What Money Cannot Buy

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Cats cannot really be owned.  Some people think they own a cat.  They would be wrong.  You disagree?  Sure – you can feed cats.  You can even close them up in your house.  You can provide a poop box for them.  You can groom and pet and love and name them.  But they are not yours.  You could even go all the way to full pretend-cat-ownership.  De-Claw.  But still, even then, you cannot own a cat.

The stray cat we have been feeding for some time just had kittens a couple of days ago.  I was telling my friend this over the phone while my 2-year-old wailed at my feet.  I was trying to explain to her why the screaming toddler at my feet was in ear-piercing anguish.  I shouted to her that I was trying to keep these kittens from being strangled to death and my little man did not appreciate these limitations.  She laughed at me.  “Another cat?  Where in heavens do you pick up all these stray cats?”

“I dunno.  They just show up…..what was I supposed to do?”

Not feed it – that might work.”

Well now.  There is an idea for you.  Not feed it.  I mean really.  The kids are always asking for some pet or another.  “Mom, can’t I just have a puppy, kitten, hamster, bird, fish, snake, tarantula….Mom – Please…..?????”  I find the best pets are those that you cannot reasonably call your own.  That is where the stray cat comes in.  They are at your door, half-starved.  They appreciate everything.  A little attention.  A little water.  A bowl of the cheapest, nastiest food Wal-Mart has to offer.  They can even appreciate the baby ‘carrying’ it proudly around like a new stuffed animal.  “Mom!  Can we keep this cat that we feed?”  My response:  “No dears, we don’t own this cat.  We feed this cat.  Nobody really owns a cat.”  They walk away – confused.

Stray cats will have kittens eventually.  We have spent a good amount of money spaying cats.  We had our first experience about 10 years ago.  We carefully took this black cat to a private veterinarian.  After paying over 70 bucks we gingerly carried her out to the car.  She took off.  Right there on the side of some highway into a field.  By the way, we didn’t have 70 dollars at that time.  Not really.  Yet somehow we managed to flush a fifty and a couple of tens right down the toilet.  We quickly learned about the mobile spay/neuter truck.  Twenty bucks and you’re on your way.  Deal of a life-time.  Unless you choose to simply not feed it.  That might come out cheaper.

So here we are.  Non-owners of 5 cats looking for the next spay and neuter truck to come along.

“MOM!!!!!  Can’t we just keep one of the kittens?????”

Tilt of the head.  Small smile.  Deep breath in.

“Sweetheart…nobody really ‘keeps’ a kitten….they just spend money they don’t have on them.”

And they walk away – wondering what that even means – perplexed by non-ownership.

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~ by pandmcox on April 5, 2010.

12 Responses to “What Money Cannot Buy”

  1. We actually did own cats. By the way, that black one wasn’t the one we brought you from the barn, was it? Please not? We owned several cats, in terms of spending too much money – but in being owned ourselves. The cats were ours – came back to us every night. Loved us. Followed us around and slept on our homework. Which did not preclude hunting. And hunting killed two of them. My parents got rid of the first one. We didn’t own him. He owned the house and he wanted two things: us out, except for my sister, who he yearned to eat. The last two lived with us for a very, very long time and died of old diseases.

    Even so, you can’t tell a cat what to do.

    • I know. People love them some cats. But I still say they cannot be owned. 🙂 At least…not in the way most people try to own an animal. I guess I just haven’t experienced the long-term cat. No, the black cat in the story was our first first first cat..back when I was pregnant with Blake. But….that cat you gave us did have kittens. But I thought you knew that. We tried to keep them. They died or left. We ended up with no cats. Until Bella. Then she left. Hmmm. Maybe it isn’t the cats. Maybe it is us. LOL.

  2. I love your posts! You are such a better human than I am. I am not a cat lover, nor a stray animal lover. I hate cats or dogs who “i am not feeding/own” that stray over to my flower beds or lawn and leave their scent -if you know what I mean.

    After listening to General Conference this weekend I came to the realization that I need to have more compassion. Definitely not one of my stronger points.

    • i won’t even list the things i need to improve on….i guess i have compassion for starving cats all taken care of though. now…time to work on compassion for my starving husband 🙂

  3. I’m not a fan of cats, I like kittens though. I think it’s because of their standoffish attitude. I’m not a fan of animals who leave “presents” in my yard.

    • i don’t like cats either…for real. they are so – rude. i am humanizing them…but oh well. i don’t love animal presents….poop and dead mice. ewwey.

  4. We have always been owned by a cat or two, but as I get older, I get less patient with the whole deal. I prefer an animal who loves me and wants to be “mine,” and not just live in my house and eat food that I buy for it. I have a chihuahua now who does just that, with oodles of affection, and I love her to bits.

    • i don’t know. that is what i have always wanted as well…except i am not convinced an animal could ever ‘love’ me. at least…not in human terms. i guess i am pet deprived. sad really. i do understand why we want ‘that pet’. it is a piece of nature. a piece of honesty. i want that. ho-hum….

  5. It’s true! I love your response to your children.

  6. I grew up with a cat that was a nursemaid cat. She loved me and cared for me. When I was sick she wouldn’t leave the room. She hated my mom so one day, I came home from school, and the cat was gone! Might have had something to do with the fact that I never cleaned the cat litter so she started peeing on the floor next to the litter box……

    Brian is a cat disliker. He doesn’t ‘hate’ cats but he doesn’t like them. I’ve tried convincing him that cats can be wonderful but so far……every cat we’ve ever gotten since married has turned into Satan’s spawn! Literally! So, I’ve not convinced him yet. But I know…….they’re out there.

    • Alright…they might be out there….what do you think the stats are on that? 1 in say…..1,000,000,000,000,000……….;) Satan’s spawn…that is funny. I kinda wish the animals we don’t own liked me though…

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