How much should you spend on caring for a pet?

My best friend’s cat passed away last week. Needless to say she was more than a little distraught, but then he wasn’t just her cat he was family. He was a companion, a confidant and a friend. She only found out he was ill about a month ago when she took him to the vets in Sussex and they found a lump in his stomach, she would have done anything and paid any amount of money to save him but unfortunately they had found it too late.

In the end the decision was out of my friend’s hands, but for a lot of people when their pets fall ill or are injured they are faced with a horrible choice. Obviously there is no such thing as NHS for pets, and for those who don’t have pet insurance it’s an extremely expensive business (my friend paid almost £90 for a blood test that didn’t even help to identify the problem). Of course most people would do anything to save their pets and money isn’t an issue when it comes to helping such an important member of the family.

And for those who can afford it there is no end of veterinary help available, from basic medicines and physiotherapy for pets to specific animal cardiology and ophthalmology facilities. If it’s possible for the illness to be treated it will be treated, and there is every chance that the pet will make a full recovery. But what about when a pet is suddenly injured or taken ill and their owner can’t afford to foot the (often massive) bill? It’s hardly fair that the life of one animal takes priority over another because of the size of their owners’ wallets.

One cat owner from Brighton took on this problem in a new way when his cat Mumble was seriously injured in the street and needed urgent treatment to survive. Rory O’Connor had no pet insurance, and Mumble’s treatment at a veterinary hospital in Sussex was estimated at around £1000, much more than he could afford, but he couldn’t bear to just watch her suffer. So in what he described as a ‘last ditch effort’ Rory decided to start a group on Facebook called ‘Save Mumble’, inviting all his friends to spread the word about Mumble’s plight and asking everyone to make donations of £1. At first he thought he’d have no chance of success but his desperate plea seemed to touch the hearts of thousands of facebook users. People on his friends list told all their friends about it, and within a couple of weeks he had raised enough money to pay the bill for Mumble’s treatment in full. She made a full and fast recovery, all thanks to the power of social networking!