Ask Max Monday: No, Not Everyone Needs a Pet…

It’s almost Taco Tuesday. What kind of tacos should I order? Taco Bell ones give me the [redacted]


You should get TOONA


You’re welcome.

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I was reading “Purrfect Advice” by Nic Saint, and saw this:

“Well, we could start a column with pets writing in and asking questions, and then another pet, like a cat, maybe, responding. It would be like a playful column and I think all pet owners would love it. We could have some fun with it.” 

“I like it already,” he said. “Pets answering pets. Love it.”

They are years behind you!


LOTS of years behind me!

That’s still pretty cool, though someone needs to tell him I beat him to it.

= = =

Dood. I’ve been following you online since you were basically a kitten—I don’t think you were even 2 years old yet. I love cats and you sucked me into the cat blogosphere. Reading your antics and that of your friends has been, essentially, what scratches my pet itch. I’ve never really wanted to live with an animal; I travel a lot, I am super particular about the condition of my living space (which is not large by any means, I have a small one bedroom condo) and I have never liked to notion of being tied down.

I pet sit for friends and enjoy that. It’s having one of my own that I’ve never wanted.

Now to cut to the chase. A friend of mine rescued a litter of kittens and has been pressing me to take one or two of them. I’ve said no repeatedly, but the pressure and reminders that I have a home, a roof over my head, and I can afford to care for pets is getting to me. The insinuation is that if I don’t take them, they’ll wind up in a shelter, and probably euthanized.

I need advice from the big guy. Am I being selfish here? I honestly can afford to take them, and if I stretch things I can afford to pay for in-home pet sitting when I travel, which is roughly 20 days out of each month. What say you?

What say I?

I say you don’t buckle to manipulative pressure and ditch the friend. What they’re doing and saying isn’t fair—and isn’t true. Kittens are like furry little cat-people magnets and they’ll find other homes, and right now the shelters aren’t exactly overrun with available cats and dogs. People are adopting right and left. Where they end up is not your responsibility.

And I might go against the grain on this but honestly…someone who does not want pets should never get pets. It wouldn’t be fair to those kittens. You’d resent the messes kittens make, the noise, the constant level of go, go, go when they’re awake, the smell of cat food, the inconvenience of litter boxes…and while you probably wouldn’t take it out on them, they’d feel it.

You’re also gone more than half the month. That’s not fair to them, either.

My gut says you’re going to feel guilty for saying no, even though it’s what you need to do. If you can pony up the bucks, maybe offer to cover the cost of setting someone else up to take them: a couple weeks’ worth of food, a litter box and litter, and some cat toys. Or if you can afford more, maybe cover the cost of neutering. But none of those are obligations, just ideas if you feel like you need to do something.

Your friend sucks, to be honest.

Kittens deserve someone who wants and will love them. Kudos to you for admitting you aren’t that person. As long as you feel that way, you absolutely should not get a pet, especially not while you travel so much.

= = =

Max I thought we were all supposed to stay home and not go outside so why did I wind up at the v-e-t with a thermometer up the wazzo? I wasn’t sick. It was “time for a checkup” but last time I checked WE WERE ALL SUPPOSED TO STAY HOME!

I dunno, dood. I wasn’t sick and got dragged there, all because I panted a little bit. And I didn’t even get a face mask!

But, everyone washed their hands really well, so I suppose it’s okay.

They washed their hands, right?

Go yell at ‘em if they didn’t.

= = =

Got a question for me? You can leave it in the comments or email me at askmaxmonday -at- gmail dot com.

6 thoughts on “Ask Max Monday: No, Not Everyone Needs a Pet…

  1. Hi Max,

    Two years after (almost to the day) our dearest Spider crossed the rainbow bridge, she sent Gracie and me a new friend. It’s a boy, a middle-aged meezer dude! His origin story is as fuzzy as his toe bean sprouts and apparently he’s recovering from his years on the streets (after some help from a very generous vet clinic). He lost his tail and a fang, but not his sense of humor. He is a hugger, not a fighter, and he has a lot to talk about. A LOT. Not only has he pledged his love to me, he follows Gracie around. And much to my surprise they’ve bonded over polite meows, butt-sniffing, Bird TV, and catnip-filled fishy toys.

    Anyway, I’ve never had a meezer, although I’ve made the acquaintance of many. I know you know a meezer or two, and I know a meezer or two writes into this column on occasion. I was hoping to get some meezer advice as he is a lovely, lovely guy, but a bonafide weirdo, the good kind. What’ll make him supremely happy? His name is Quincey. He is a goodboi and I’m so glad he’s finally got a warm bed.

    Thanks, Max!

  2. Excellent advice as usual, Max, for the not-sure-she-wants-to-be-a-a-cat-lady lady. She should be commended for thinking it through before committing, especially to kittens. It’s a scenario that too often ends with cats being surrendered back to shelters, and usually after the kittens have grown out of their cute kitten phase. Kittens in shelters are almost always adopted before getting that last injection, but the not-as-cute teenager cats are not so lucky. The kittens she was considering will almost certainly find forever homes. If she ended up returning them in 6 months, they might not be so lucky.

    Since we’re all cats or cat people here, most of us know this. We should help those who aren’t, understand what cat ownership entails. Cats are active, sentient beings who thrive on attention and activity (even if you see them sleeping most of the time until a Dr Who binge is on). Just as you dote on a human toddler, cats–especially kittens–need owners who are home more often than not. Some people choose cats over dogs because they think cats are self-sustaining and don’t need as much one-on-one time and attention. They’ll take off for short trips, leaving enough (or what they think is enough) food out for the duration, then don’t understand why the cats want nothing to do with them–or alternatively, exhibit especially needy behavior–when they return.

    So if you’re reading Max’s column while considering if cat ownership is for you, ask yourself if, given your current living situation, would you consider adopting a human toddler? If the answer is “no, I work long hours,” or “sure no problem, I’m hiring a nanny,” a pet is not for you.

    Or, consider fostering as a version of “try before you buy.” You’ll get a better idea of whether cat ownership is right for you, and if it’s not, no harm, no foul, it’s a good data point to have.

  3. Excellent advice! That person does not need a pet.

    The V-E-T people here are letting pets in, but not their people.

    1. The lady travels 20 days out of each month. She should never, ever get a pet! Helping out with her friends’ cats is just fine.

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