Tough Decisions

Many of you know that I have a house cat named Kiki.  My daughter was given this nice kitty cat four years ago for Christmas, and it has been a great cat.

Until we moved back to South Carolina and bought an older home.  An older home that used to have other animals in it.  The smell of the other animals has ignited the stupid instinct to spray and mark its territory.

The cat has peed all over the tile floor of the laundry room.  It has peed all over a box of shipping envelopes for my book.  (Don't worry – I threw them away.)

It has pooped all over the new carpet.  And we decided that the cat was going to get ONE MORE CHANCE to stop being instinctive with its pooping and peeing.

Well, it seemed as if our cat was behaving and things have went OK for a couple of months.

Let me stop that story to introduce a new storyline.

A new kitten showed up on our back deck two weeks ago.  It was emaciated with its ribs sticking out and it had no tail.  Melea immediately fell in love with it and started nursing it back to health.  Me, being the sucker that I am, agreed that after a trip to the vet this new kitten could move in with us last Thursday.

Last Wednesday, the day before the kitten was going to move in, Jenn discovered that Kiki had been spraying FOR MONTHS in an undiscovered area.  The undiscovered area?  On our brand new carpet and TWO BOXES OF I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.!!!!!!  Now, I know some budget-haters would love to do what Kiki has done, but THAT WAS IT.

Kiki has been kicked outside.  The new kitten is not being allowed in the house.  I wanted to see if Kiki could fly through the floor at a very high rate of speed, but I kicked her out instead.

In spite of ALL of that, this was still a very hard decision.  You see, Kiki slept next to Melea every single night.  Snuggled right up next to her, purring so nicely.  Ever since Melea can remember, Kiki has been bounding around the house with her.  Now, Kiki sits outside in tropical storm Faye, meowing forlornly and totally confused as to why she can not come inside.

In spite of the fact that the stupid cat had ruined two boxes of books.  In spite of the fact that our new carpet smells like cat pee.  In spite of the fact that it had sprayed an entire box of shipping envelopes.  In spite of the tremendously annoying damage, it was still a very difficult decision.

It made me pause.  This situation helps me understand just a little bit more why some people can not bring themselves to make the decisions necessary for them to win with their money.  They KNOW that the car payments are peeing all over their ability to gain financial traction.  They KNOW that the credit cards need to be chopped up because they are stinking up their ability to win with money.  They KNOW that their finances are continually being trashed because they are unwilling to make a tough decision.

Folks – throwing out your eight year old daughter's cat is a difficult decision.  So is selling a car and taking a second job.  But I will tell you this – the relief I feel now that the decision has been made is AWESOME!

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  1. Saving Freak on August 27, 2008 at 4:40 am

    Is it just me or does that cat look innately evil? You may have some sort of demon possession problem on your hands there. Your best bet is to ditch the cat and get a dog.

  2. cockadoodaldoom on August 27, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Great analogy Joe.

    PS: Saving Freak: Cat’s are great! I have had more problems from my mom’s dog (who live’s with my mother) than I have had with the three cats that live with me in my appartment.

  3. Susan on August 27, 2008 at 5:40 am

    I absolutley LOVE this post. It is so true. Gave me a good chuckle this morning before starting the day ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. loyal reader on August 27, 2008 at 6:44 am

    You should see if there is a Cat Whisperer like the Dog Whisperer on National Geographic! Maybe he could rehabilitate your cat so she could come back in the house!

  5. Mike & Ann on August 27, 2008 at 6:48 am

    What a funny story….and relation to finances. Sometimes we can’t see the problem even when it’s piled up in front of us. Bills or cat P???.

    I love animals but learned long ago that they didn’t need to be in the house. I think God knew that too. He didn’t give them the skill set to build houses but gave them fur, hunting instincts and more to adapt and be outside creatures. Our caring nature brought them inside to domesticate them. So don’t feel bad. We have 2 big dogs that let us know when we have company. So they serve a good purpose and we feed them well, walk with them and love on them often.

    Hope you were able to salvage some of the books.

  6. chris on August 27, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Man. Hard decision.

    But the cost of undoing what the cat did will be staggering and ongoing if it was allowed to continue.

    But your analogy was on spot.

    Interesting read. Keep us up to date. I’m curious how this will turn out.

  7. Elaine on August 27, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I agree with “Saving Freak”, he does look a little evil. Story brought a smile to my face too!!!
    You have to be sure and let us know how it all turns out.

  8. jane on August 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I can relate…our cat went outside two years ago because of my allergies. And other than weeks like this when we get rain, he is happy to be outside with his two new friends. It was tough, but my allergies are SOOO much better because of it. And I’m saving $$$ on my allergy meds and allergist appointments ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Eric Hood on August 28, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Cat’s are pretty sneaky, they must be watched at all times. Avoid the drama and get a dog.

    Great analogy!

  10. dogatemyfinances on August 29, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Don’t be that guy who lets his cat rip up his neighbors’ cars and yards. I had the roof of my car repainted because of my jerk neighbor. I am about to trap the thing and have the inconsiderate jerk fined.

    Seriously, man up and get the cat a REAL HOME.

  11. dogatemyfinances on September 2, 2008 at 7:12 am

    I just blogged this. Please, don’t be that guy.

  12. PersianPenName on September 2, 2008 at 7:55 am

    We had a cat that did this, because he could smell other animals that had been hanging around. A simple enzymatic cleaner is all it takes to get rid of the new cat pee, AND all of the OLD cat pee that he is trying to compete with. It costs like $15/bottle, and you can do your whole house with it. What’s $15 after four years of companionship?

    Also, I hope you get the new kitten fixed, or you’re going to be having the same trouble all over again.

  13. debtdieter on September 3, 2008 at 1:13 am

    You don’t even bring the poor creatures into the garage or laundry during a tropical storm & you’re proud of the fact they’re outside crying to be let inside?

    What a heartless person you seem to be. Does being a good Christian only apply to other humans & financial matters or something?

    Take the poor cats to a shelter if you’re not willing to care for them.

    Pets are not disposable items, they are “God’s” creatures too, and your analogy of throwing a cat into the elements as a way of making tough choices to reduce debt is appalling.

  14. FruGal on September 3, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Um, how could your cat be spraying unnoticed for months in your house? I’m with Dogatemyfinances and Debtdieter here. Did you even try ot housetrain this cat before throwing it outside? Did you think about getting it neutered, which will reduce its instinct to mark its territory? You need to give it somewhere safe to sleep at night that is inside, otherwise it will cause trouble in the neighbourhood at night, killing wildlife, and wind up at the pound or run over. If you can’t give your cat the home it needs anymore, give it to someone who can. I’m appalled that you could advocate your disgusting behaviour at all, let alone as a good way to save money.

  15. modoz on September 3, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I too am appalled at this post-agree with FruGal 100%. Did you also stop to consider the example that you are setting for your daughter? Do you want her to be of the opinion that pets are disposable, and can be “thrown out” whenever you’ve grown tired of them and/or aren’t willing to put out an iota of effort-either work with the animal’s behavior or 10 minutes to drive it to animal control to be euthanized? Nice behavior to model, which I’m sure your kid has picked up on already.

    The reason why this country is currently in dire economic straits is primarily because of ATTITUDES about what is of value in this soceity. The easy road to what you desire immediately, regardless of future implications, has reigned supreme for many years. You sir, are showing that you value a box of books and a roll of carpet above the life of an animal that has shared your home for years and has been a good companion for your daughter. You write about personal finance and claim to have religious values, but yet clearly do not grasp the basic tenets of either system (ie; finding and cherishing that which truly has importance and meaning in people’s lives).

    Do yourself a favor and take both animals to the pound ASAP. Then you can-honestly, for once- tell your child that your family does not have the desire or inclination to deal with pets.

  16. Jamie on September 3, 2008 at 8:38 am

    How dare you Joe!

    How dare you be radical and take drastic steps keeping priorities and values solid every step of the way! How dare you teach people valuable, tangible lessons spending your own time to help others Win in areas that all their lives they’d been losing in! How dare you start a blog to help people – To Give – and have the readers crap on you, questioning your motives and even your personal relationship with Jesus!

    How dare you wear that Boilermakers hat so proudly!

    I’m #10 of 16 (at the time of beginning my comment) that thinks you are right on with your tough choice.

    Love you Joe! Keep crusading!!

  17. Frugal Vet Tech on September 3, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    So, instead of trying to fix the behavior you just kicked the cat outside and left it to fend for itself? In a hurricane? Pets are not disposable things – they are living animals that need to be cared, even if you don’t feel like it or it becomes inconvenient. If you can no longer care for the pet, or don’t want to, contact a humane society or animal rescue organization instead of kicking the cat outdoors.

    1)How could you not notice your cat urinating in your house for four months?

    2) Is your cat neutered? Neutering can help reduce spraying.

    3) Did you ever take the cat to the vet to see if the inappropriate marking and defecation was the result of a health problem or to see if the vet had any suggestions? Yes, I know vets cost money (so do doctor’s), but you have an animal and thus, a responsibility to take care of it. If you can’t care for it, see my above point about humane societies.

    4) Try using a special cleaner made for removing urine smell on the places the cat was marking. If the cat is marking in response to the smell of another cat’s urine, cleaning it up may help.

  18. Caryn on September 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Wow! I enjoyed this story, Joe, because I have been down the cat pee road more times than I can count. As an animal lover with 11 indoor/outdoor cats and spay/neuter freak I can say that spaying or neutering will NOT stop a cat from spraying or peeing indoors. Big myth! All my critters are fixed and still some of my male and female cats continue to ruin our home. It is totally possible to not notice something that has been sprayed for months. I learned long ago to store important things in plastic containers, yet I still often go to look for something and discover dried sticky cat spray/pee on the box. Our house is old and ALL wood, I mean walls, floors, ceilings…everything. And I have spent more money than I wish to remember on those miracle enzyme cleaners. If I had all that money now we would probably be debt-free already ๐Ÿ™‚ So far I have found none that truly work as they claim. We’ve accepted the fact that this house has been ruined by cat pee and look forward to the day when we build a new home (paid for with cash of course, after we become debt-free!) and NO cats will be allowed inside!

    Anyway, just wanted to put in my two cents here. And also say that I seriously doubt Joe’s cats were kicked outside to fend for themselves with no shelter, etc. I totally agree that pets are not disposable, if Joe were not a responsible caring guy he would have taken Kiki out to ‘the country’ and dumped her as so many idiots do! I feel sure Kiki and friend are still being fed, vetted and have someplace to get out of the elements! And I’m willing to bet that Melea goes outside a great deal to spend time with her kitties!

    Keep up the good work, Joe!

  19. LivingAlmostLarge on September 3, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Wow, I am a bit stunned that you put your cat outside. I’m even more stunned that you compared it to paying off debt.

    What happened to personal responsibility? And using this as a way to pay off debt? You should rehome the cat.

    It’s used to being an indoor pet and you throw it to the elements? Let alone you throw it out in a storm?

  20. Frugal Vet Tech on September 3, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    As a counterpoint for future readers (certainly not trying to start an argument here) – I have seen neutering help reduce spraying and I have seen (smelled?) it reduce the strong odor of a tom cat’s urine. Neutering won’t always fix that, but sometimes it will.

  21. Joseph Sangl on September 3, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for all of the feedback, y’all.

    Just to appease everyone (especially the haters that seem to be able to make a lot of assumptions about me from a single article) …

    The cats are neutered. They have shelter. They have food. They have their shots. They are collared and tagged. They have their claws. They are nice kitties. They purr regularly. They go to the vet regularly. They are healthy. I am a Christ-follower. God created cats to be OUTSIDE animals in the first place. I have seen ZERO examples of cats building themselves nice, climate-controlled residences. My daughter is fine and still gets to bring in the kitties when she is actively playing with them. We tried LOTS of ways to get her to stop spraying – zero worked.

    Have a nice day.

  22. Frugal Vet Tech on September 3, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks for the clarification. The tone of the post did not suggest that the cats had all of the above – it sounded much more like you had just kicked the cat and decided you were done with it. I’m very happy to here that isn’t actually what happened ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. dogatemyfinances on September 4, 2008 at 6:05 am

    My dog is an animal too, but if she uses your yard as a toilet, I clean it up. I’m the human. I would NEVER let her dig up your flowerbed, scratch up your car, rummage through your trash, or start a fight in the middle of the night.

    I just consider that being a respectful neighbor.

  24. Brandy on September 5, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    i cannot beoieve that youre so proud that you set a horrible example for your daughter and make her upset. you know this stuff stays with people and can make her resent you down the line. did you even try. you car more about “things” then a living creature. is that something to be proud of. when we first got dogs they ate some of my laundry. why? becuae i had i where they could get it. they taught me to be tidy and keep things put away. i do have a fixed male cat that sprays but i know its because i too moved into an older home where the pets before sprayed. i took up the carpet and replaced it ( and im just paycheck to paycheck not rich, i diy’d it) but i do love him more then i love any item. i understand wanting a nice home but at what cost?? you gonna put the kids out if they do stuff too??

    i love being frugal and all, but i dont think this is anything to compare it too. i think its a dark chapter in your life instead.

  25. Brandy on September 5, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    sorry joseph i didnt read above before i posted that you have them shelter and are still taking ok care of them. i just was worried about the thought of hearing a poor creature crying to want in in a storm and being denied that.

    we all were just worried about the cat.

    please do understand though that the cat may not know why she went from being inside to being outside. at lesat she has a friend in the kitten.

  26. chris on October 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    So is the kitty still outside?

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