determined he has a genetic heart defect, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which has no cure and lots of cats have but is usually undiagnosed until a cat drops dead one day. For the moment, his heart is actually pretty healthy, but I also don't want him just to drop dead soon. I have to take Samps back in a year.

Meanwhile, I am out $800 and Samps still has not had his teeth cleaned or shots re-upped, but he has had better health care than what is available to what I'm going to take a wild guess and say is the vast majority of humanity.