The kitten...

poppingraysMay 19, 2009

I'm getting my lunch ready this morning for work and I find a baggie of whitish powder on top of the microwave with "feeding instructions" written on it. I ask SD-18 what it is, and she replies, "oh, it's kitten formula". I asked "for what?". SD replies, "for my kitten". I reply "and where is this kitten?". SD says, "it's in my bedroom. My Dad knew about it, I figured he'd tell you...".

At this point I'm really restraining myself to not flip out. SD has already brought 2 other cats into our house under the agreement that she would be financially and physically responsible for them. She was, for awhile, until she quit her job, now the costs AND most of the care have become my and DH's job.

SD will be moving to her BM's (supposedly this weekend) and I asked that she take one of the older cats with her. She whines "but he's so big and my Mom won't let me have him there so I'll just have to give him away!" I asked why was it that her BM agreed to let her bring a kitten, but not another cat she's had for 4 years. Bottom line, for SD, the older cat isn't "cute & cuddly" anymore so she's lost total interest in him. This whole thing just makes me sick because I am a firm believer (and have told SD over and over again) that if you take on the responsibility of an animal, you don't just discard them later when they aren't cute little babies anymore. It's a long-term thing!

So, here I am again, the last to find out. No one bothered to ask (because SD knew I would say no)or discuss this with me even though I'm supposed to be an "equal partner" in the household! GRRRR!

The only up-side to this: I suppose a kitten is better than drugs!

Go ahead kkny, make a smart-alec comment on this one about what a terrible step mother I am and how I want everything my way... FYI, Even though I'm an adult, I have never brought an animal into our home without getting full blessings from my DH, BTW...

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I think it is kind of gross to keep a kitten in the bedroom. Yuck. The litter box and everything is in there?

I don't blame you for being irritated. I also do not like it when people discard animals. It IS a committment and having an animal is not just about buying food, littler and giving them water. Animals need regular medical checkups, vaccinations, etc. Does your SD do any of that?

Mostly, though, it is wrong of DH to allow this to happen behind your back.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 12:29PM
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Is SD really "discarding" the cats, though? It sounds like they have stayed at your house because her mother refuses to have them.

Not saying the situation is good or that it's right that the reponsibility for the cats falls on you and DH, nor from the sound of it, that SD should have brought home an additional kitten. But it doesn't sound like *SD* wants to discard any of the cats, it's more that her parent(s) may see that as the only solution. Which it isn't, btw.

Let me share with you all a truly heartbreaking story about this very subject. I am a cat lover, have been from childhood. My Mom and Stepdad got together when I was 13. I had a cat, but he kept to himself a lot and wasn't the friendliest. My SF is allergic, so the solution was to put a cat door in my bedroom window and always keep my door shut, so the cat had my room and the whole rest of the world to roam around in. Worked pretty well. When I was 16, I was at my friend's and there were some kittens there who were being given away before they were to be taken to the pound. Being a soft touch, and not anticipating what was going to happen next, I brought one home with me. At the time, my SF was still in that stage of wanting to assert his authority over me and we didn't always get along great in those days. We do now, but it's because we've both matured a lot. Anyway, the response when I brought home the kitten was that I was so horribly inconsiderate to do so without asking, especially b/c my SF had allergies and I already had one cat. Which were certainly valid points, and it was true that I should have asked first. But to this day, and for the rest of my life, the punishment for my ill-considered teenage decision will haunt me, and I dare say my mom and SF too. It was just one of those horrible things that probably every parent, even the best ones, are guilty of at some point in their lives as they struggle to determine the best way to handle this, that or the other tough decision in child-rearing. First I was told to try and find a new home for the kitten, which I made every effort to do for several weeks, to no avail. That was reasonable enough. But when I couldn't find a home for him, I was told I had to choose which of the cats I wanted to keep and which would be taken to a nearby community shopping district where several stray cats were known to be cared for by the local shopkeepers. This basically amounted to a "Sophie's Choice", and basically there was no way I could possibly emerge from that unscathed, unwracked by guilt and free of the perception by myself and others that I had opted to "discard" a cat, when *I* would have made no such decision EVER. This, seriously, is one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. My mom and SF, as much as I love them both now and as much as they have been great parents otherwise, really REALLY fcked that up, and it was just plain WRONG of them to do. They admit it now and have both apologized, which I have accepted. But it leaves a permanent scar in my heart. And it was all because at the time my SF was insecure in his step-parental role and unfortunately felt the need to prove his authority with a G.D. sledgehammer.

There are, and would have been, other solutions, other ways to make the point very clearly that a kid shouldn't bring in additional pets without asking. All it would take would be to say: "we charge an exorbitant pet fee here, and if you want to afford it you'll need a job or you'll need to find another place to live" or "because of the extra pets, we're ---or more precisely, YOU'RE--- going to have to buy new carpeting... so start saving your pennies." Or some other means ---besides forcing a horrific choice and shifting the blame onto the kid for "discarding" an animal--- of making any decision to bring in a new pet one that will basically force the kid to take on a bunch of extra responsibilities, as it should be.

All I personally ask is that you do not repeat my SF's mistake, even though I agree with you that your SD is in the wrong.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:09PM
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My guess is BM told SD she could only bring ONE cat with her. SD chose the cute cuddly kitten instead of the older cats. That is a little sick.

I get super attached to animals so I always only have one at a time. That's all I can AFFORD as far as vet costs as well.

Reality is that very few kids (young or teen) take care of an animal it's entire lifespan. It almost always winds up falling on the adults.

Iwould have a very long talk with hubs and tell him he had better explain under no uncertain terms that no more animals are allowed in the house. If SD choses to try and bring another home, she needs to be told to TAKE IT BACK.

My dad made me bring kittens back in my day and I survived. You don't get attached to them till you've had them for awhile anyway and if she does it's her own fault for not listening. It's pretty inconsiderate for her to be hualing pets home when she has no means to care for them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:04PM
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serenity, I'm so sorry.

I'm a pet-lover, too, & I'm sure that I wouldn't be as forgiving as you have been.

poppin, I think you need "the lamp".

Hubs (heck, even a roommate) shouldn't have agreed to having another pet brought into the home without consulting you.

love, you can keep a cat in a small area without a "yuck" factor.

I once had an office cat in a 10 x 15 office;
her litter box was in the water heater closet, & her food & water dishes were in the bathroom.

The office was as clean & fresh as could be.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:09PM
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Not to be harsh or uncaring but if bringing a kitten back is the worse most painful thing you have ever experienced in you life I understand why you over dramatize things sometimes.

I don't think your Step father was trying to puill a power play at all. I think he was allergic and already dealing with one cat in and out of the house. Pet allergies SUCK! They canmake you feel you have hair stuck to you all the time and your skin just crawls.

I think you were being inconsiderate to his condition and I know you admitted that but you still seem to think he was just trying to be a bully also.

If I had an allergy and the girls brought a kitten home the kitten would have to go. I wouldn't be miserable all the time in my home and J would not expect me to.

The girls would learn a life lesson that sometimes the NEEDS of one is more important than the WANTS of another. That is a very good life lesson.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:12PM
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Why would BM allow a kitten but not a cat? SD obviously decided that it was not what SHE wanted, not because BM told her she couldn't (SD's tired of the older cat, he's not "cute" anymore). There is a history of this behavior with my SD wanting "kittens" all the time because they are so cute. So SD's figuring she can just dump the older cats on us and she can go on her merry way with her "new baby".

I'm willing to keep one of the older cats, because it first belonged to my F-I-L, and my DH has a bit of a sentimental attachment to the cat even though his DD wanted the cat, initially. So am I really being that unreasonable? I don't think so...

So yeah, to me, she's "discarding" her other cat. SD has asked again and again if she can have another kitten for the last two years and our answer was always no, we didn't want another cat in the house. She has now made a very conscious decision that she will have to live with. She has disreguarding both DH's and my rule and she's walking away from her responsibility of her other cats. DH and I told SD that one of the older cats goes with her to BM's and SD said she'll have to find another place for it to live because she didn't THINK her BM would let her have it (she probably hasn't even asked her). I told her that's the way it goes. I know this is not ideal for the cat, but SD's old enough to know right from wrong and she's made her bed with this. I'm not trying to "scar" her. Actions... consequences... personal acountability...

And yes, lovehadley, I agree, it's gross to keep the cat shut in the bedroom like that!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:20PM
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"Not to be harsh or uncaring but if bringing a kitten back is the worse most painful thing you have ever experienced in you life I understand why you over dramatize things sometimes."

It wasn't so much that but the fact that a) there wasn't anywhere to bring the cat back TO and b) being put in the position to make an "either-or" choice when that's not something I would have ever done and so having to bear the burden of guilt for that. I do see a very big difference if there is a for-certain safe place to bring the animal back to, where everyone can be 110% assured s/he will get good care. In my case, nobody REALLY knew that for certain, and so that made it especially painful. Also, I think you'd have to watch "Sophie's Choice" to really understand the horror of having to choose which of two beings you love and care for (and which are more or less helpless on their own) you have to get rid of. An impossible choice for most. I dunno, maybe some folks find the whole idea of equating pets to children/loved ones silly or even ridiculous... A valid perspective in many ways. All I can say is that when you get really attached, it can be very sentimental, and a person either gets that way about their animals or doesn't... just a personality difference, I guess.

Doodle, I do agree with your point that the BM in the original post is also forcing a choice... at this point far more than Poppingrays... I was just urging Poppin to not resort to doing the same, because then the situation really would be as bad as mine, especially if no guaranteed good home could be found for then cat(s) in question. Surely there must be another way for SD to be accountable and learn the necessary lesson from the mistake...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:51PM
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Poppin, I will say this... If SD was living in her own apartment and especially if she had roommates (and their parents) to be accountable to on top of a landlord, she would learn quickly that she better have no more animals than she can properly take care of and pay for any damages they create to property. I wouldn't suggest that this situation warrants an immediate "eviction" of SD & pets from your house or an immediate dumping of 100% of the financial responsibility onto her... But I do think it would be a good idea to give her ample notice that as of a certain date several months to a year down the road, she is either going to have to pay you a "pet fee" or find another place to live (which accepts pets of course). When she has to pay a separate pet fee for each animal (often $200- $500 apiece, depending where one lives) as well as being held responsible for any damages when she moves out, as well as vet bills and everything else, she will curtail her "adopting" tendencies for sure. It's not until kids have to shell out money and energy for their choices and be accountable to an unsympathetic landlord that they REALLY get all that. That's why so many younger kids end up saying "but... he followed me home!" so often to their parents, they just don't have the experience being accountable. So in a nutshell I would say it's time to start having the first talks and making the first plans toward SD getting her own place with her pets. In the meantime, I don't see anything wrong with making her pay any& all costs for the animals' care while she's under your roof.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 3:05PM
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It shows alot about her character to do this to one of her cats. ALOT!. Its shows complete selfishness and total disregard of others. She will probably discard this kitten when it stops being cute and cuddly all together.
Its people like her who make the spca's job so hard. Killing 100 cats per day! I know...i worked there as a volunteer and i can tell you horror stories. And puppies as well beign dropped at the door cause they are now too big and not cute.
One girl about 19 came by and dropped off her 14 month old cat saying now she changed her furniture in her apartment and her cat just didn't match...she wans' t cute and the colors are off now. GO FIGURE!
This girl sounds like a real character. Wish her the best when she goes.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 3:20PM
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I called DH earlier today (and thanks to doodleboo's advice) I told him that since he and I had already made the rule, that he was to tell his DD the kitten had to go back. DH actually agreed but asked if he could keep the older cat for himself... (yeah, just guess where THAT came from). So, I get home from work, both kitten and SD are gone. SD decided to go live with BM a few days early because DH (hurt her feelings and) told her the kitten had to go and he wasn't going to fight with me after he and I already set the rule that there would be no more animals in the house.

Well, imagine my relief! This is one for the books!

Organic Maria... I worked in a humane society my whole way through college, I was one of the employees that had to euthanize hundreds of animals that people threw away. So , yes, I'm quite sensitive about the issue, and for good reason!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:12PM
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That's good for you and Hubs. She didn't have time to get attached to that kitten and it could go right back to where it came from untill it found another loving home. It isn't like you forced her to dump it off in the woods....SD will survive with minimal damage I am sure.

People can become cat collectors very easily. My mother is one. She started feeding strays and then couldn't afford to get them fixed fast enough and they started having kittens. Before you know it you have a cat commune! Her and my father fight about this all the time. My mothers heart was too big for the resources she could dole out.

SD needed to learn that pets are a lifetime commitment. You can't shove older pets to the side when you get bored with them and keep getting new ones. This is DOUBLED if you have no resources to care for the ones you already have! She would be stuck in a cycle of getting new pets every couple of years and dumping the olds ones off on you guys since BM wasn't having it. Good thing you guys threw down the gauntlet now.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 11:22AM
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I guess I should elaborate... SD left to move in with BM early and took the kitten with her. She still left the older cats with us, though.

SD's decision to leave was because her Dad told her the kitten had to go back. She tried to give him a sob-story about how it couldn't go back to where it came from (lie, lie, lie) but he told her to get it out of the house, reguardless. SD only has 3 days of school left and was planning on moving over to BM's this weekend anyway. I feel sorry for BM when SD dumps the new cat on her because it's not cute anymore. It will happen.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 11:53AM
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Poppin', glad you got the situation worked out. Sort of lol. With exception of your ss dumping her older cats on you. What a piece of work!

I also think serenity's story of her "sophie's choice" was a bit exaggerated IMO. I think that it was irresponsible to not ask first before she brought the kitten home. That was unfair and she brought that whole situation on herself. Because after all, the step dad already made himself agreeable to accomodate for the first cat in the house. Which was very nice of him since he does have allergies. So to bring in a kitten (whose dander is far worse than a grown cat btw) without asking was disaster waiting to happen. As far as thinking that was one of the most painful experiences of her!!! Lucky you is all I can say.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 2:31PM
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I'm glad it's working out & that neither the poor kitten or the adult cat is being sent to a shelter.

but it seems like there's a lot of awfully harsh blasting going on toward serenity.

As a pet lover & general soft-hearted mush, I can say that I'd have gotten the kitten, too.

If either girl had been very young, say in grade school, the parents should have found the kitten a new home them rather than punish her by forcing her to make a 'choice'.

but even at serenity's age at the time (16), or maybe especially at that very sensitive & soft-hearted age, they should have told her to return the kitten or take it to a pet store, not forced her to "choose".

It wasn't a teaching moment;
it was something, as she said, that her stepfather used to reinforce his power, it was cruel, & *he knew it was cruel*.

That's why he handled it that way.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 2:43PM
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I love cats too, we have three of them. So it isn't about not being a pet lover blah blah blah.

I just don't see it as the step dad using his power. She already knew he was allergic and he made consessions for her other cat. Enough said. She was the one being selfish and irresponsible, as 16 year olds can absolutely be. If it was just a case of "forgetting" and getting the kitten on a whim, then once she realized the mistake she made, then sending the kitten somewhere else was the responsible thing to do. Regardless of whether the home was a house, or in the market district with the shopkeepers. Being that this place was known for taking care of strays, then they must have been doing an alright job of taking care of the kitties they had. It's all about perspective. I am seeing it from a different view is all. Not from the mind of an immature and perhaps a little over dramatic 16 year old.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 2:58PM
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I agree with Wild Thing. I am a very responsible pet owner. I love our family kitty.

However, If I had KNOWN allergies and made one exception for a one cat and either my daughter or one of the girls brought home yet ANOTHER cat after they had been specifically told NOT to....then the second kitty would have to get the boot.

I wouldn't force the kid to get rid of it but either J or I would be taking it to a shelter. It wouldn't be staying.

SUnny Gardens SD still got her cake. She got her kitty and now Sunny and hubs are stuck caring for the two adult rejects. SD was being totally way around it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:03PM
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Serenity choose...she would of had to choose one or the other anyway. one would of had to go and I think it WAS her decision to make since it was to be her pet.

if step dad wouldn't of given her any choice about which cat to keep he would of still been the a-hole. Either way it would of been all his fault. He was SUPPOSED to let her keep both! How DARE he have allergies! He should of just shut his stupid step parent mouth and snotted, sneezed and watery eyed his way through life and been grateful he was allowed to live in the house at all. That cruel bas*ard! hahaha....I'm sorry. I think it just sounds ludacris.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:13PM
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I meant poppingrays SD not sunnygardens SD. I got confused between two posts I was responding to:)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:29PM
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He should of just shut his stupid step parent mouth and snotted, sneezed and watery eyed his way through life and been grateful he was allowed to live in the house at all. That cruel bas*ard! hahaha....

ROFL!! Oh man that's some funny sh*t right there! I needed that laugh! Thank you!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:59PM
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It is inconsiderate and rather mean to bring pets to the house where people are allergic to pets. Even if people aren't allergic, it is inconsiderate to bring pets home without asking. unless of course it is done on purpose to cause some kind of commotion/fight or chase someone out. simple as that. and 13 is old enough to know better.

My nephew is allergic to pets and nobody would be that cruel or inconsiderate as to bring pets. My niece is 7 and she already knows that F_ cannot be around pets so she would not even ask. So at 13 one definitelly knows better.

now this is hillarious "How DARE he have allergies! He should of just shut his stupid step parent mouth and snotted, sneezed and watery eyed his way through life and been grateful he was allowed to live in the house at all. That cruel bas*ard! " hahahahah I needed that laugh. hahahah

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 4:22PM
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oh serenity you were 16? not 13? then at 16 one just ought to know better than that.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 4:25PM
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fwiw, I began and ended my responses to poppingrays with an acknowledgement not only that her SD was wrong to bring home the kitten but that I also had been as a teenager when I did the same. Maybe you all missed that before you decided to beat a dead horse for shitzngigglz. But it's there in type, you can read it again at your leisure...

fwiw, my parents and I have long since worked out and resolved the issue, both admitting our wrongs and agreeing that none of us handled the situation the way it ought to have been handled. We have long since forgiven each other and empathized with where everyone was coming from at the time. So...problem over, at least among the relevant people.

fwiw, though, it WAS one of the most painful experiences of my life. Which I suppose it would not have been if I could have more easily lived with myself and the situation and gone about my merry way without a care. If I didn't feel so much guilt, quite frankly, all around.

fwiw, I say ONE of the most painful experiences in my life, and it stands out to me I think because of the peculiar combination of feelings involved. The mixture of loss, being in a no-win situation, shame, guilt (some deserved, some not) and fear about what would happen to a similarly powerless living being... situations causing this kind of clusterf*ck of negative emotions don't often happen simultaneously in a person's life. When was the last time any of you had an experience which caused you to feel all those feelings at the exact same time? I'm sure you don't remember it fondly. I applaud any of you if you dare to share such vulnerability here...

fwiw, I have had many, many, many heartbreaking experiences in my life... some of which would make some of your eyebrows curl and most of which I won't go into here as they have nothing to do with stepfamilies. Didn't prevent my experience with the cats from being any less painful or eclipse it in my memory. Pain, as they say, is not a pie...

fwiw, some of the experiences I have read some of you describe as your biggest problems in life I might say either "you brought it on yourself" or "lucky you" or call you "selfish" or "cruel". If what I read is inane enough, I do say those things. But for most of you, the majority of whom I respect, I refrain from giving full voice to just how ridiculous I think some of the hurts over petty perceived slights can be. That's because it's significant to you, whether I think it's petty or not, and because we are all human beings with different experiences and feelings. But also, we are all adults. I occasionally get blunt about my opinion, but I try not to poke fun, laugh at or encourage ganging up on any of you like this is the damn schoolyard.

fwiw, my excuse for my teenage immaturity about my cat situation is having been a teenager at the time... what are y'all's excuses for being immature about it now?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 12:29AM
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Who is being immature? Just stating opinions about something that was posted here. You are the one getting all bent about that.
You put the story out there. If you didn't want comments on it you should have said so.
You were immature for a 16 year old based on your story.
We are hardly immature for commenting on it.
As for laughing at a comment...hey it was funny as hel* Just wanted to show my appreciation for someone sense of humor lol.

Move on now, its all good.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Serentity, just remember, only stepmothers are allowed to over-react, to feel slighted. Like cutting off someone if they dont get a mothers day card.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 3:09PM
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I really think that not bringing pets home without considering other people (if they are allergic or not, no matter) is nothing to do wiht money or paying for anything. It is about being considerate of other people. Some people have it at young age, some have it later or some never do. Who pays really doesn't matter. My niece is 7, certainly pays for nothing, but seeing her brother sneezing and coughing is enough for her not to drag cats home or not asking to have one.

I also find it bizzare that after parents said many times "no pets" somebody would still bring a pet. It is passive-aggressive behavior. Reminds me of this woman who kept bringing pets home to her allergic husband (turned out she had an affair and hoped he just leaves so she doesn't have to be blamed for divorce LOL)

Serenity there is no crime in being immature or even being selfish at teen age. There is nothing wrong that you felt bad not being able to keep a cat. But I personally found it bizzare that SF was blamed then and still is blamed now. I mean allergic people don't have to allow pets at all, in fact any people don't have to allow pets if they don't want them. When we become adults we look at things differently. I don't think anymore that my parents were mean telling to do my homework when i was 16 (hypothetical situation), I grew up.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 4:39PM
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