Okay, THIS is a first-world problem.

(Unless the pet in question is a working/service animal, anyway.)

Pet ownership used to be so simple. Get its shots, get it a collar with a tag, feed it something it likes and that won’t kill it, go back for checkups. These things I am more than happy to do for my cats; these are the things I do for myself (except the collar).

But today on Facebook I see people talking about pet insurance.

Pet. Insurance.

When it’s a gamble as to whether actual humans have insurance in this country. Including, as we found out yesterday, my aunt Fran, who needs to start the disability lose-and-appeal process. Fucking broken system.

Look, I love my cats. I love them more than I’d probably love a little human in my charge. They’re easier to take care of, they don’t bring home germs, and they comfort me when I’m not well. There is, however, a long list of Things What I Must Pay For, and this year, “my own dental care” (not insurance. actual fees.) has topped the list. You know, so I don’t die of an abscess. There is car insurance coming up pretty soon. I let my AAA lapse when I realised there was no more financial aid coming in until fall–can’t afford it.

Somewhere in my priorities, between “a masseur called Lars” and “Brazilian waxing-regular!!!”, you will find “pet insurance”. Because the very first item on the list for 2012 is, you guessed it, my insurance. I have loved this year of grace on the Obama plan. It is running out. Why do you think I’m saving all that money? It ain’t for any fancy vacation. Because I haven’t been able to work this year, I will not qualify for Healthy NY, so I’d better hold my breath and hope I can get either Medicaid or Family Health Plus. On the plus side, hey, no tax forms to fill out next spring!

If, universe forbid, one of my darlings comes down with something so miserable it will bankrupt me, I will do for that cat what I would want done for me. I will let go. I am doing what I can in terms of prevention, but sometimes Nature throws something at you that’s kind of Her way of saying, “It’s time.” If I wouldn’t want to treat it, what makes you think I’d put smaller, more fragile creatures through the same?

Pet insurance. Well, if you have money to burn in this economy, go right ahead.

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