Here is Barley’s story, from Gina:
I met Barley at a cat adoption fair about 16 years ago. He was called Champagne and I fell in love with him instantly. As soon as he got to my house, he was so panicked he managed to get into the fireplace and tried to climb up the flue. He turned his cream-colored coat grey with soot. My vet came over and helped me bathe him which was a rude introduction as far as Barley was concerned. After he was dried off, he walked around like he owned the place except that he didn't. Bella let him know in no uncertain terms who was boss. Barley really wanted a friend though. After fostering Pinkie and his littermate, it was clear that Barley and Pinkie were best friends forever so I adopted Pinkie too.
Palo Alto Humane told me Barley had an eye infection but it never cleared so I took him to an eye specialist. He had a blocked tear duct that they said would be best not corrected surgically. Little did I know this was minor compared to what awaited us in the next few years. Barley suffered a collapsed lung out of the blue. He had fluid drained several times but ultimately needed a complex, long surgery to remove his lung lobe and for a "window" to be created around his enlarged heart. He was so brave and is such a happy boy that the only time he ever nipped at me was when I had to hand him back to the veterinary nursing team while he was there recovering. He didn't want me to leave him. He pulled through with flying colors and enjoyed good health for quite a while until he needed radioactive iodine for hyperthyroid. He responded well to that.
Recently, he has been jumping away from his food due to tooth pain and has lost about a pound and a half in the past few months. He needs extensive dental work but because he has a heart murmur, is missing a lung lobe, has kidney disease (normal in senior cats) and is so old, he must see the only board-certified dental specialist in the area. The estimate I received from Animal Dental Clinic in San Carlos--before the cost of extractions--is $1,900-$2,400. He will likely need his incisors and several back teeth on the side removed (possibly more once they do X-rays). I wouldn't be putting my old guy through something he didn't absolutely need. We had veterinary insurance but dropped it due to doubling premiums of $7000 for the year. They didn't cover dental work in any case. I have 4 cats, all seniors and all special needs including one with diabetes. I am not sure how much time I have left with Barley but he is such a loving happy guy, whatever time we do have, I owe it to him to do my best to make sure that time isn't with him in pain that could be easily remedied. Thank you for your help!
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