No price too high for animal lover with RM5,000 cat

Rahula Loh giving Koda, her RM5,000 Ragdoll cat, antibiotics at her home in Tanjong Bungah, Penang. Treatment costs for pets are rising, no thanks to pricier medication due to the weaker exchange rate and the ‘free-for-all’ veterinary care charges. And animal clinics are also said to be facing a shortage of veterinarians. - Photo: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: When Marshy the eight-year-old street cat had diarrhoea, her mistress Rahula Loh, 29, took her for a full check-up that cost about RM500.

The good news was that Marshy was physically healthy; with careful care, the ageing cat was defecating normally again.

“I saved her from the streets when she was five days old. She grew into a beautiful cat. There is nothing we will not do to keep all our cats healthy,” said Loh, who is a home-maker with five cats.

Loh said she took her cats to the vet four to five times a year.

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Oftentimes, the visits are for symptoms like flu or diarrhoea, aside from the usual vaccination shots.

“It is not a waste of money. Our cats are like our children and frankly, it is still a lot cheaper than human healthcare,” she said.

She admitted, though, that pet healthcare in Penang was more economical than in the Klang Valley.

Loh has a pedigree cat breed called a Ragdoll, which she bought for about RM5,000.

ALSO READ: Pet care can go up to thousands of ringgit

Ragdoll cats are docile and have a tendency to go limp when anyone picks them up, making them perfect as “cuddly cats”.

Loh recently spent about RM200 to neuter her Ragdoll cat called Koda and she knows that in the Klang Valley, neutering a tomcat would cost over RM300.

“There is such a thing as pet medical insurance. For cats, it will be about RM300 a month each. Since my husband and I have five cats, the price can be a bit stiff so we did not opt for it.

“I have friends with cat medical insurance. When you go to the vet, you pay first and then you claim from the insurance companies. But there was so much hassle with paperwork that my friends gave up on the insurance,” she said.

That is not the end of it for Loh because she has a rare red-footed tortoise named Truffles that she bought for RM650 and it developed a respiratory infection some time ago.

“We called so many vets and only one was willing to treat our tortoise,” she said, adding that the treatment cost was about RM100.

Loh counts herself lucky so far because she has a friend with a dog that suffered from an auto-immune disease.

Every one or two months, the dog had to go for an injection that cost RM500.

Another friend’s cat is suffering from diaphragmatic hernia, and the surgery alone had cost RM4,000, not including the cost of recuperation.

“We will never put our pets to sleep as long as there is treatment to save them. They are a part of our family,” Loh asserted.

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