Author Topic: Statements about my cat - rude?  (Read 7828 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

NutellaNut

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 399
Statements about my cat - rude?
« on: January 10, 2013, 11:19:43 AM »
BG 1: I am a Crazy Cat Lady in training.  We only have three cats, but I am very attached to them.  This is very obvious to all of my friends.  Our cats are part of our family.  Even my DH mourns tremendously when we lose one of our loved pets.

BG 2: One of our cats, Tristy, was thrown out of her house by neighbors and left to fend for herself for months, despite being declawed.  As she got skinnier and skinnier we began feeding her and adopted her.  We've had her for 3 years now; she is a snuggle-bunny and very attached to me in particular. 

Unfortunately, she also gets stressed when we go away for several days, which we do a couple times a year.  She took to peeing on the bed when we were away.  I coped by making a waterproof cover for the bed for when we were away (didn't want to shut her out of her territory and have her end up peeing somewhere else anyway).  She always stopped the peeing inappropriately within a couple days of our return.  But this last time, after August, she didn't stop.  She also started peeing on our living room couch.  My DH was extremely unhappy about her peeing on the bed, and I certainly didn't like having to wash all of the blankets, sheets, mattress pad, every couple of days.  The couch is not quite so bad because I got some waterproof pads and put them under an upholstery throw in the spot where she goes, which makes cleanup easier. 

Over the past few months, we've done some behaviour modification (ours and hers) - having active play time every day, changing the litter box configuration and cleaning them thoroughly more frequently (my DH's job, actually), and I'm relieved to say that things have improved a lot.  She's stopped peeing on the bed altogether, and tapered off eliminating on the sofa.  In fact <whispers> it's been almost two weeks since the last time.  Hopefully the situation will continue to improve.  I'm committed to helping her overcome this problem, and though my DH had some bad moments when she was still eliminating on the bed, now that he's seen improvement he also is happy that we're working on it.

My question is this:  several times now, when talking about the situation with friends or relatives, people have said things like, "If that was my cat, she'd be out on her butt in a heartbeat!" or "I'd kick her <ruder word for butt> across the room and she'd never do it again!" or even, "Time to put that cat to sleep!"  These statements really bother me.  I'm not diminishing how annoying this behavior is, and I do know that sometimes, drastic measures have to be taken.  I'm definitely OK with people making serious suggestions about how to handle this difficult situation.  But people were saying this flippantly and callously when I was talking about the research I was doing or the animal behaviorist I was trying to contact, to improve the situation, and making it clear that we were trying less awful options first.  And they certainly know how I feel about my pets.

So far, I've managed to mildly reply, "I guess that's easy to say when it isn't a beloved member of your family," and leave it at that.  I'm hoping things are so much improved that this won't be a matter of conversation any more, but if someone says something similar again, is there anything better I can say or do to make it clear I don't find such talk helpful or kind?

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 11:26:11 AM »
I think part of what those people are saying is that they don't really want to hear that much about it.

So the best solution is to not go into such detail about your cats' lives.

Think about this: If they WERE your actual children, would you talk in such detail about the fact that they wet the bed? I wouldn't; I'd respect their privacy more.

So if your cats are your kids, maybe you shouldn't reveal quite so much about this.


(and you *have* had her checked out by the vet, yes?)

CL32

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 11:37:09 AM »
Hi,

First, congratulations on the results of the behavior modification. I know that it takes a lot of patience and hard work. :)

I'm also a cat lady, and I love my cats as members of the family. I would rather sacrifice my carpet and furniture than get rid of a cat.

Anyway....I'd say that it's just not worth trying to reason with these people. What they say is rude and hurtful, but they just don't get it. Some people don't feel compassion for animals the way we do, and will never understand people who do. I think the best approach is to repeat, beandip, repeat, etc. Come up with a stock phrase, like "This is how we've chosen to handle it" or "Well, we feel differently", then change the subject. It's probably a waste of energy to keep explaining yourself over and over.

Good luck. : :D

magicdomino

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4538
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 11:39:39 AM »
My sympathies, NutellaNut.  I also have a cat with Issues. 

Fortunately, there are enough pet lovers among my acquaintances that they don't say anything really obnoxious -- that and I don't talk about Domino's problems to people who wouldn't understand.  If someone does say something, my first answer will be flippant:  "Eh, I keep him for his good looks."  "I enjoy the challenge."

More hostile comments get a cold stare and a dry, "Good thing he isn't yours, isn't it?"  Then I walk away.  I don't like that kind of people.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4105
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 11:45:40 AM »
I agree with Toots - it is very possible that you are over-sharing on this subject.  I really like that analogy too.   

We had a similar problem with my cat - we did not talk about it with others because we figured that it would hold no interest for them and quite possibly would gross them out.  Cleanliness in the house is a HUGE deal to us for religious reasons as well as my parents' way of living, so eventually they did give my cat away.  Didn't mean we didn't love the cat, it just meant we couldn't give her a good home anymore as we couldn't risk having her in certain key areas of the house. 

pearls n purls

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 210
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 11:49:44 AM »
I have a cat that often pees on the carpet.  My mother is driving me nuts because she keeps saying we should put him down.  (He did have some medical issues last year and about a dozen trips to the vet, and while his life span is likely going to be shorter, he's not in pain and appears to be a very happy kitty.)

I generally bean dip, but the comments upset me.  My mom has gotten worse lately as my dh and I will have a baby soon.  She send me emails complaining about the cats in my home and telling me what we should do about it.  Putting the cats down or kicking them out of the house are not options.

SiotehCat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3695
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 11:55:48 AM »
I think part of what those people are saying is that they don't really want to hear that much about it.

So the best solution is to not go into such detail about your cats' lives.

Think about this: If they WERE your actual children, would you talk in such detail about the fact that they wet the bed? I wouldn't; I'd respect their privacy more.

So if your cats are your kids, maybe you shouldn't reveal quite so much about this.


(and you *have* had her checked out by the vet, yes?)

I agree with this and I am a crazy cat lady.

I don't talk about my cats or my child unless I am with people that are genuinely interested. I guess that's true with everything. Movies, hobbies, family, etc...

I just dont think these people are interested.

Ambrosia Hino

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1165
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 11:59:25 AM »
I have one cat with some issues as well. And I have firm beliefs that when taking on a pet, its a lifelong commitment.

Kali used to pee everywhere. She prefered plastic-y things on the floor, but occasionally would pee on my bed. Finally, one day she did that while I was still sleeping in the bed, and I took her to the vet, because that just wasn't normal. Yes, it took me awhile, I was pretty broke at the time. Turns out, she had a rather nasty UTI that took several rounds of meds to knock out. Now, we have an agreement - I keep puppy training pads around the litter box, and when she doesn't like the look of it, she pees there (that started because of an elderly kitty who missed...now we just have one that unleashed chemical warfare in there). If its "too terrible" for whatever reason, she pees in my bathtub instead. The litterbox is changed regularly - sometimes she's doing this even just a few hours later due to StinkyKitty.

I've only had a few people make negative comments about her or any of my pets. There were a few during her "pee on everything" stage, which I just kept responding that I was trying to come up with money for a visit to the vet. The ones that used to be the least understanding, now have pets of their own (dogs, but still) and are "get it" now. I just started having long-term pets very early on (thank you Mom!)

NutellaNut

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 399
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 12:00:03 PM »
OP here!

I didn't mean to make it sound like I talk about this a lot - usually, the topic came up because a guest was about to sit on the couch, and I wanted to warn them to check that the couch was OK.  There was a time when things would be fine at the start of a visit, we'd leave the room, and the cat might go on the couch (not always possible to shut the cat away during a visit).  I was terribly self-conscious about the chance that someone could have their clothes soiled.  So I'd warn them to check, and I'd talk about how we were trying to solve the problem.   Should I have said nothing and let them sit down and chance them sitting on piddle?  It was a conundrum.   Now that it isn't happening so much, I don't feel the need to warn everyone the same way.

But the point is taken about not talking about it to people (which really has tapered off already, anyway).

And Nyachan, I apologize, I did not mean to imply that giving away the cat means you don't love them.  I know (better than some, I bet!) how difficult the situation is, and I really do recognize that sometimes really hard decisions have to be made.  My upset isn't about people who've had to make such a difficult choice, it's about people who heard about the problem and think it's OK to say very flippantly that I should boot my cat out of the house (letting her starve to death as a cat who can't hunt for herself) or just outright put her to sleep, when they know very well that such options would be really painful (if not impossible) for me to consider.

--  Oh, and we have taken her to the vet, who couldn't find anything wrong medically and said it certainly seemed behavioral.  I really think it starts because the litterbox isn't cleaned well while we're away.  Every time she's peed on the couch the last two months, the litter hadn't been cleaned in three days or so.  So we'll have to clean more frequently, and have the cat-watchers clean the litter when we're away.

(two replies while posting)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 12:05:44 PM by NutellaNut »

Bexx27

  • Striving to meet the minimum requirements of social acceptability
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1867
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 12:06:34 PM »
This is a sore spot for me. I probably wouldn't be able to help myself from launching into a spiel about how pets are not accessories, they're members of the family and a lifetime commitment, etc. Maybe not ehell approved, but I doubt I'd hear anymore about it from that person.

I do like the phrase you've been using and I see nothing wrong with adding, "I don't find such talk helpful or kind."
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

Jeremy

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013, 12:10:14 PM »
My question is this:  several times now, when talking about the situation with friends or relatives, people have said things like, "If that was my cat, she'd be out on her butt in a heartbeat!" or "I'd kick her <ruder word for butt> across the room and she'd never do it again!" or even, "Time to put that cat to sleep!"  These statements really bother me.  I'm not diminishing how annoying this behavior is, and I do know that sometimes, drastic measures have to be taken.  I'm definitely OK with people making serious suggestions about how to handle this difficult situation.  But people were saying this flippantly and callously when I was talking about the research I was doing or the animal behaviorist I was trying to contact, to improve the situation, and making it clear that we were trying less awful options first.  And they certainly know how I feel about my pets.

I'm not a cat person, but if anybody said those things about my dog who, bless him, has a few issues of his own, I'd be rather annoyed, and I'd tell them so.  It isn't rude to let them know that you don't like comments like about your pets, and could they please not say things like that again to you.

Piratelvr1121

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10804
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 12:14:16 PM »
I gave a cat away once not because I didn't love her, cause I did and still miss her as she was my first cat.  It was in college, and as I was moving cross country and had been told that cats got stressed out on flights so I gave her to a friend who was staying local since she knew the cat and the kitty was comfortable with her.  Well really my kitty liked everyone. I often said she was a confused cat who thought she was a dog.

I wouldn't even think of kicking a cat out of the house though, claws or no claws! 

And I think I'd be letting a friendship cool with those who said they'd kick the cat across the room.  >:( >:(

I know there are people who don't think as much about animals and they have the right to feel that way, but when they make the comments about harming animals, that upsets me.   Even if they're talking about snakes, which make me nervous but I still wouldn't want one hurt.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Eden

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 599
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 12:15:16 PM »
OP, I understand the hurt feelings and frustration. I'd probably be very judicious about how much I shared and with whom. Beyond that I'd probably respond along the lines of, "Good thing it's not your cat, then!" and change the subject.

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 12:22:20 PM »
I would react a little and say, "Wow, well yeah I wouldn't do that with my cats.  Bean dip?"


And change the subject.  No matter what others would tolerate or not tolerate, that isn't a pleasant thing to say about someone's pet.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Statements about my cat - rude?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 12:24:51 PM »
OP here!

I didn't mean to make it sound like I talk about this a lot - usually, the topic came up because a guest was about to sit on the couch, and I wanted to warn them to check that the couch was OK.  There was a time when things would be fine at the start of a visit, we'd leave the room, and the cat might go on the couch (not always possible to shut the cat away during a visit).  I was terribly self-conscious about the chance that someone could have their clothes soiled.  So I'd warn them to check, and I'd talk about how we were trying to solve the problem.   Should I have said nothing and let them sit down and chance them sitting on piddle?  It was a conundrum.   Now that it isn't happening so much, I don't feel the need to warn everyone the same way.

To be honest?  I'd want to leave your house right then.  Simply checking is not enough for me, I would not want to sit on an sofa in your home if you live in a home where sofas = pet toilets.  I would be really uncomfortable and honestly a bit insulted/resentful you had me over to begin with knowing you were going to offer me a sofa to sit on that your cat routinely urinates on.  Not everyone has a home appropriate for entertaining guests, and thats ok, but it not ok to not recognize you are one of them.

I am a cat person, and for 2 years I had a bag of lactated ringers solution hanging from a hook in my living room to give my now passed cat subcutanious fluids.  I get loving your cat and making your home appropriate for the cats medical needs.  But that doesn't make foisting your cat-urine home on others acceptable. 

So I really think people are reacting to that.  Its disgusting to even hear about the problem, but you are directly involving people in the problem - of course they are going to have strong immediate reactions!