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My Cats Trump Your Cancer

I have resisted the urge to submit this story for quite some time, but I just feel like I have to share. “Susie” and I have been friends for over a decade. As time has passed, I have spent less and less time with her as time after time she exhibited thoughtless and selfish behavior (for example, inviting me and my husband for a home cooked dinner, then changing her mind and insisting that we order in, each paying for ourselves). Anyway, this story is the topper.

Two years ago, shortly before Christmas I learned that I had thyroid cancer and would need almost immediate surgery. This would be my third surgery that year, I was in the middle of moving (had to downsize due to medical bills), and I was out of work (my husband supported both of us at the time). I was very upset at the thought not only of cancer, but what my husband and I would do to pay for all of this. The day before I was to have the surgery I received a call from Susie (keep in mind that Susie was well aware of all of these issues as I trusted her as a close friend). She wanted me to feed her cats while she and her husband went out of town for the holidays. Not only that, she was busy shopping and cleaning so she needed me to come get her extra key in order to do this. I responded that, no, I could not do this favor since I was about to go into the hospital for cancer related surgery and I did not know what the recovery would be like. Her response? “I know that, but why can’t your husband do it?” She wanted my husband to go out to her house to pick up her keys instead of being at the hospital with me! Not only that, she expected him to come out to her house (at least a 45 minute drive) every day for several weeks to care for her pets. Susie was very angry with us for not giving into her demands, saying that we had ruined her holidays because she had no options now. I could understand if we had made this arrangement and then I backed out, but that was not the case, she made that request with no advance notice and being fully aware of my situation.

Wow Susie, sorry my cancer and lazy husband ruined your holiday. I did not initiate contact with Susie at all after that. However, what prompted me to submit this story was that she just called me out of the blue that she was on her way out of town and wouldn’t you know it? She had not made any arrangements for her pets. No thanks. 0624-13


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Debbie December 10, 2013, 10:33 am

    Wow! I would block her number and totally have nothing to do with her ever again. I hope things are looking up for you now.

  • Xtina December 10, 2013, 10:34 am

    That’s a friend you no longer need. How self-centered, inconsiderate, and low of Susie. And the final rub? Calling you on her way out of town to inform you that she wasn’t able to make any other arrangements–as if you should have any reason to feel bad about that. The gall!

    Hope your surgery will go, or went well, and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • Allie December 10, 2013, 10:40 am

    Glad to hear you have cut off all ties. With friends like that… well, you know the rest.

  • European Redhead December 10, 2013, 10:41 am

    Yay for your polite spine, I love reading stories like this!

  • Alison December 10, 2013, 10:41 am

    Wow, with friends like that, who needs enemies? Gee, I wonder why she couldn’t find anyone else to take care of her cats? No loss here. Be glad the leech is out of your life and move on.

    I do hope your medical issues have been resolved, and best of luck in the future.

  • Coralreef December 10, 2013, 10:42 am

    Self-centered much? I would drop her like a hot potato.

    OP, I hope you and your husband are doing well and are looking forward to a full recovery.

  • Comradde PhysioProffe December 10, 2013, 10:45 am

    Some of these letters my first reaction is all “No wai is this real; no one could be so obliviously self-involved”. But then I think a little more, and I’m all like “Yeah, people are delusional”.

  • Lo December 10, 2013, 10:46 am

    So not only does she not care about the people in her life, expect the world to revolve around her, and throw a fit when she doesn’t get her way, she’s now called you on her way out of town and has abandoned her pets to the mercy of whatever friend takes the bait?

    This person doesn’t deserve guardianship of an animal. Bad pet parent. Shame on her and pity to the cats dependant on her.

  • Alie December 10, 2013, 10:51 am

    Wow, just wow. Here’s the deal *even if you didn’t have cancer* and her house WASN’T 45 minutes away, this woman was awful and entitled. You can’t just announce to someone else they are feeding your cat. Ever. Not to mention, it sounds like she had no intention of paying you to do this.

    Throw in your illness and the drive, and, what the heck was she thinking? I would avoid this woman like the plague. She seems to think people only exist to serve her. And I say this as a pet owner myself. What kind of lazy person doesn’t bother to arrange and pay for a pet sitter? That’s just part of owning pets.

  • Kristin December 10, 2013, 10:54 am

    Wow! Did she even contact you after your surgery to see how you were feeling? Or was she just so miffed at your callous disregard for her and her cats? Unfriend this woman!

    A 45-minute drive under the best of circumstances is too much to ask someone to do daily. She should have spent some of her holiday money on a pet sitter, which she could likely afford considering she was able to be out of town for several weeks.

    I do hope you have fully recovered — from the cancer and this ghastly “friend”.

  • DGS December 10, 2013, 11:05 am

    The nerve of her! You’re not a kennel. Hopefully, you deadpanned, “Here’s the number of the nearest kennel. Oh, and thanks for asking, I’m all better and in remission, and I hope you have a nice holiday”. And hang up. Good riddance.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith December 10, 2013, 11:06 am

    I’m not sure this is an etiquette issue so much as a mental health issue- much like yesterday’s submission describing the aunt by marriage. Who DOES this?

  • DannysGirl December 10, 2013, 11:06 am

    Wow. How thoughtless and selfish. I’m guessing Susie thought thyroid surgery was not a big deal. She probably saw it as a non-life threatening procedure, and you wouldn’t need constant care. I could see her thinking that since you couldn’t travel for the holidays, your family would travel to you. There would be other people around you and you wouldn’t need your husband constantly. Her thought process doesn’t matter, though. She shouldn’t have asked your husband in the first place. She knew what you were going through, and still thought only of herself and her needs. Unless she lives in a tiny town, she had other options. Surely there is at least one pet sitting service in her area. This is where the phrase “lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part” works well. Good for you for not giving in to her most recent “request.”

  • DannysGirl December 10, 2013, 11:09 am

    PS: I hope you have a merry, cancer-free Christmas!

  • viviennebzb December 10, 2013, 11:16 am

    Good riddance.

    I hope you have completely recovered, OP.

  • Lex December 10, 2013, 11:19 am

    Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have pets if they aren’t committed to looking after them properly. She’s clearly had enough notice, I’m sure there must be some enterprising boarding cattery taking advantage of the Christmas season? There are pet-sitting services you can pay for too.

    It was deeply thoughtless of her to place you in an awkward position by asking for a favour just before you’re due to have surgery, and your response was appropriate about being unable to accommodate her request.

    Some people really are that thoughtless and it is best to ‘ditch and delete’ as I like to say.

    I had a ‘flaky’ friend like that once – we arranged a visit to the theatre to see a ballet. I bought the tickets and arranged to collect her at a prearranged time. Come the evening of the event I was getting dressed and prepared when I got a text ‘Really sorry, can’t make tonight, my Grandad’s ill’. Now I was sceptical because she has used the ‘sick grandad’ excuse before but I was not graceless enough to call her on it so I text her back to acknowledge her change of plans and left it at that. With an expensive spare ticket, my Mother took her place and we had a nice evening.

    The next day I happened to be on Facebook and what do I see but a message from Flaky friend thanking another mutual friend profusely for such a lovely evening the previous day. To say that I was livid was an understatement but rather than make a scene I have quietly cut her out of my life. I distanced myself from her on Facebook by putting her into a ‘limited profile’ group (meaning that she can’t see my wall posts or photos). She is so flaky that she can never keep a mobile phone for more than 5 minutes so I am certain she no longer has my number. If I happen to see her family out and about I am pleasant and pass the time but when her Mum tries to push me to get in touch with her I bean dip.

    She has made no effort whatsoever to contact me since that evening so I am simply letting the friendship die a natural, drama free death. I suggest you do the same with ‘Susie’ as she is clearly not a true friend.

  • Nannerdoman December 10, 2013, 11:25 am

    Wow. Some “friend”. And who plans a lengthy stay out of town and forgets to make arrangements for her pets until the last minute??

  • badkitty December 10, 2013, 11:29 am

    I used to work in pet hotels, and it always amazed me that every year a few people would call up the day before they left on holiday – or just swing by on their way to the airport! And somehow, always, it was MY fault that there was no room at the inn for Ruffles the asthmatic chihuahua, and I had RUINED their holiday, etc.

    My standard response: When did you make the hotel arrangements for the humans? That always shut ’em up, though they would still be unhappy about the situation.

  • Harley Granny December 10, 2013, 11:35 am

    Good for you for sticking to your guns!

    Sounds like she’s a selfish poor planner.

  • Charliesmum December 10, 2013, 11:45 am

    I hope you are recovered, or at least recovering, from your cancer, and that your finances are in a better place now.

    Some people really cannot see past the end of their own nose. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so often merely infuriating.

  • Library Diva December 10, 2013, 11:47 am

    Wow, is this “What the hell is wrong with people?” week on E-Hell? I can’t fathom behaving like the offenders in either today’s or yesterday’s story. Even without the cancer surgery element, this story would have been bad enough: to call someone up on less than 24 hours’ notice, demanding that they take care of their pets, and being angry for weeks when it didn’t work out is just ridiculous.

    I’m a lifelong pet owner. If you have pets and want to leave town, you ask well in advance for someone to take care of them. It’s as much a part of vacation preparation as arranging transportation and accommodations. Emergencies happen, but you have no right to get angry when someone can’t help you at the last minute, and this doesn’t sound like an emergency anyway. To guilt-trip someone when they had the world’s most legitimate reason for not helping is just unbelievable. OP, I hope you have made a full recovery and your life is full of people who are less thoughtless.

  • Wild Irish Rose December 10, 2013, 11:53 am

    Wow. That’s just–wow. And let me guess: She hasn’t once asked you how you’re doing health-wise.

  • Despedina December 10, 2013, 12:02 pm

    Wow, I think I would have asked Susie why she was calling me after 2 years and after what happened. Regardless of what’s going on, driving 45 min to take care of someone’s animals and being expected to do it every day is out of the question. Perhaps Susie should look into a kennel.

  • AS December 10, 2013, 12:04 pm

    OP, I hope you are doing well now. I am also hoping “Susie” is not longer your friend!Did she at least call to find out how you are doing after your surgery? How can someone be so thick-skinned about someone else’s plight? Kudos for having a polite spine about the matter (though I don’t think you or your husband could have done the “favor” at that time anyways).

    Please tell me that you declined the request/order to feed their cats this year.

  • Jewel December 10, 2013, 12:07 pm

    Wow. This is either a case of a narcissist needing the proverbial “clue by four” OR it’s a case of a formerly supportive friend who is simply burned out by the OP’s seemingly never ending medical crisis.

    Certainly, on the face of it, it seems that Susie is a horrid person. But it’s also possible that the OP makes a big deal out of every medical bump, even those issues that are simply put on a”let’s watch and see” list, handled in-office, or handled on a quick out-patient basis. So, if Susie’s “been there” for the OP for years and years with support, dinners, driving to appointments, long phone calls of commisseration, etc., it’s possible that she long ago started feeling “used” by someone who may have more than a touch of drama queen tendencies. If that’s the case, I can kinda/sorta understand her temper tantrum about the cats although it’s too bad she let her feelings be known in such a childish manner instead of handling the situation sooner and more productively.

    If that’s not the case at all, it’s best that Susie be left alone to reflect on her behavior.

  • just4kicks December 10, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Please tell me you said, (all together now!!!) “I’m sorry, I cannot accommodate your request….”
    Did she ever call you to find out how you were doing???
    I hope you are fully recovered and a very merry Christmas to you!!!

  • Calli Arcale December 10, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Good grief. You’re well rid of Susie if she finally decides to stop interacting with you. She’s a leech, and a poisonous one at that. Her lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on your part; she could certainly have made arrangements to care for her cats while she is gone rather than waiting until the last minute expecting that her urgency would increase the pressure on you to say “yes”.

  • Jill December 10, 2013, 12:14 pm

    Wow – the term “cohones” comes to mind…. I would just ignore her message, OP. Not worthy of a response. I hope you’ve made a full recovery and am sorry your recuperation might have been marred by her thoughtlessness.

  • hakayama December 10, 2013, 12:21 pm

    So sorry, Dear LW, that for over a decade you’ve been friends with a moocher and a user, someone who expects others to literally subsidize her lifestyle, someone who has no regard for special circumstances of those who have the bad luck of being her friends…
    “Susie” most likely is someone who, after destroying property of yours, will not own up to restitution because “it was an accident”. She comes to expect favors, such as pet care, to be her natural right. Also, by ACTING dumb she gets people to come to her rescue. She KNOWS that folks will take pity on the poor cats, and will step in.
    What Susie refuses to face is that professional (as in PAID) animal care should be a part of travel budgets of responsible people. Also people with long work days do rely on pet sitters for dog walking and/or “cat scratching” needs of their beloved animals.
    Heavens protect us from the Susies of this world! I hope that you are finally and definitively free of her. Best wishes for continued recovery.

  • Evie3 December 10, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Susie sounds like one of the most selfish people on the planet. I’m glad she lives 45 minutes away–less risk of running into her ever again. I see no reason for you to ever be in contact with her again. She’s a nightmare.

    I hope you are now well after your surgeries. 🙂

  • haji December 10, 2013, 12:26 pm

    Wow! What a great “friend” you have there! I can think of at least a half dozen solutions to her problems than inconveniencing you and your husband in your considerably more difficult situation. Call the neighbors, leave the cats extra food, hire a pet-sitter, take the cats with her, or board the animals? Jeez!
    All the best to you and your husband during this difficult time. I hope you make a speedy recovery!

  • lkb December 10, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Wow! All I can say is:

    1. I sincerely hope that you have recovered and that all is well in your life now, medically, financially and all the rest.

    2. I would have dearly have loved to have heard the recent call from Susie, most especially your response, OP. If it had been me, it would not have been ehell approved in any way whatsoever. Sounds like you had two cancers — in the thyroid and Susie.

  • Cat December 10, 2013, 12:44 pm

    This woman is not a friend. She is a user. She uses people as her personal servants and is angry when her servants won’t perform their assigned duties.
    The best response to dear “Susie” is, ” I am sorry to hear that you did not make prior arrangements for your pets. Allow me to suggest that you research pet sitting services in your area. You will find they require you to schedule in advance. I have to go now. Good-bye.”

  • MichelleP December 10, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Wow. I’ve had friends like this. Drop her like a bag of bricks, and good on your husband for saying no.

  • Meegs December 10, 2013, 1:03 pm

    OMG that is truly appalling. I sincerely hope that you have decided to cut Susie out of your life at this point. No one, but no one, needs to keep someone like that around.

  • WMK December 10, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Care.com has a pet sitter section.

    But, then again, I get the impression that having to PAY for someone to take care of the pets was outside of the realm of possibilities.

  • acr December 10, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Wow. Just…wow.

    I hope your surgery went well and you find yourself in good health and good company!

  • girl_with_all_the_yarn December 10, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Let’s remove the obvious here and temporarily ignore the fact that she has no regard for your health or well-being. (Seriously? Who does that?)

    People who do not make advance preparations for pets should not have them. I have a cat and my mother has two cats and a dog. A week before she leaves, she has all of the arrangements for them secured. The only time I was blindsided by preparations was when I suddenly discovered I needed my home emergency heat treated (I am deathly allergic to bedbugs and I found one in the kitchen. Heat treating is the only 100% surefire way to get rid of them, but you can’t be in the house for about 8 hours, and pets need to be kept somewhere else overnight as literally everything dies. Your plants, any rodents in the floorboards, harmless insects… everything) so I had to rush to find a hotel that allowed pets to stay in for a couple of days. After a mad scramble with no luck, I found a friend whose roommates were cat lovers and whose landlord was kind enough to let my kitty stay for a couple of days. I stayed in a hotel that had no recorded bedbug issues.

    This woman quite clearly has no regard for anything – pets, other humans, possibly her house plants – other than herself. Cut all ties with her and never look back.

  • Ripple December 10, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Wow, that takes a lot of nerve to expect someone to drop everything at the last minute to take care of your cats because you were too lazy (or cheap) to plan ahead. IF Susie contacts you again to care for her cats (not very likely, but who knows?), tell her to look up pet sitters on the internet. For a few dollars a day, they will have someone come to her house to feed, water, and clean litterboxes while she is gone. I’ve used one in my area a few times and have generally good results. Cheaper than putting them in a kennel, and the cats are happier because they are still in familiar surroundings.

  • cece12 December 10, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Wow, OP, sounds like it’s high time to let Susie go gently into that good night. Hope you are in good health and surrounded by people with more consideration.

  • Shalamar December 10, 2013, 1:42 pm

    First of all, I’m so sorry about your illness, OP! I hope your situation improves soon.

    Secondly, I’ve encountered a similar situation regarding people and their pets. It’s like they’ve never heard of professional pet-sitters or kennels. My parents were once expecting friends to visit from out of town, and they went to a lot of trouble to get everything ready for their guests. These “friends” cancelled at the last minute because they couldn’t find anyone to look after Fluffy. (I believe the translation is “We couldn’t find anyone who’d do it for free.”)

  • Brenda December 10, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Woo hoo! Polite spine of titanium rules!

  • RC December 10, 2013, 2:48 pm

    Go you and your polite spine, OP! I hope things are going well for you now, both health-wise and financially, and that you have a lovely Susie-free life from now on 🙂

  • Kate December 10, 2013, 3:08 pm

    OMG!! I know Susie! Or at least her twin sister. My Susie called me the day I buried my father who had died of cancer crying because she thinks her cat had cancer. She even acknowledged her selfishness by saying something along the lines of “I know I shouldn’t be crying to you about this.” Ya think? I’m glad you got rid of your Susie. Mine is still in my life. Makes for good conversation.

  • Teapot December 10, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Seriously, Jewel??? You’re even considering blaming this on the OP????

  • mark December 10, 2013, 3:17 pm

    A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Cancer aside, I would only do something like that for my parents/siblings (and grudgingly at that). I don’t have any friend that I would drive 45 minutes(each way I assume) to take care of their cats for weeks on end. For me to do this would require compensation up front, and it would have to be cash, I would want mileage as well for my car, and she would need to sign a liability waiver. Besides if she has the money to pay for being out of town for several weeks then she has money to pay for the care of her pets.

    OP I hope your cancer is in remission. Congratulations on standing up for yourself.

  • Marozia December 10, 2013, 3:28 pm

    Thyroid cancer is hideous! All cancer is hideous! Sounds a bit like your ‘friend’ Susie.
    That woman has a hide like a rhino, to foist her demands on you while you are so ill and then berate you when you politely said you couldn’t accommodate her cats. You did and said the correct thing.
    Good riddance to bad friends and get well soon. We will pray for you.

  • PatGreen December 10, 2013, 3:30 pm

    One time I had to leave early in the morning and be gone for most of the week, the night before. I asked my best friend if she would help. Luckily she could and I invited her to spend the week at my house so she wouldn’t have to drive. On my trip I bought her a gift and afterward treated her to an evening out. Sometimes emergencies happen. The correct response isn’t to try to guilt trip someone into doing you a favor, but asking and being gracious afterward.

  • Miss-E December 10, 2013, 3:49 pm

    Even if you HAD committed, backing out to have cancer surgery is about as legit an excuse as you could ever offer!

  • MichelleP December 10, 2013, 3:53 pm

    @Jewel, what an interesting assumption you’ve made! I smell a troll. At least, I hope you’re joking.

    My mother had a similar situation with neighbors, not once but twice. My mom and our family have always had pets and always took excellent care of them. She was known as an animal lover. She had a neighbor she had spoken to all of one time, who lived in the neighborhood but a good half mile away, come to her door right before she (the neighbor) was leaving to ask my mother if she could feed and water her (3!) dogs for an entire week. My mother was stunned that this woman whom she barely had spoken to would ask such an enormous favor, and trust with her house keys! My mom did it, and never received more than a quick verbal thank you after the neighbor returned. After it happened with another neighbor, this one going out of town and leaving my mother a note asking her to look after a litter of several newborn kittens along with the mother cat, Mom never did it again.