How much would you pay to…

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Keep your pet alive?

The news today in the Chicagoland area tells us that a family in the burbs paid $14,000 for a kidney transplant for their cat. They adopted a cat, it shared with their ailing cat, and now both are doing fine.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Barb

    I hope they were over-the-top rich–
    this sort of thing always makes me shake my head in wonder about how much people put into their pets. I have 3 cats currently and I spend what it takes to keep them in shots, food, flea stuff, etc. (seems like a lot to me). But that’s the end of–if they become terminally ill, I’ll pay for the euthanasia.

  • lynn

    to each there own.i feel we do what we do because we all are so very differnt inside. and we accept and repect others. i myself love my cat
    and if i could fix him i would

  • Kenton

    I had a boss once advise me to have an answer to this very question before you’re ever faced with a decision like that.
    I always thought it was good advice, even though… right now… I… uh… don’t… really… *have* an answer to that question.

  • Cynthia

    The love and life of your pet should be priceless, as the Lord’s is to us. Meaning that there should be no limit as long as your pets life can be saved.

  • Barb

    I also love my cats

  • Georges Boujakly

    I wonder if the people who spent that much money on their cat struggled with their decision. Personally, though I lack no love of animals, would find it ethically difficult to pay this kind of money on a pet.

  • http://missional.ca Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    This is too much. As an animal person, I understand the impulse to sacrifice a great deal for my pet. That being said, this not only demonstrates an affluence that has dangerously undermined peoples sense of values, but it shows our inability as a culture to deal with death and loss. Surrounded by the poverty in my own neighbourhood and seeing it in our work around the world, that much on a cat is offensive.

  • John

    Have some friends, both PhD’s in their respective disciplines, who spent over $8k in medical bills for their cat. I almost killed our cat a few years ago by accidentally giving it the dog’s flea drops. That fiasco totaled over $1k in vet fees, and it happened so fast that we really didn’t have time to think about the costs. This is one of those questions each person has to wrestle with themselves – not sure there is a “right” answer.

  • Jordan

    I had a Collared Lizard growing up. In 8th grade he stopped eating and obviously got really skinny. We finally found a vet (in Anchorage Alaska!) that would check him out. They put him on an IV for a few days but he eventually died. They then did an autopsy and found out that he had some sort of intestinal blockage. To this day I have no idea how much my parents shelled out for him. Family friends, knowing that we would do just about anything to save our pets, often say “if reincarnation is real then I want to come back as your pet!”

  • Brian in NZ

    We have had two of our dogs put down, one due to age related illness and another due to debilitating genetic problems. Recently our cat needed vet treatment. Each time the question is asked – what is our limit? We come up with a number and if the expected bill will exceed this amount then its the needle. I love my Labrador, who is lying by my feet while I write this, but if he gets sick or injured and needs thousands of $$ for treatment, then he will also be put down, tough as it might be at the time. At the end of the day, our pets are only animals. I don’t loose sight of that fact.
    Jamie (#7), I agree with your comment about the difficulty our Western culture has with death.

  • Peggy

    Contrary to the popular saying, pets are NOT people too! I’m with Jamie (#7) and Brian (#10) and agree that death is something that too few are prepared for — with their pets or with themselves and their loved ones.
    Personally, I believe that animals who are attached to their humans will do everything they can to hang on for their humans’ affection. But when an animal, who depends on their human to do what is best for them, is suffering — and surgery and recovery are included — frequently it is NOT the loving thing to do for the animal to subject them to extensive interventions or a life of suffering. It is done for the sake of the human who cannot deal with the impending loss of the animal.
    Everyone does, however, have to come to grips (or not) with this whole issue individually … especially when considering stewardship of God’s resources entrusted to our care.

  • http://www.rawandrelevant.blogspot.com Jeremy White

    My wife is allergic to the furry little things, so YIPPPPEEEE! I’ll never have to deal with this one. But in all seriousness, many people are extremely attached to pets and I see them as a blessing from God. However, 14 GRAND might be a little overboard to save the feline. The ethical questions related to this are many, but assuming the cat-owner was a disciple of Jesus, I would wonder if they could truly afford to do such a thing. I don’t mean simply “afford” as in “yeh, we have a ton of money in the bank” – but rather, is this act of feline rescue appropriately proportionate to other acts of mercy these folks might engage in? For example, do they give as generously to efforts and causes that advance God’s kingdom? Do they contribute sacrificially to the needs of fellow humans who may be dying of AIDS, starvation or war?
    I don’t want to judge this family based solely on a monetary figure. For all I know, they may be multi-millionaires whose spending $14K to save a cat is no more proportionately wasteful than me as a pastor in middle-class America spending $4 on a Latte at Peet’s. Both could be considered wasteful related to the context.

  • Maria

    Our ethics are twisted. It costs $10 to save a life from malaria (http://www.nothingbutnets.net/) but instead we spend $14,000 on cats. I had a cat growing up and loved her and felt responsible for caring for her, but we should not spend tons of money keeping sick animals alive when we could spend so little preventing humans from dying.

  • http://www.valleychurch.com Kevin Anderson

    It is hard to imagine paying fourteen thousand dollars for a kidney transplant for my cat, yet I do not think that it is my place to judge what other people spend their money on. I am reminded of the lessons in the popular video series by Pastor Rob Bell, Nooma. In the video Rich, Bell gives several examples and verses about helping those less fortunate given what you have to provide. (http://www.stmartins.co.za/documents/nooma/Rich.pdf) In the past two years both of my cats have had some serious medical issues that required overnight observation and intensive care. In the end I think this issue is best left up to the individual and God.


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