Author Topic: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance  (Read 10237 times)

BlueHouse

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #50 on: July 28, 2016, 03:54:57 PM »
I just read the MMM article about not having a dog, and I totally disagreed with it!
A dog is not in the category of careless expenses like ordering take-out when you could make the same food for less, or taking Uber instead of walking.
A dog is more in the category of hobbies (voluntary activities that bring satisfaction/fulfillment) or family (love of a companion who is bonded to you and lives with you).
I'm new to the money-mustache thing, but I thought the point was to avoid frittering your life away by saving more and focusing on the things that truly add joy to your life.  For me, my happy, funny little dog is one of those things.

Totally agree.  But how many people get a dog "for the kids" and never train it or house-train it and 6 months later the dog is at the pound? Or hit by a car because they let it run loose?  They had the dog for all the wrong reasons (just like people buy cars and trucks and houses and go clubbing for all the wrong reasons).   MMM's post should at least make people think about whether they really want a dog, or it is just something they think they should have.
My niece, but she got it for herself.  Never trained.  rarely walked.  After 6 months, she left it with her parents.  My brother and I got into a big argument about it when she first got the dogs.  I said it was irresponsible because she couldn't even afford her own rent and my brother and his wife were subsidizing her living expenses.  He said he thought it was one of the most responsible things he could think of for a young adult.  6 months later, he was left with it in his house and he refused to walk it.  9 months after that and she just had a baby.  Not married.   Doesn't want to finish training for the vocation of her choice.  Very responsible.  My brother barely speaks to me because I was right.  I would never say so, but I know that's why he won't speak with me now.  I learned my lesson and will only be supportive of dumb-ass family members from now on.

Just wait, 6 months from now your niece will be at your brother's door dropping off her baby. Then he'll really be pissed at you!
Well, I don't think it will take that long to tell the truth!  They have been staying in the BabyDaddy's (I hate that term!) mother's home, but that may not last long.  I suppose I should start a betting pool now to see how long it will take. 
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marble_faun

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2016, 11:03:48 AM »
I just read the MMM article about not having a dog, and I totally disagreed with it!
A dog is not in the category of careless expenses like ordering take-out when you could make the same food for less, or taking Uber instead of walking.
A dog is more in the category of hobbies (voluntary activities that bring satisfaction/fulfillment) or family (love of a companion who is bonded to you and lives with you).
I'm new to the money-mustache thing, but I thought the point was to avoid frittering your life away by saving more and focusing on the things that truly add joy to your life.  For me, my happy, funny little dog is one of those things.

Totally agree.  But how many people get a dog "for the kids" and never train it or house-train it and 6 months later the dog is at the pound? Or hit by a car because they let it run loose?  They had the dog for all the wrong reasons (just like people buy cars and trucks and houses and go clubbing for all the wrong reasons).   MMM's post should at least make people think about whether they really want a dog, or it is just something they think they should have.
My niece, but she got it for herself.  Never trained.  rarely walked.  After 6 months, she left it with her parents.  My brother and I got into a big argument about it when she first got the dogs.  I said it was irresponsible because she couldn't even afford her own rent and my brother and his wife were subsidizing her living expenses.  He said he thought it was one of the most responsible things he could think of for a young adult.  6 months later, he was left with it in his house and he refused to walk it.  9 months after that and she just had a baby.  Not married.   Doesn't want to finish training for the vocation of her choice.  Very responsible.  My brother barely speaks to me because I was right.  I would never say so, but I know that's why he won't speak with me now.  I learned my lesson and will only be supportive of dumb-ass family members from now on.

Well, I agree with this -- getting a dog when you don't have the time, money, or desire to care for it is just wrong.  Dog-training is an activity (to me, a fun one) that you need to learn about and practice.  I'd advise people to try fostering dogs from the shelter for a little while.  You can get a sense of what dog ownership will mean before committing.
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Cassie

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2016, 11:45:45 AM »
Shane: I think I need to avoid these animal threads because there is always some moron that says" pets are disposable and I don't spend a dime on them. I just shoot them when they need medical care and move on to the next one. " Now I don't think people need to spend 10k on  cancer treatment for their pets but refusing to spend any $ at all is irresponsible and these type of people should not own pets because they don't value them.  No pets are not people but there is a big difference between just putting the dog to sleep for 35 when you have to spend a dime versus treating things that of course are part of responsible pet ownership.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2016, 09:49:21 PM »
Shane: I think I need to avoid these animal threads because there is always some moron that says" pets are disposable and I don't spend a dime on them. I just shoot them when they need medical care and move on to the next one. " Now I don't think people need to spend 10k on  cancer treatment for their pets but refusing to spend any $ at all is irresponsible and these type of people should not own pets because they don't value them.  No pets are not people but there is a big difference between just putting the dog to sleep for 35 when you have to spend a dime versus treating things that of course are part of responsible pet ownership.

Really, because I disagree with you that makes me a moron? I have just as much right to express my view point as you do, Cassie. Just because we disagree, doesn't mean it's okay to call me names. :)

As I've said before, there are many, many healthy dogs and cats that are killed each day because there aren't enough people willing to adopt them. Propping up sickly, older animals by spending thousands of dollars on them is a waste of money, IMO, and it ensures that totally healthy animals end up dead.

It makes sense to me to pay for easily fixable things like a broken leg or an injury, but spending money to treat an older dog that's sick with some sort of chronic illness, that we would probably choose to treat in a human, is a big waste of money, IMO. I'd rather adopt a healthy, younger animal.

You're welcome to spend as much of your money on your animals as you like, but that doesn't mean that people like me who choose to put a bullet in the back of our dog's head when he gets old and sick are wrong. It's just a different view point. I think my way is more humane. Obviously, you think otherwise, which is fine with me.

totoro

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2016, 02:12:31 AM »
That is a false dichotomy.  Taking care of your older pets with illnesses doesn't mean a healthy animal dies as a result.  I won't get another dog once ours is gone and I'm not responsible for adopting more pets from shelters just because I happen to be a pet owner. I also don't believe the life of a young healthy dog I have not adopted is worth more than an older dog with manageable health issues who is reliant on me for care.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2016, 10:31:01 AM »
It's hard for me to understand how people who claim to love animals so much can rationalize spending thousands of dollars on a particular sickly, old pet when the same amount of money could make the lives of dozens or maybe even hundreds or thousands of healthy animals better. It seems pretty selfish. You don't necessarily need to adopt a pet yourself to make a difference.

As has been mentioned above in the thread, our society tolerates millions of animals being tortured in CAFOs, each year, just so we can buy cheap meat at Foodland and Costco. People balk at paying a few bucks more for their steaks or pork chops, but yet on the other hand they're willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on kidney dialysis or an organ transplant for a fricking dog...

My argument is that our society's priorities are warped. People who really love animals and think they're worthy of spending thousands of dollars/year on, should maximize the good that their money can do by being willing to spend a few bucks more at the grocery store when they buy meat, either that, or quit eating meat all together.

totoro

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2016, 10:44:51 AM »
Again, you are setting up false dichotomies. 

Unless you are directly making the lives of dozens or maybe even hundreds or thousands of healthy animals better by shooting your old dog, and you would not be making this difference otherwise, you are a hypocrite.  I would sincerely doubt that this plays out this way for you, but I could be wrong.  It rather comes across that you view spending money on treatment as a waste of your money because they aren't people and bullets are cheap.

I also don't doubt that other pet owners who are treating their pets are also supporting all sorts of do good type causes like donating or volunteering their time to shelters.   I do donate to the causes of my choice and have chose to earn money in a field that has social good as its goal - not impacted or curtailed by my care for my dog.  How you do good in the world is just not directly correlated to shooting your dog in the head when s/he gets sick.

People who really love their child would not forgo treatment for their child to help hundreds of other children because there is a circle of care/responsibility that is limited most of the time and enforced by the mutual emotional bond and sense of responsibility.  You don't feel like that about your own dog, but some people do.  I think that is fine.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2016, 11:28:30 AM »
You're right, it doesn't have to be either/or. It's possible that some people do both: spend tons of money on particular pets and also support the well-being of animals in general.

My impression from talking with people and reading this thread is that most people do not. They create in their minds what I believe is a false dichotomy between pets (i.e., cats, dogs and horses), are willing to spend thousands of dollars on those animals, but don't care or choose not to think about where their meat comes from and insist on getting the best "deals" at the supermarket, to the detriment of millions of farm animals.

My wife and I spent 15 years humanely raising animals for meat. Many people we knew who wouldn't flinch at spending $1K/year on meds for a sickly, old cat, were totally unwilling to spend even $1/lb more for meat that was raised without antibiotics and where the animals had access to fresh pasture, fresh air and sunshine, and could run around and had a good life. To be fair, many of our customers did both, as Totoro suggested. They paid a little extra to buy our meat and also spent a bunch on their pets.

I don't deny that there are a minority of people who really care about animals and not only spend money on their pets but also are willing to support humane methods of raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk. I just think those types of people are in the minority in our society. Most people coddle their pets but could care less or choose not to think about livestock. I feel like that's the real hypocrisy.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #58 on: August 01, 2016, 02:48:55 PM »
I don't deny that there are a minority of people who really care about animals and not only spend money on their pets but also are willing to support humane methods of raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk. I just think those types of people are in the minority in our society. Most people coddle their pets but could care less or choose not to think about livestock. I feel like that's the real hypocrisy.

I mean sure, I agree with you, but most people and societies also coddle and revere the heck out of humans while treating most animals and livestock like hell. In the end they are all animals.

You can't have ethics and self consistency if you dig too deep :)
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Cassie

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2016, 04:35:14 PM »
We have 4 old dogs due to getting involved with rescue work and will not replace all of them in the future. WE are in our early 60's so will have 1 small dog. We donate both time and $ to animal causes.  Thankfully our local HS is no-kill which means they have gotten very creative to keep the animals moving out since we take in 2 1/2 times the # of pets per capita then other towns.   They do not PTS healthy old dogs and they do surgery on dogs that need it.  They recently fixed the knee of an 14 yo smaller dog.  Some cats have stayed there 2 years until they get homes. They actually are a model for the whole nation and travel upon request to help others learn how to do this. Part of their success is having tons of volunteers, foster homes and partnering with other rescues to assist when they get full. So for me I would not do anything different if I didn't give my 4 old dogs meds.  sorry shane: I am sure you are not a moron but I really get disgusted with people not being willing to spend $ on their pets. No I don't think you need to do cancer treatment, etc  but 2 years ago our big dog at age 9 needed his anal gland removed and it cost 1k. 2 years later he still walks me everyday so I stay healthy and protects me. Yes he could have died a month later at that age but I would not have regretted giving him that chance.  Over the course of the 12 years we have had various rescue dogs we have spent a small fortune because vets are very expensive here and some of the dogs got serious ailments that required surgery when young.  I haven't kept track but I am sure I could have paid cash for a pretty expensive car in lieu of them. No regrets though. My point was if you don't want to spend $ on pets don't have them (within reason).

iris lily

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #60 on: August 01, 2016, 04:53:49 PM »
I think where pet insurance comes in handy is when you have a trouble breed. I have a French bulldog and we got pet insurance for him when he turned one. Not two years later he was in emergency care for a ruptured disc.  He needed an MRI, surgery, and recovery. Multiple days in a special hospital, visits to neurologist, etc. Insurance runs about $35/mo with 90% coverage and a $500 deductible. It saved me $5000 in this case. Yes, I could create a dog fund account and invest the money, but then it just becomes another thing you don't want to spend. The real benefit of the insurance is that it saved me from even having to think whether or not I should get the care he needed. I just said, "I have pet insurance, do the MRI now." The vet had given me the option to wait and see if it heals or do the MRI ($150 vs $1500). Poor dog had disc material pressing against the spinal cord and almost certainly would have been paralyzed. MRI found that, he had surgery immediately, and is good as new.

I know, I shouldn't have chose the breed in the first place. They are expensive. Hindsight is 20/20, but anyone that has owned a Frenchie knows why they are becoming so popular despite the cost.

haha, well, Ive had 8 Frenchies. On one day we got a batch of 6 of them, a kinda/sorta rescue situation.

No, they are not worth it. Two of mine were champions bred by the premier breeder of cream Frenchies in the Midwest. Doesnt matter,  they were still brainless and yappy. The mills and backyard breeeders will not be improving these traits.

ok i will admit I miss their cute buggy eyed smallness, but I went back to English bulldogs.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2016, 11:48:41 PM »
My point was if you don't want to spend $ on pets don't have them (within reason).

And my point is, your insistence that pet owners have some moral obligation to spend money on their pets, may scare some people away who would otherwise make great pet owners. Most of us aren't lucky enough to live in an area that has a no kill shelter. A woman I know who works for the Humane Society where we live told me they keep cats for only a couple of days before killing them if no one adopts them, because they have so, so many.

My argument is that it's perfectly okay to adopt a pet, love it, take good care of it, and NEVER take it to see a vet, EVER. It's okay to do that. Most pets would be fine without ever setting foot (paw?) into a vet's office. If a pet gets sick, many things can be treated by a halfway intelligent lay person. Paying for a vet is overkill for most things. A friend of mine recently took his kitten to a vet and paid $100 to have the vet tell him that the kitten had worms. I told him the same exact thing after taking one look at the kitten. But my friend didn't trust me. He insisted on paying a vet. It's like paying a mechanic to fix your car before you check to make sure there's fuel in the gas tank. It's a waste of money.

If one of our animals gets sick, which rarely happens, the first thing we do is nothing. Usually just waiting awhile causes whatever is wrong to get better on its own. If an animal remains sick for an unusually long time, then the second thing I do is search online and/or talk with experienced friends and neighbors who may have ideas on how to treat the animal. The absolutely last thing we do is take the animal to a vet to see if maybe there's something simple that we're missing. If the vet says, "Here, take this cream and rub it on the cat's ear and it'll get better in a week," and charges me $100 bucks, then, sure I'd pay it. But if the vet says, "Oh, in order to diagnose what's wrong I'm going to need to do a CT scan and blood tests and that's going to cost you $350," then I'd laugh in his face and walk out of the office with my animal and go home.

I realize you disagree with this, Cassie, and that's okay. :)

kite

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #62 on: August 02, 2016, 06:08:11 AM »
For some perspective on pets without vets.....

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/science/the-world-is-full-of-dogswithout-collars.html

We get our dog to a vet when needed.  But the reality that the overwhelming majority never see a vet is thought provoking. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #63 on: August 02, 2016, 09:11:15 AM »
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/science/the-world-is-full-of-dogswithout-collars.html
And most die as youngsters, since they can't compete with adults.  And get rabies.  And I am sure many many people on the planet rarely, if ever, see  a doctor.  What does this have to do with pets in MMM homes?

Pet owners need to spend some money on their pets, just like anything else.  Decent food, a leash and collar, dog tags, basic vaccinations, basic training classes.  I include basic training classes because puppy kindergarten helps socialize the puppy with other puppies as well as being supportive to the owners.  Other health costs as appropriate.  Shane might not approve, but I spent a chunk of money getting my retired show dog (pet first, show dog second) neutered at age 10 when he had a testicular tumour (good argument for getting males fixed, by the way).  Was 10 too old to be spending this money?  No, he lived to 15, 5 more good years.

The mustachian pet owner will question what should be spent on the dog/cat/other pet just like they question other purchases.  Does my dog really need a jeweled collar/cute bow in the fur/macho black leather studded collar/whatever?  Does my dog need a dog bed?  Some do, some don't, but think before buying (or make it yourself). Would my dog be happier if I spent some money going to agility/flyball/whatever classes? There is good exercise for the dog and for the owner, a fun activity together, and a bonding experience.  Or happier if I took it for long hikes?  Generally dogs really don't appreciate "stuff" (except toys, and then they like the toys that have their person playing with them), it is the owners who buy the extras.

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #64 on: August 02, 2016, 10:22:51 PM »
For some perspective on pets without vets.....

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/science/the-world-is-full-of-dogswithout-collars.html

We get our dog to a vet when needed.  But the reality that the overwhelming majority never see a vet is thought provoking.

Thanks for the link, Kite. The article was interesting. In the comments section, the vehemence with which American dog lovers attack people like the Coppingers, who have dedicated their lives to studying dogs, is pretty telling.

Cassie

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #65 on: August 03, 2016, 12:53:11 AM »
Shane, if I used your criteria all 4 of my dogs would be dead instead of living great lives. They are all between 11-19 which is amazing considering that the big guy will turn 11 soon.  Not only that but 2 of the 4 would not have lived past 1 year for one and age 3 for the other.  OUr community was a kill shelter until they took the bold move to declare no-kill and then worked to make it happen. If people cared in other parts of the country they could do the same. It is not because we take in less animals. On the contrary we take in 2 1/2 times the # of animals per capita then other places.  It takes dedicated people. Here they declared it no-kill and then came up with a plan.  They took people's input, asked for volunteers, $,  etc and made it happen.  The solution is not to think of pets as disposable but rather not people either but still valued family members that deserve our time, love, attention, medical care which guess what costs $!!  YOu want all the benefits of pet ownership for free and use this invalid argument to pretend you are taking the high road when really it all comes down to being too cheap to spend $ on your pets.  With your method the pet dies either way but might make it slightly longer until it gets sick and needs vet care.  Ugh!!!

Shane

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #66 on: August 03, 2016, 11:15:59 AM »
It doesn't bother me that you spend money on your pets. I'm not arguing that you shouldn't buy your animals diamond studded collars, pay for agility training or spend tens of thousands of dollars per year on vet bills for your beloved little doggies and kitties. That's all fine with me.

What is disturbing to me is the level of vitriol coming from your side, Cassie. My impression is that you, and probably others, believe that those of us who are unwilling to take out a second mortgage on our homes to get poor little Fido a kidney transplant are bad people, or evil or "morons," as you said earlier. What's up with all the anger and hatred? If you believe strongly in what you're doing, then by all means carry on, but please don't vilify the rest of us who choose not to anthropomorphize our animals.

Treating cats and dogs like they are, "members of the family," is a relatively recent phenomenon in our society. If you go back just a few generations in the U.S., I'm pretty sure that MOST people would've agreed with me. I'm not saying that our grandparents, great grandparents, etc., didn't love their pets. I'm sure many of them did. But, traditionally people kept pets for practical reasons: cats kept mice and rats away from their houses and out of the grain supply that they used to feed their livestock; Dogs were kept to scare away both 2 and 4 legged intruders, to herd and protect livestock, etc. When pets became old and sick and seemed like they were suffering too much, somebody would go out into the back yard, dig a hole, put a bullet in the back of Fido's head and bury him. The idea of taking Fido in to have a vet run a bunch of tests to try to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses like cancer or diabetes never occurred to most people until relatively recently.

It used to be most vets took care of livestock. Now, it's hard to find a large animal vet. They're all getting old and retiring. Younger vets mostly are opting to specialize in taking care of little doggies and kitties, because that's where the money is.

totoro

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #67 on: August 03, 2016, 05:33:15 PM »
Nobody is talking about diamond collars.  You have a tendency to make false analogies and speak without fact checking. 

Basically what your argument comes down to is that is ethical to shoot your pet rather than treat them beyond the basics.  I'd say you are operating within the law on that in most places.  Does not mean that others hold the same views or that most people would agree.   I see nothing wrong with spending money on a pet if you have it and that is what you want to do because it is important to you and you view your pet differently than a pig on a farm. 

This does not mean you are not frugal or charitable.  Doesn't mean you are buying diamond collars.  Doesn't mean some other animal is suffering as a result.  The decline in large animal vets is not all about house pets.  Eighty percent of vet school students are women - most with no interest in working with large animals.  Rural vet work is not attractive to many vets due to long hours and travel and lack of a rural background to start from - most large animal vets grew up on a farm.  There are many contributory factors at play and those choosing to work with small animals might never have chosen to work as a large animal vet in the first place.

Cassie

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #68 on: August 03, 2016, 06:37:32 PM »
Shane, I mentioned in a few of my posts that I don't expect people to do extraordinary things for a pet like you would a person. I don't do that. Recently a perfectly healthy 14 yo small dog came into our HS because the owners did not want to pay for a knee operation. It was not that they couldn't afford it-they didn't want to pay for one. So they did the operation and then adopted this dog out to a good home.  Our HS is taking better care of the animals then you and some others are.  What I am trying to convey is that you are getting the benefits of having an animal with out being willing to repay that love with some $.  As animals age they need meds. These are not that expensive but it sounds to me like you are not willing to spend $ on that either.

Lyssa

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Re: Dog Ownership is Optional - and so is pet insurance
« Reply #69 on: August 07, 2016, 02:05:14 PM »
With 6-7 figures in the bank I don't get how you could not spend a few 100 dollars on your pet if it could save ist life. I guess you need to view your cat/dog as completely interchangable with other cats/dogs to do that.

And to contrast euthanasia with kidney transplants is hyperbole. There is a lot of middle ground between those extremes!

That being said, I don't think its cruel to euthanize animals on such simple cost-benefit analysis. Properly done the animal will never know and go out peacefully and painlessly. I personally do not get it but I don't consider it cruel. Then again, why put so much emphasis on pets in shelter who (statistically) would be killed because of you not euthanizing your sick or old animal? They won't know and suffer either!

What I absolutely do not support is "letting nature take its course" e.g. in case of cancer. In most cases the animal would stop eating or otherwise show increasing discomfort so you can have it euthanized then. In rare cases it would go completely peacefully like (apparently) the above described cat. But in other (not common but also not so rare) cases the animal would eat and sleep normally and a few hours later die a cruel and agonizing death. In those cases it is going to be a question of pure dumb luck if somebody with a gun and a bullet could put a stop to it in time. If a tumor e.g. causes suffocation you probably would not make it to the vet for proper euthanasia. Cats being cats they would hide somewhere, not show accute pain and die a miserable death. I could not bear looking at a tumor every single day and contemplate whether a second one is in the process of tearing up blood vessels or some organ. To exclude that possibility one would need to run some diagnostics. That would cost money. Pay it or have the poor thing euthanized right away...