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The Cat Conundrum

Posted by Kristen on August 20, 2009 at 6:16 AM in Pets
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eatwater.jpgEthan has decided he wants a cat. I have absolutely no idea where this brilliant idea originated but I began to push back as soon as I first heard it. It is complicated enough to find someone to watch your hundred pound dog when you go away for the night without having to ask someone to clean out a litter box too.

Okay, I'm not a cat person. I'll admit it. I'm not a pet person in general. This is a great disappointment to my in-laws and apparently a greater disappointment to my small children. My love affair with the dog ended the second time he ate the rib eyes off the counter. Grant it, if it happened twice then clearly it was my fault. It did not make the cereal dinner in lieu of steak for dinner go down any better on either of those nights. Add a cat to that? I am certain that if we got a cat, it would be feisty and wouldn't behave. I hardly think that I need another surly, misbehaving entity in my house.

Ethan doesn't care about my position. I had to go the Mom-route.

Ethan: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I want to get a cat.
K: Ethan, we can't get a cat.
Ethan: But I WANNNNNT one.
K: We aren't getting a cat. You barely take care of the dog.
Ethan: Mom. I feed Zinni every day.

It's true. He actually is very good about taking care of the dog. Perhaps even better than the rest of us.

Derek: Ethan, you can get a cat when you get older and can be responsible for it.
Ethan: When will I be old enough?
Derek: When you are ten (clearly picking a random number out of his head).
Ethan: TEN???? No. I can take care of a cat now.
Derek: When do you think you should be allowed?
Ethan: When I'm six.
Derek: We will discuss it when you are six.
Ethan: Dad. Six is a long time away. How will I remember to ask when I am six?
Derek: You are very smart. And you have a very good memory.
Ethan: I know how I can remember, Dad. If we talk about it EVERY DAY, then I'll remember when I turn six.

I'm thinking it might be less painful to get a cat now than to discuss it every day for the next year and a half. What do you think?


Anissa writes...

First I must start by saying I am very much a cat person. Currently I have 2 (they are better in multiples as they entertain themselves better and two aren't much more work than 1). That said, they still require some work; feeding, brushing, and litter box cleaning. Still I find them much less work than dogs as you can go away for a day or two and as long as you leave them food and water (and a clean litter box), they are fine (no walks or arrangements needed).
My advice, is to bring him to a friend's house (who has a cat) and let him try to clean a litter box, and then see if he still "wants" a cat sounds like he might be up for it.

Oh and if you do decide to get one. Adopt an older one from the shelter (at least 3 years old) as 1 they are cheaper, 2 they are less "adoptable" and 3 they are litter box trained, and sometimes even declawed, so less hassel and require less adapting on your end.

Amber writes...

I think that if he actually remembers to talk about it every day for a year and a half, you'll have no choice. No choice at all.

Judy writes...

I agree 100% with Anissa but want to add that, if you don't want to "burden" a friend with litter box duty when you go away (no big deal if you have any cat person friends,) what about those in-laws who are disappointed that you aren't a pet person? Heh, heh, heh. . .

Devra writes...

Get the kitteh! Now that they have "clumping" litter, cleaning the box is really easy for a kid to do.

Our sons wanted a pet. My husband was dead set against it. Why? I have no idea, considering HE had pets growing up. I finally confronted him and asked, "Dude (okay, I really called him by his name, I'm embellishing for drama)why are you denying the kids what you yourself had as a child? Explain this to me." And he couldn't.

So the kids and I began our search of the shelters. I was looking for a 4-6 month old kitten who liked to be held. We found one, but it was at a shelter that had more rigorous adoption protocals than some HUMAN adoption agencies. And they wanted to meet EVERYONE who would be living in our house with the kitten. This mean they wanted my husband to come meet the kitten and their staff too. Frankly I knew my husband, who was less than thrilled about the idea of having a cat, was NOT going to leave his office to come have a tete a tete with the shelter staff and a kitten. No way. But when my younger so heard the requirement, he said loudly, "We aren't going to get Daddy to come. He doesn't want a cat."
Great. Love the honesty he has, but it wasn't the right timing for it if we wanted to have that cat.
Back to the car. Driving home. Catless. I know I'll be calling the shelter and telling them my husband has a work conflict, but will be fine with the cat. In fact, it will probably be therapeutic for him to have a cat. Then I will back it up with my Master's Thesis on Animal Faciliated therapy and win over the shelter. Cat will be outs, and all will be right with the world.

Only my younger son is marinating on a different solution. And we have this conversation:

"Mom? Can we have Coach Dan(older son's soccer team coach) come to the shelter with us and pretend to be Dad?"

I was simultaneously horrified and proud of him for figuring out systems can be manipulated.

We did it my way, the cat is fabulous and my husband? He called us from his office the first day the cat was home with us just to "check on him." Yeah, he's come around. Totally.

Beanie writes...

Um, you kind of have a lot going on, adding a kitty to the mix might be a bit much.

Also important to remember: dogs love litter critters.

Carol writes...

Cats are so much easier than dogs. I am a cat person in part because I'm too lazy to take care of a dog. Cats take care of themselves for the most part. I say do it.

Linda writes...

I don't blame you- I'm not a cat person either. Make no mistake, we have pets- 2 dachshunds, 7 Khaki Campbell Ducks (yes, 7 ducks!) outside, 2 Russian tortoises (outside until winter), and a lizard. We have 2 kids (11 & 7) and while I agree that pets build responsibility, I do end up helping quite a bit (although the dogs & ducks are my pets). Vacation time will be tricky since getting the ducks, but thankfully we have friends & neighbors that we swap pet-sitting so we don't use a kennel. Hubby had 2 cats when we met and when they sprayed pee all over the future family room of our newly built house- they were shown the door and went to live with a cat-friendly neighbor. I HATE the litter box smell and the thought of them digging around in it - YUCK!

Our youngest inquired about about getting a cat and was told firmly, that a cat WILL NOT be an option but they are welcome to enjoy my sister's or friend's cats. It's not been a issue since.

Sarah writes...

My mom won't allow cats (see above).

Maybe he could have an invisible cat. They are easy to care for. I'm 7 years old and I have lots of them. The food is free and there is no kitty litter to change. Good luck!

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