In May of 2016, when he was 8 years old, Tomato suddenly became very ill. He had significant fever of 105.5 degrees (101.5 is normal for cats), as well as being dehydrated, lethargic and not eating. Since he had been a patient at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga for his previous routine veterinary care, his owner took him there seeking help despite knowing that his treatments would likely exceed what she would be able to pay.
Because she is self-employed as a professional gardener, Tomato’s owner’s work is seasonal and depends upon her good health and physical capabilities. She had recently been ill herself, had missed a couple of weeks of work and was recovering from surgery. She was also just coming off a slow winter season in her business which further reduced her income. When we told her about the Alice Fund, she was very happy to learn that she might get some financial assistance to help with Tomato’s medical care as she was very worried about him. She also offered to donate back to the Fund when her financial circumstances improved.
In order to keep costs as low as possible, the veterinarian at the Cat Clinic treated Tomato as an out-patient. His owner brought him in for rechecks and fluid therapy every day or two and gave him his prescribed medications and encouraged him to eat at home. She was also able to use some medications that had been donated by other caring clients whose cats no longer needed them. All in all, Tomato was sick for a little over a week, but when his condition began to gradually improve from day to day, we knew that he had a good chance at full recovery.
Since the Cat Clinic is one of several area veterinary offices that offers discounts to clients who have been approved for help from the Alice Fund, Tomato's medical bill was reduced from just over $400 to a little over $200. An anonymous donor who learned of this owner’s need contributed $100, and the Alice Fund covered the rest. A couple of months later, we checked in on Tomato, and he was doing great. His owner, fulfilling her voluntary commitment to contribute back to the Alice Fund, made a donation of $250 so that the Fund can continue to help provide medical care for other cats in need.