Hello. My name is Gary Butterfield, half of the Duckfeed.tv podcast network. My cat, Rors, is well known to many of you. I can't stop tweeting about him. He shows up in the background audio of our shows. I have him tattooed on my chest.
A couple of days ago, as I'm writing this (2/13), he started acting a little funny. Cats are weird, and I didn't think much of it, but soon he started having difficulty breathing. He was taking short, sharp breaths. I took him into the regular night vet.
That vet said they weren't sure what it was, but that he was running a fever, and that was likely the issue. There were more diagnostics they could do, but the fever could also break. They gave him some fluids, some other medication, and sent him on his way with the instructions that should he improve, I should see my regular vet in a week or so. If he got worse, I should go in the next day.
He got worse. That night, he slept in his carrier (of his own free will, very unusual), and you could hear his short, ragged breaths from across the room. I got up the next day, coaxed him out, and brought him to the vet. There, his condition worsened still, to where he was panting with his mouth open and his tongue hanging out. They put him in the oxygen kennel. His fever had gone down, so that wasn't it.
Eventually, I ended up at Dove Lewis, the 24 hour emergency animal hospital. Where we stand now, as of this writing, is that they are doing an echocardiogram to see if it is heart failure. That is the most likely thing, but not the only possibility.
I sat down this morning and wrote out a little possibilities chart. Right now, having decided to do the ECG, it could end up being his heart in very rough shape, which would mean time to let go. It could be moderate heart problems, which will be a tough decision because cats often relapse in that situation. My hope rests on the outside chance all this strum and drang is actually just asthma. I should have a better idea today.
I'll update this page as news develops, of course.
Unsurprisingly, this is expensive. The first day was $300 dollars, the 2nd was $1700 and today has been $1500, so far. Right now, because I had some saving set aside, I am able to pay for care. That won't be true forever, and the better the news is, the more expensive it is likely to be. I don't know what this will end up costing but I do know that I'm running up on my limted resources already.
In the spirit of disclosure, here are a couple of facts. One, there are no guaranteed outcomes for this. I don't know that Rors will pull through. I don't know that he won't end up in a situation where he could technically go home but the quality of life would make continuing on a questionable decision. As of last night, the vet said he could go at any time.
Second, I don't know how much money this will cost. I set the campaign at what it has cost so far, but every day in the ICU is very expensive. If he needs surgery, that is going to be staggeringly expensive. If he goes home, there's a good chance of ongoing costs such as medication, and boarding. With that in mind, I might increase my goal here as the situation warrants.
I'm also aware that in these situations, one has to be very cognizant of what they're doing for themselves and what they're doing for the animal. Rors hates the vet, he is very neurotic and just like this has been the worst couple of days of my life, I am sure they are the worst couple of days of his. I'm not going to prolong this indefinitely. I just need to know if there's a chance.
I didn't think it was possible to love someone this much or to hurt this bad. These last couple of days, I have barely slept and I have the same thoughts running through my mind, over and over. My entire body aches from crying. My guts are a mess. I can't stop picturing him rounding the corner to jump on the bed, or stop hearing him pad across the carpet.
Rors is the world to me. More than my best friend, he's literally my only remaining family. This morning, when I was deciding between letting go and holding on, the one thought I couldn't get out of my head was:
Rors has saved my life many times over.
As someone who battles depression, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, this is literally true. He has been the one constant in my life over the last 13 years. I have buried my head in his neck when I had my heart broken, when I broke the heart of another, when I lost family, when I lost friends. He was there when I wasn't sure if it was worth it.
Now, he's in an ICU oxygen kennel, surrounded by strangers and strange smells, eating strange foods, and alone. I need to see if there's a chance I can bring him home again.
I know that I ask for a lot. My job is supported by listeners, we do charity work a few times a year, and in 2015, I did a crowdfunding campaign to get me into stable housing. I don't know the answers to the moral or ethical arithmatic involved in running this campaign. But I feel like I have been blessed to have a support network of friends and fans. And if there's a time to lean on your blessings, this has to be it.
Note: If you would like something in exchange for your donation, you can buy my old game (should work with compatibility mode in windows), my ebook or audio book here:
You can purchase a physical version here, which will be on sale shortly:
And if it would be easier to donate directly, you can paypal me at [email redacted]
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