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Pets and responsability - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
Pets and responsability
I was pointed by a friend to this entry in the LJ of my roommate cabbitattack. For the sake of time, I'll quote it below:

I get home from vacation and find that the cat hasn't been fed for /two days/. Can we say "animal cruelty" and "neglect"? Say them with me children... I swear. That cat's nothing more than a toy to him--an expensive and noisy toy. He doesn't deserve a pet.

I wanted to follow up with a response in her journal, but it's set to allow replies from friends only -- since I'm not listed as a friend, I can't respond. Fair enough. So I'll paste the response I'd written here instead:

Is Ra noisy? Yes. Annoying at times? Most certainly, but most pets are little more than children in feather or fur suits, and children are by nature a bit frustrating. A toy? Not by any means. I would say that if Ra was only a toy to me I would not have dropped $1,800 in vet bills on him when he was sick last winter, and then gone through two months of hell with the steroids, antibiotics and Metachlopramide -- I would've simply had the vet put him down.

Current Mood: confused confused

19 thoughts or Leave a thought
roho From: roho Date: July 12th, 2002 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
As for the noisy part...he can't come close to matching the noise output of one of the other pets in the house ;)
feren From: feren Date: July 12th, 2002 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Noisy pet!

I never thought my fish were that noisy. Yeah, sometimes they throw really loud raves at three in the morning and the next day I find twenty or thirty beer cans lodged in the water filter, but everyone has to cut lose once in a while....
pogo101 From: pogo101 Date: July 12th, 2002 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Another neglectful owner here

We have twice in two years left our cats for two days (each time). It'd be nice if there were other cat owners nearby whose cats "knew" our cats; then we could leave our pets with theirs when we did go away on occasion.

But this is ridiculous. Cats are not dogs or otherwise so dependent as to render an owner's two-day absence on occasion "neglectful." Or if it does so render it, then most cat owners in the world are "neglectful."

Does this person smoke hemp? Jeeze.
feren From: feren Date: July 12th, 2002 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Another neglectful owner here

I feel bad about Ra going that day without food, I really do. I don't like knowing that he's in a situation that makes it so that he's not a happy animal. However, the extenuating circumstances were left out in cabbitattack's entry, and I didn't write about them in my response because I didn't feel they were the key part of the issue.

But, since the topic has been brought up....

For those who care, the problem was that I was leaving for Minnesota on Thursday morning, returning on Monday evening. That meant Ra got fed Thursday morning before I left, and wouldn't have presented a problem on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday but for the fact that both my roommates were out of state through Saturday afternoon. That meant he wouldn't get fed on Friday or Saturday mornings, but would get fed Saturday afternoon/evening when they got home. So I was faced with a few choices, which I spent a great deal of time agonizing over:

  • Let Ra go hungry Friday, knowing he'd be tended to on Saturday and the following days
  • Put Ra up at the boarding kennel
  • Put Ra up with roho and enveri since they were so kind and offered to watch him for me
  • Put Ra up with jenwolf's cat at her parents' place in Milwaukee

    I had those four options to chose from, and I knew that none of them were particularly good. Choice one ended up being the lesser of the evils because while he went hungry on Friday he was safe at his home in an air conditioned apartment that had plenty of water and distractions, and I knew Chris and Lana were returning Saturday afternoon/evening so he'd get fed then.

    Choice two was strictly out of the question because if I put him at the boarding kennel, he would have had to deal with the stress of being moved to a strange place, serviced by strange people, locked in a small cage and surrounded by strange pets who may or may not be diseased (this kennel puts up the strays the police locate and capture, who knows what's running rampant in their blood and fur). Additionally, that kennel has a proven track record of having no idea what the hell they are doing, and probably would have fed him something other than his prescription food and/or forgotten his medication. The result would be instant relapse from the stress and med/food problems.

    Choice three wasn't good because Ra had never met their cat (Ra loves other cats, most other cats don't seem to care for him in the least), and the space was totally unfamiliar. The good side is I know that he would have be tended to. I just don't know how Cailet would react to having her space invaded, and the stress from the relocation could cause a relapse.

    Choice four wasn't good because while he'd been there before, Jen's parents didn't pay any attention to the directions I'd left with them for tending to him while I was out in Minnesota for Christmas. He'd also be left with Jen's cat Stripe, who dislikes him something fierce. He was in relapse for three weeks after Christmas because of that, so I didn't want to run with that option either.

    So you see the quandry I was in. But I mean come on, I mean, let's put things in perspective here: I didn't like the fact that I had that choice to make, I didn't care particularly for the option I chose, but I stand by it because I believe it was the best choice given the options I had. I also think that Lana is overreacting just a wee bit on this. Yes, the cat went hungry for a day, but it wasn't as if he didn't get fed the next evening or was being neglected or abused.
  • feren From: feren Date: July 12th, 2002 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    I should also clarify one other point, because a lot of people don't know this: Ra's diet requires that his food be metered out in specific doses each day. If he's left too much food in his bowl he gorges himself and then he throws up because he over-ate. Thus I couldn't just fill his bowl extra heaping full to tide him over for the day that nobody was home.
    enveri From: enveri Date: July 12th, 2002 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    He also has to be medicated 30 minutes before eating, correct?
    feren From: feren Date: July 13th, 2002 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    It's not necessary with the steroids that he's taking, but with the Metachlopromide it was. I just do it because it was habit while he was on the other meds: medicate, wait and then feed. I like to think that continuing this habit helps things because it serves to ensure that at least some of the medication gets into his system even if he does throw up that meal.
    pogo101 From: pogo101 Date: July 12th, 2002 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    And actually, you're nicer, or more opposite-of-neglectful, whatever,

    than we are! I just don't get this two-day rule the roomie was talking about. My perpective is informed in part by my experiences with an ex-GF (we're now good friends). She was of the mindset that, if there were a horrific house fire and it meant **seriously risking her life** to go into the house to get her Budly and Petey, then she would do so! (I wouldn't, under those circumstances.) YET EVEN SHE left her cats for the weekend perhaps 5-10 times per year.

    Personally I think even your roommate doesn't believe it's abuse. More like, roomie resents YOU and your insistence on, say ... FILTHY DISHES not being left in the sinks on a regular basis? :
    roho From: roho Date: July 12th, 2002 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    And besides, if leaving your pet for a weekend with no food is abusive, how can the behavior of my parents' cat be explained?

    Every time they leave her for a weekend, they leave her a great big bowl of dry catfood. And when they return, they're greeted at the door with a very indignant "MEOW!" Only then does the cat go and dive into the bowl of til-then untouched food.

    Course, she's an odd cat, the only one I've ever known to fall down the stairs ;)
    enveri From: enveri Date: July 12th, 2002 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    I remember when Cailet was a kitten.. we went on what was supposed to be a weekend trip and due to car problems had to be gone for a full week.

    She was a hungry kitty by the time we got home, but she survived none the worse for wear. And it isn't like you take trips like this every weekend. :p

    In all the time I've known you, I've seen nothing but responsible loving behaviour towards that cat.

    It's my personal opinion that your roommates don't have leg 1 to stand on regarding the living arrangements in your apartment. If one person living there is such a slob (according to her, it's you), then move out. It's that simple. If it's MORE than one person, and she's the only "cleaner", then either learn to clean up after the roommates and quit bitching, or move out and quit bitching.

    In the times I've been to your apartment, I know whose mess I had to wade through to get to the couch. I think we all know.
    twanfox From: twanfox Date: July 13th, 2002 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here


    In this apartment, 3 people are generating the current state of affairs. Myself, Feren, and Lana. Who's mess is greater? Does it really f'king matter? I thought the whole problem was the cat, not the state of the apartment.
    enveri From: enveri Date: July 14th, 2002 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    The state of the apartment's been mentioned numerous times in her journal. In fact, There's only a few entries that I've seen (granted, I didn't dig back very far) that weren't quizzes or complaints. Why shouldn't I comment on that?

    As for you being drug into the discussion, I never once mentioned you by name, now did I? "They" being a pronoun to mean whomever is unhappy with the living arrangements. If you are satisfied, then it doesn't apply to you.

    All in all, if the shoe fits... Well. I'm sure you can figure out what to do with it.
    twanfox From: twanfox Date: July 14th, 2002 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Another neglectful owner here

    Ya, I guess you should comment on it. Whatever flips your lid.

    I'm fine with the cat having been left the duration he was without being fed. Whatever. My only concern was that he's fed so little now, unlike normal animals, extended durations without food may not be as easy for him to undergo as other pets may. I, too, have left a dog all weekend with 1 bowl of food while me'n my family went on a weekend trip. No big thing.

    And I generally use 'they' to be plural, and he/she to be singular entities.
    enveri From: enveri Date: July 12th, 2002 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
    Heh.. Why don't they just move out?

    I mean, you're such a slob, a horrible pet owner, and just all around hideous person to live with, according to their comments.

    Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
    twanfox From: twanfox Date: July 13th, 2002 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
    When, exactally, did I get drug into this particular matter?
    From: (Anonymous) Date: July 15th, 2002 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)
    I'm sorry, but it is cruel to leave an animal without food. Would you leave your kid for the weekend without food? I don't think so. I honestly think you could have made a better decision than the one you did -- because no matter how you slice it, no matter how your friends defend you, it is cruel. I've had cats all of my life and we've gone on vacations for a weekend, a week, even two weeks. And we managed to find some way to feed out cats the /entire/ time we were gone. Yeah, your kitty survived it. He probably could survive a long time w/o food, but it doesn't diminish the fact that it was /cruel/.

    But only you have to live with it. You and your kitty.
    feren From: feren Date: July 15th, 2002 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
    [Would you leave your kid for the weekend without food? I don't think so.]

    Oh, do spare me that tired old arguement. It has so many flaws in it I'm not even going to bother.

    [it is cruel]

    Says you, anonymous. I say that putting him in a strange environment and subjecting him to stress that would have left him throwing up and dehydrated for a week is far more cruel.

    Here, I'll make a deal - I'll call the Chicagoland Animal Welfare department and ask them if they want me to turn myself in because I was "neglectful and abusive" because I couldn't feed my cat for 28 hours or so. If they arrest me, I owe you an apology and a coke.
    feren From: feren Date: July 15th, 2002 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
    [I'm sorry, but it is cruel to leave an animal without food. Would you leave your kid for the weekend without food? I don't think so.]

    You know what? I've changed my mind -- I'm going to respond to this. Your comparison is flawed because it forgets to take some very key things into effect.

  • A cat is not a human being, so asking if I would leave a kid without food for a weekend is irrelevant. That leads me into...
  • Wake up and smell the coffee: Cats only are fed daily because we humans choose to feed them daily. Go watch some Discovery Channel or Animal Planet specials on big cats. Take particular note: do you see dishes of Whiskas left out for them? No. Do they have a regular feeding schedule? No. They hunt when they are hungry (or for the sport, but that is outside the scope of this commentary). Notice that just because the cat is on the hunt they do not necessarily make a kill. They may miss. They prey may scent them. They may not get close enough. Whatever the reason, a big cat can go a day, two days, three days or more without a meal. The same goes for kittens that are being weaned by their mothers -- if mom doesn't get a meal, the kids go hungry too.

    Feral housecats are the same. If they can't find a mouse, a rabbit, a pigeon or whatever, they can't hunt it. If they do hunt it, they may not make a kill and thus might go hungry that night. Barncats on a farm don't always find or kill a bird or mouse. Strays on the street don't always find a plump rat or a piece of pizza in a dumpster. Food is not a GIVEN. They have to work for it, it's not something that magically appears once or twice a day for them. Yet, remarkably enough, they seem to be doing just fine for themselves. Do you think that's cruel? Because if you do, I suggest you take up your case with mother nature....
  • enveri From: enveri Date: July 15th, 2002 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
    You obviously didn't read the part about Ra being a very ill kitty.

    You see, Ra has a digestive disease that causes him to vomit repeatedly when he overeats. Any undue stress causes him to vomit repeatedly.

    Now.. you tell me. What is in the best interest of the cat? Missing a meal, or spending days destroying the linings of his esophagus and mouth, dehydrating because he can't keep anything down?

    All things considered, you have come here and made yourself look extremely foolish. Something you could have spared yourself had you simply taken the time to think about what you were writing rather than having kneejerk reactions.
    19 thoughts or Leave a thought