Ask Max Monday: Sometimes ‘No’ Is The Answer, and It’s All Right

Ask Max Monday

Dear Max.
We are having a big push here at the palace, to save the environment. Well when I say WE, I actually mean Mrs H, as she is the one that has to push the recycling bin down the palace driveway–all mile of it–and then push it back. Anyways, by changing our diets we have saved loads in waste packaging and only have to recycle once every 3-4 months. What do you guys do around your place, or can you suggest, to help us improve the environment?
Toodle pips

Gotta admit, I don’t think my people are as environmentally conscious. Everything that can be recycled goes into the blue bin every week, but I think when they go out they still get straws and drinks in plastic cups, unless they’re in a place that has paper or bamboo. The Woman does take a personal cup to Starbucks, so that saves like 529 cups a month, but really…they could do a lot more.

One of the things she grumbles about is not being able to find compostable bags for scooping into. There are tiny ones meant to take when you walk your dog, but she hasn’t found ones big enough to handle what two cats do every 24 hours. Think of all the cat poop sitting in landfills, in plastic and paper bags that don’t break down. It’s like the MOST biodegradable thing in the world, but it’s gonna be here for a long, long time.

Dear Max, I have 2 questions. One serious and one not. The Serious one: Last Sept. I wasn’t watching and our cat Frank, 18, wondered away. Thanks to social media and my sister, he was found. A woman found him and brought back the next day after she took him to the vet and we got him back.Do you think Frank knows I am the reason he wondered away? He always stays with me and we give our senior cat lots of love and food and affection. But, do think somewhere in the back of his head he has an inkling? If anything had happened to him it would my fault and I would always know I am the reason he could have died. The non-serious one, if its proper to ask it now: How are you surviving this terrible winter?

First, I’m super happy you got him back. That’s one of the things I really dig about social media—connections. Our little down has a couple of FB pages and every day someone posts about finding someone’s pet or someone is missing one, and 99% of the time they’re reunited by the end of the day. It’s really cool because it shows that people really care and will make an effort to help.

It also shows that you’re not alone—pets get out. It happens. It can happen to the most careful and observant person. And I know nothing I say will make you feel better about that, but you’re not alone, and that’s important.

Frank, OTOH, isn’t thinking twice about how he got out. He’s really not. All he cares is that he’s safe and home, and if he plays it just right, maybe he’ll get a treat or two.  So do that. Give him a treat or two, tell him he’s pretty, and everything will be fine between you.

As far as surviving winter…I live in California where 50 is cold and the people put on long pants and sweatshirts…and my people are especially delicate so they keep the temp in here at around 76. I’m nice and toasty all the time. It’s awesome.

Dear Max, I remembered the other nonseries question for you. I still call Frank my “kitty” “little pal” “little buddy.” Is this a good idea?

Sure. I bet he likes it. Buddah gets called “Little Man” a lot and he seems to dig it. He doesn’t even mind being called “BooBoo.” And I *LOVE* it when he gets called “OhYouLittleF$#@^%.”

Max…I hope you can dispense some advice at me.

I lost my longtime buddy about six months ago. He was 19 and we’d been together since I was a little kid, and I was heartbroken when he went. Now friends are shoving pictures of shelter cats at me because they think it’s time for me to get another cat. I’m not ready. How do I say no? I feel guilty because they need homes and I have one. Your person didn’t want you and see how it turned out.

Tell your friends the same way you just told me: I’m not ready.

Maybe add to it: Please stop showing me those pictures. They make me feel bad, and I shouldn’t get another pet just because I feel guilty.

And you shouldn’t. Don’t get a pet you’re not ready to care for. They’re not disposable and they require a lot of attention, care, and money. Your gut is telling you something, you know what it is. All I can tell you is that listening to it is perfectly all right. When you’re ready, you’ll at least have an inkling if not a full-blown want of another pet.

And yes, the Woman initially didn’t think she wanted another cat, not at the time. But it was a little different, because I was supposed to be the Younger Human’s cat and leave when he moved out. They also still had Hank, so it wasn’t like they weren’t already caring for a pet. I just happened to decide she was going to be my person and didn’t give her any choice in the matter.

I can tell you this…when I’m gone and Buddah is gone, the people have declared that they won’t get another pet for at least a year, maybe two. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting the responsibility, and there’s nothing wrong with knowing that your grief will take time. You get to feel your feelings, the way you feel them, and real friends will honor your wishes if you’re honest with them.

Just tell them what you’ve said here. No, I’m not ready.

Got a question for me?
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Category: Ask Max Monday, Featured

About the Author ()

Max the Psycho Kitty is 14 pounds of sleek black and white glory. With an attitude ... and opinions ... on everything. He's a put-upon and under-appreciated domestic feline with an addiction to Kitty Crack and an appetite for Stinky Goodness. A pioneer in the Cat Blogosphere, he began his popular blog "The Psychokitty Speaks Out" in October of 2003. Max is the author of SIX blockbuster hit books, "The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Diary of a Mad Housecat,", its sequel "The Psychokitty Speaks Out: Something of Yours Will Meet a Toothy Death,", "The Rules: A Guide For People Owned By Cats," "Bite Me," "There Once Was a Cat from Nantucket" (a book of poetry), and his new smash hit, "The Emperor of San Francisco [The Wick Chronicles]."

Comments (7)

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  1. We all have our own ways of mourning, and we’ll know when the time is right for a new family member! Friends think they can say anything, but really they are being hurtful and rude, so your advice to tell them to back off is good, Max!

  2. NO I’m not ready is absolutely ok and you need to tell your friends it hurts you more to have them pressure you. YOU will know when the time is right.

    Max – we got these new floors at our house. They are NOT carpet and we slide all over the place chasing toys. The mom thinks it is funny. Is it really ok for her to laugh that hard when we can’t apply the brakes on the new floor?

  3. Lee in Phoenix says:

    Sometimes you don’t think you’re ready for a new cat and it turns out you are. A few years ago Thomas, our 14 year old Maine Coon that we dearly loved, passed away during surgery for really bad cancer. When I went in to pay the bill and pick up the cat carrier a couple days later I was not at all ready for another cat. The vet was waiting out front and said, “I’ve got a mother cat and 4 tiny kittens in the back. Would you like to see them?” The babies were very small and just opening their eyes. Someone had left them in a box by the door. When I saw them I couldn’t help myself and said we’d take 2 of the babies. After thinking about it overnight I called and said we’d also take the mom when all the babies were gone. We have been so happy with the 3 cats, I’ve never regretted it for a moment.

  4. KesterGayle says:

    First, I’m very sorry for your loss. These little guys sure take up a lot of real estate in our hearts, don’t they? Please accept my condolences.

    If guilt is an issue when deciding to get a pet or not, help to support a local animal charity. Money, time, whatever works best for you. Even $5 a week will supply a meal or two for a hungry animal. Go and socialize with the animals if you can bear it, or help to maintain their property by mopping halls, picking up litter, whatever you can do will help. Your next pet will choose you soon enough. Meanwhile, honoring your buddy by taking care of other animals will make you feel good, I promise.

  5. When I lost Izzy I did wait until I found the perfect cat for me. It was only a couple of months before I started looking in earnest. I found Patzy at the local animal shelter. People were all telling me “Don’t get another cat. Too much work and responsibility”. One of those was my mother. I have had cats since I was 6 years old. I asked her “Mom, do you know who I am? I mean really know me?” She relented finally and now she says I am part cat! She has a cat but won’t allow her on her lap or bed. I can’t understand that at all. Patzy is my shadow and we love each other so much!

    Get another pet when you feel the urge and really want to spend the time looking for the right personality for you. It might even be a dog. But it’s up to you and not what others are telling you.

  6. Karen says:

    Just a thought. Would the poet lunch bags work for biodegradable?

  7. Angie says:

    Better late than never I hope?

    I agree with Max 100% – you have to go with your gut. There is no right or wrong when it comes to mourning and if you start getting the ‘how long?’ question, the answer is As long as it takes. There’s no ‘getting over it’, there’s just learning to live with it. And that takes time, a different amount for everyone.

    I lost my best friend of 19 years last July. It was officially The Worst Day Ever. Yes she had a good life, Yes she knew she was loved – it’s still a level of pain incomprehensible if you haven’t been there. I knew there was talk going around in those final few months (what are we going to do so she doesn’t lose her mind – oh lets surprise her with a kitten!) but it was absolutely not an option for me (lost my mind a long time ago thankyouverymuch). So the night I got home after letting her go, I sent a text to let those closest to me know and which said, in part, “please, all the talk about getting another kitten or cat – No. While I truly understand and appreciate that it is coming from a place of love – No. It’s something I am not even ready to consider right now. If/when I am ready, it’s something I need to do. Thanks for understanding”.


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