The biggest regret of our marriage: our cat. And, yet, we love her and can’t imagine our life without her and could never, ever in a million years get rid of her. Seems like a contradiction, but I think all pet owners can understand how such feelings coexist.
Johnny and I are animal people. We are at the complete mercy of those lovable, furry faces, and kittens especially have the ability to throw all our rational thinking out the window and into the dumpster. Keep kitties away from me, I tell you, or I will take them all for my own!
And so it was that two weeks after moving to New York City, I found myself at a shelter a few blocks from our apartment ogling all the available kittens. I’d wanted one for a while, and Johnny had, too, but he likes to pretend he’s not a major softie. But he totally is. The timing just hadn’t seemed right yet. We had been in school, not making much money, and our landlords hadn’t allowed animals. But now we were in New York, out of school, and both working full time. And our landlord had agreed to let me have a cat despite the no-pet policy. Sometimes when I really want something, I can be somewhat charming and convincing.
After seeing all those kittens at the shelter, we were both goners. So we picked out the scrawniest one and brought her home with us. After 24 hours of refusing any of the five kinds of canned food I’d bought her, our new cat finally decided on a flavor she found edible. Thus, the name Persnickety was chosen — Persie for short.
And, thus, also began a new set of expenses.
Food and Litter: $30/Month
I wanted to slice these expenses in half by training her to use the toilet, but Johnny nixed that idea immediately saying it would make us too weird. I buy our food and litter in large quantities, so I really only need to buy it once every couple months, but it averages to be about $30/month.
We bought quite a few toys in the beginning, and then we found out that Persie’s favorite toys were yarn and candy wrappers. Go figure.
Damage Control: $50/Year
We quickly learned that our cat likes to scratch anything and everything that will get her attention. She stares us right in the eyes as she defiantly scratches as hard and fast as possible on our couch until we are within reach of her. These are the moments we regret our decision to get a cat. So we use Soft Paws on her, which are plastic caps that stay on her nails so that she can’t damage our belongings. And lint rollers are self-explanatory — fur, lots of it.
This money is mostly used for emergencies, like that time I stepped on her and thought I broke her paw. Persie limped around with one front paw in the air at all times, and just the sight of her could bring Johnny or me to tears. So off to the vet we went, and $125 later we found out she was just a dramatic kitty with no broken limbs.
Cat Sitting: $100/Year
If we’re just spending a weekend away from home, Persie is okay on her own with extra food and water. But for our legit vacations, our friends will check in on her each day. In return, we give them a gift card to a restaurant, movie theater, or favorite store when we return home.
Pet Deposit Fee: $500
One of the downsides to renting is pet deposit fees. In the three locations we’ve rented from since adopting Persie, only one place has required one (nonrefundable!). And it was a whopping $500! Ugh. But, we can’t live without her at this point, so we dished out the cash.
Broken Items: $???
Cat, dog, fish — whatever the pet, expect that precious items will get broken. I have come so close to throwing Persie out a window on multiple occasions, such as these:
- when she knocked over Johnny’s favorite and nicest guitar, splitting the neck
- that time she knocked the vase over that contained the sand and shells from our honeymoon, shattering it (and ensuring all the sand had to be thrown away)
- the occasion when she scratched at our wedding album until the cover was completely shredded
And, yet, despite her apparent determination to make us hate her, Persie is irreplaceable in our home. The payoff, and why having her is worth it, is found in moments like these:
So, to pet or not to pet? Is the financial cost worth the emotional reward? For us, the answer is yes, but at the same time, you won’t find us getting a second pet anytime soon.