Melissa Dahl has a story that many of us cat owners may, sadly, be all too familiar with. We can often spend thousands looking after our feline friends, particularly as they get older or become unwell. Just one trip to the veterinarian can set us back hundreds of dollars and provide us with more questions than answers. With cats being adept at hiding their own pain – an evolutionary trait from their days in the wild – sometimes, we don’t even know there’s something wrong with our pet until it is too late. Luckily, there have been advances in the medical field, meaning we can diagnose our pets earlier than ever before, such as the Checkup Kit, which means owners don’t even need to step foot in the veterinary clinic. Melissa’s story is a heartbreakingly common one, but could that all be about to change?
Melissa and Kitty
In a profoundly moving personal essay in The Cut, Melissa talks about the day she found out her beloved cat Kitty had a terminal heart condition. For the next two and a half years, Melissa and Kitty attended bi-monthly visits to the veterinary cardiologist and countless other check-ups. Kitty had to take pills twice a day, too. The time and money spent on looking after Kitty were quickly racking up, but Melissa didn’t care. She knew she couldn’t say goodbye to the friend who had been such a big part of her life for ten years. Pets are like family, and we’d do anything to keep them with us for as long as possible, as Melissa knew all too well. However, was she doing the right thing by delaying the inevitable?
It’s only in the last couple of decades that huge advancements have been made in the animal medical field. It was only 16 years ago that the first MRI scanner was invented for pets. 11 years ago, stem-cell therapy was introduced for dogs with chronic illnesses. Science has come a long way and means we can keep our pets alive for longer, but Melissa isn’t sure whether spending thousands on her cat was the right thing to do. Of course, early diagnosis and intervention are definitely something to invest in, which is why products like the Checkup Kit have grown in popularity. If we can detect an issue early, then we’ll have a far greater chance of saving our pets and ensuring they live the rest of their days as healthy as can be. But what if the problem is already too far gone? Melissa knew that these bi-monthly visits to the veterinary cardiologist can’t have been pleasant for Kitty. Still, they were what was keeping her alive.
Taking a turn for the worse
Kitty’s illness got worse, and a few weeks after Melissa’s 30th birthday, she found her feline friend deteriorating quite severely. She rushed Kitty to the emergency vet, where they were offered to provide an oxygen chamber that may or may not have helped. If Melissa wanted to take Kitty home, however, there was a good chance she would pass away. All of a sudden, Melissa knew what she needed to do… She needed to learn to say goodbye. The constant trips to the veterinary clinic, the medication twice a day, the thousands in bills, and the discomfort for Kitty were all too much. She had done all she could, and she knew it was time to let go. She gave the on-duty vet the green light to put her beloved cat to sleep.
Looking back, Melissa realized that maybe she had been selfish in her desire to keep Kitty alive for as long as possible. If she had been able to talk to her cat, maybe Kitty would have told her that she would have preferred to pass away surrounded by her home comforts as opposed to the “cold and unfamiliar emergency room.” Kitty’s condition had progressed too far by the time she was diagnosed for much to be done other than just to prolong her life for as long as medically possible. When pets become like members of the family, it can be impossible for us to think about saying goodbye. However, sometimes that’s all we can do…
A lot has changed since Melissa’s story in 2015. It’s now easier than ever to detect common health issues in cats earlier, meaning that early intervention is possible. Kidney disease, diabetes, and urinary infections are just some examples of illnesses that can be caught early using products like the Checkup Kit. If we can catch them early, we can give our cats the best chance at life for longer… And isn’t that what we all want?