Pets...are they a priority item in the lives of the poor? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

I don't WANT to come off as a pet-hater. I've HAD my share of pets, from three dogs at one time, a cat, turtles, snakes, birds, fish, etc., but I always made enough money to care for them.

The thing I DON'T understand is why folks who can't afford to put food on their own tables seem to think that having pets is more important than having food. Perhaps someone can explain this to me.

To cite a few examples, my niece was living on welfare for about a year. She had a young son and her husband had left her. My dad, [the benevolent grandparent] sent her $80.00 to help out. She used the money to buy a Persian cat. She already had TWO cats. SO's daughter couldn't pay her own bills. HE paid her rent. SHE had a cat. My oldest daughter gives me a list of food she needs whenever I go to Hypermart [about once/month.] She's had a cat for several years, and when she moved in with us for 10 months, we made the cat stay outside. SO said, "All I had to do was walk into Steph's apartment to smell the urine." He wasn't about to see HIS house treated that way. Now I've learned that my daughter has a snake...a boa of sorts. It was given to her free. They ALL were, from her cat to her dog to this snake, but this guy needs to eat mice every few days, and mice cost $2.00 each. He's outgrowing his acquarium. She can get a huge acquarium for free, but she needs to line it, and the lining for such a huge cage can cost up to $40.00. Of course that lining doesn't last forever. Her cat needs to go to the vet also for a rabie shot.

Add all that to the fact that her ex-roommate left his dog at her house after he moved and the fact that the dog ate the cords off all the air-conditioners, etc., and these animals add up to quite a bit of money.

Where is the logic here?

-- Anita (, July 26, 2000


Anita...if you don't get it then you simply aren't a pet person. I know people who will starve so that their pets will eat. It's a sort of therapy for some. Pets give unconditional love. Love that people often cannot give. Of course they can cost you. But I as well as others think it to be well worth it. I do believe you should be able to provide proper care and nutrition though.

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), July 26, 2000.

I'd say let the snake eat the cat and pet the dog

-- just your average (cat, July 26, 2000.


Can't give you references at this late hour; but I think that it is called mental health logic and stress reflief logic.

It is interesting that I know more about your family than I know about my own. My nearest relative is 1000 miles away. You are on my moniter.

My stress controlling cats and dogs send their best.

-- DB (, July 26, 2000.

I agree Cin. Home isn't home without a furry or two waiting for you.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (, July 26, 2000.

Here's a guy who is serious about his pet...petgate

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), July 26, 2000.

I would agree with Cin and Tarzan, in that I LOVED my dogs and hated to see them die when they did. Comfort IS nice, but *I* was in a position to care for them. What bothers me is folks that are NOT in a position to care for them [AND themselves], and end up leeching off of others to help THEM pay either the rent or the food bills while THEY spend their money on the pets. I suppose my opinion stems from a strong belief in personal responsibility. I feel that if one can't be responsible for their OWN life, they shouldn't take on the life of another. It's, perhaps, for this reason that I feel that decisions of abortion should be made by the female involved. If one KNOWS that they can't get their OWN ducks in a row, why would one assume the responsibility of getting someone else's ducks in a row?

Pets are a HUGE responsibility, second to children. If one has pets BEFORE one has lost a job, etc., I can certainly understand why they'd do anything within their power to keep the pets healthy at their own expense. What I CAN'T understand is why one would sacrifice shoes for their child or the rent or food on the table in favor of purchasing ANOTHER pet they can't afford, or taking in ANOTHER animal that they can't afford.

-- Anita (, July 26, 2000.

Anita - What bothers me is folks that are NOT in a position to care for them [AND themselves], and end up leeching off of others to help THEM pay either the rent or the food bills while THEY spend their money on the pets.

Two words: Tough love. If you're the one being bled (they've got your number and know you're an "easy touch" 'cuz you're a big softie for critters) you need to stop being the co-dependent enabler. Cut off the funds and you'll see those folks changing their getting rid of a critter or two. Of course those wayward fur-balls may ultimately end up having a permanent home with *you* when all is said and done, but at least you'll enjoy all the benefits and joys of loving another furry friend while you pay for its upkeep and you won't be so pissed of for being taken advantage of.

Professional advice: Twenty-five cents, please.

-- LunaC (, July 27, 2000.

Interesting, Anita. I think the problem in part centers around the inability for some people to manage many or most aspects of their lives in a responsible manner. Some people seem to have no impulse control (or common sense): they see, they want, they buy (on credit or borrowed funds meant to pay the rent).

Most of the "poor" people that I know earn a heck of a lot more money than I do, but they never seem to have anything to show for it. Their credit cards are maxed so they simply apply for another card. They spend $10,000 on central air that they never turn on because they can't afford the electric bill. They take up new, expensive hobbies and soon grow bored or broke, so the scuba gear, climbing equipment, and in one instance an ultra light collect dust in the garage. They stress and cry because they can't pay the mortgage, so they go out and buy a new stereo... or a puppy to make themselves feel better.

Pets just fall into the category of the latest fun toy that they cannot afford and soon will grow tired of and then some sucker like me will take the poor thing off their hands. Why is it always the pet they don't want, how about passing that new stereo my way? Critters I already have coming out of my ears, including a disabled Dachshund in a wheelchair and a $7,000 Rottweiler if you include the multiple surgeries to repair her hips and major joints. At this point I *am* just about in the poor house so I will let you know what motivates me once I get there!

-- Grace (, July 27, 2000.

People have children that they cannot provide for.

So it is no surprise they acquire pets they cannot feed.

-- (retired@nd.happy), July 27, 2000.

I agree, Grace.

Many people view pets as a fashion accessory, to be bought and thrown away as fashion trends change.

An out-of-style bangle gets recycled at a garage sale. An out-of-style dog gets recycled at the pound mortuary.

-- (retired@nd.happy), July 27, 2000.

Jezzus Krist Anita! Are you a snob or what? How dare you diss poor people with your bigoted blanket statement. The relatives with the most money are the biggest leeches I know. How do you think they piled it in?

So what? You have a mooching relative. I can't believe you made that statement "Pets...are they a priority item in the lives of the poor?" Has nothing to do with being poor. Most poor people have fallen on hard times. Could be a job loss. Could be medical problems. Could be the death of a spouse. Could be from being ripped off by assholes.

Pets cost very little to feed unless you have an exotic animal. 2 bucks will feed a cat for about a month. Studies have shown they are stress relievers and have tremendous effects on the well being of the elderly.

Did you start this thread to bitch about your leeching relative or diss poor people with your bigotry?

-- (, July 27, 2000.

***Many people view pets as a fashion accessory, to be bought and thrown away as fashion trends change. An out-of-style bangle gets recycled at a garage sale. An out-of- style dog gets recycled at the pound mortuary.****

Geez isn't that true. Having a pet should be a lifetime commitment. The animal shelters are just over-flowing with unwanted animals. When I lost my cats, I went through 3 shelter just to make sure someone hadn't taken them in. I literally cried. I wanted to take them all home because I knew they were frightened and confused and I knew what was going to happen to them. An animals life is so unfair sometimes. =o(

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), July 27, 2000.


I oftentimes wonder where I went wrong here. While raising my three kids, I told them "extras" were THEIR responsibility. I provided the roof over the head, the food on the table, and a reasonable wardrobe. If they wanted the expensive clothing, they had to foot the bill by obtaining a part-time job after school. While they had to work in the house to "pay" for their room-and-board, I guess I didn't make it clear that these things necessary for survival had the highest priority.

I won't take her pets. If asked, my answer would be the similar to the answer I gave my other daughter when she asked, "Mom, if I got pregnant, would YOU raise the baby?" She knew several mothers who did this, and my answer was a flat out NO! Why would *I* want to take on a responsibility made by your poor choices?

"Did you start this thread to bitch about your leeching relative or diss poor people with your bigotry?"

The folks I'm discussing aren't poor because of circumstances outside of their control. All three of these girls could command a supportable wage if they just increased their education level. I'm probably more lenient on my own daughter simply because she IS going to school and part-time pay doesn't leave much to pay rent, food, etc. I have no problem helping out in the food department if she's trying to help herself. If her wages are mainly spent to support "comforts" she can't afford, however, I have a problem with that.

There's no doubt in my mind that pets provide comfort and unconditional love. Have you listened to discussions with teenagers that want to have babies? "I want someone that will love me, someone that will be MINE." Pets are particularly effective for the elderly that have lost their mates of XX years. Cherri bought her dad a cat after her mom passed away, and felt it lifted his spirits tremendously.

BTW, my parents were poor, and we didn't have any pets when I grew up with them. They had all they could do to put food on the table sometimes, as strikes at the steel-mill where my dad worked were anticipated and they knew they had to save for those "lean times."


I've wondered if this phenomenon stemmed from impulse. SO and I were both married previously, and in both marriages, WE paid the general bills while our mates spent their incomes on EXTRAS [typically impulse purchases.] We feel like "heels" when we don't want to help our kids if they're in financial binds. After all, we took on these lifetime responsibilities. We oftentimes think of getting a dog. We've both had them before. The more we think of it, the more we realize that the responsibility is something we don't want to absorb. To be honest, I don't even want a PLANT. I had over 150 of them at one time in my life. I call it realizing my limitations.

-- Anita (, July 27, 2000.

We should promote cockroaches as pets! There are plenty to "go around" and they will eat the going to the petsmart to feed these interesting and loving pets.

-- jainist (xx@xx.xx), July 27, 2000.

thanks jainist

my kind have been around for over 350 million years but never appreciated by the humans who have only been around for a little over 4000 years.

BTW we will be around after people are "long gone"!!

-- cock roach (sewer@garbage.ed), July 27, 2000.

Okay, let me tell you this cute story about my cat, Snowflake, and my dog, Fancy. Whenever I leave for work these two loveable friends get busy with this special trick:

They team up


as far as I can figure,

Fancy, gets the door open to the bedroom, (I'm speculating)

And lets Snowflake in with her...

Then, I'm guessing here,

Snowflake gets revenge on me for leaving her alone all day,

And Fancy does what dogs do best. Here it is (as best as I can figure):

Fancy likes to sleep under the covers with me, but I don't let him do this while I'm away. He sneaks into the bedroom while I'm watching t.v. sometimes, if I'm not watching, and pulls the covers off the bed, and curls up on a pillow. So,

I think Fancy gets the covers off the bed first, And then Snowflake, The rascal that she is,

she Poops all over the sheets!

I had the hardest time figuring this out, because, Fancy, I think, must be licking the poop off the sheets. So, when I get home, there is only a faint brown stain left from the days activities!

I got a lock for the door to the bedroom, but now Snowflake and Fancy have taken this trick to the sofa, loveseat, and sometimes the carpet.

I don't know what to do to break these two rascals of this habit!

Does anybody have any suggestions? I can't scold Snowflake when I get home because the "evidence" gone. I thought if I changed her food to something less rich, that Fancy wouldn't be as tempted to eat the poop. It hasn't worked, and Snowflake would rather starve than change brands.

Does anyone know how I can break (gently)Snowflake and Fancy of this silly habit/trick?

-- I have two furry friends that have this crazy trick they invented while I'm away at work! (, July 27, 2000.

Telecommute? 8-)

Seriously, unless you catch them in the act, you're going to have a hard time actually retraining them. How about trying some new distractions for them? Leave a radio on low, fill a safe bone with peanut butter, acquire some cardboard boxes, tape them together into a tunnel and hide a catnip mouse in the bottom...

In the meantime, cover your couch and good chairs with old sheets sprayed with bitter apple or other scent (Pet's Mart, etc) might have some useful products along those lines. I used to have a velvet couch and kept my friend's dog-haired covered blanket over it, which kept the cats off. Then I finally got rid of the thing and bought a "cat- proof" couch.

Good luck! Keep us updated.

-- (, July 27, 2000.

wow kb, I never saw you as a velvet-couch kind of guy.

-- cin (cin@cinn.cin), July 27, 2000.

The couch was a freebie from my aunt's estate. I'm really *not* a velvet couch kinda guy. Trust me on this. I am cheap, however.

-- (, July 27, 2000.

It certainly sounds like your pets are bored, as kb8 suggested. A well-known symptom of boredom in dogs is when they eat their own poop.

kb8 gave good suggestions to keep them occupied and busy while you're at work. To keep them off your bed and couches (and other off-limits places), you could try electrified pads. Those pads work in the same way as "invisible fences", giving a very mild electric shock (the pet wears a special collar) which discourages the pet from aproaching the area without any harm to the pet. The pet learns quickly to avoid the pad (or the area fenced off).

At the same time, you could also teach your dog to do his business into a specialy designed for dogs litter, for those times it needs to go but nobody's home to open the door.

-- Pet Shrink (is@your.service), July 27, 2000.


There are products on the market that you can add to your cat's food that supposedly make her feces taste awful. They are made specifically for the type of problem you are experiencing.

Talk to your Vet - he or she should have what you need - or try one of those pet superstores if you have one nearby.

Good luck,

-- Jim Morris (, July 28, 2000.


I found the product:

Check out Doctors Foster & Smith. You can order a free catalog from them.

They sell a product called For-Bid.

Here is the description:

Stop stool eating with For-Bid, just sprinkle on pet's food to make stool highly unpalatable so that your pet will avoid it. Vegetable protein and sodium glutamate work in the digestive system to give stool a bad taste. For-Bid can be used on dogs, cats, and horses.

Dosage: Mix one packet with food daily until behavior stops, and one packet with food every 3-4 days after for long-term control. Packets are 8 grams each.

For-Bid, 12 Doses - - Price $13.99

-- Jim Morris (, July 28, 2000.

Pardon me Jim, but what you're suggesting is to treat the symptoms, and not the cause. If the dog stops eating the poop because of bad taste, he'll find another way to pass the time which is just as bad. Like perhaps bite himself raw.

People who work full-time should not own dogs unless they have some other way to provide them with attention, like a daycare pet service. Cats don't seem to mind as much being alone all day.

-- Pet Shrink (is@your.service), July 28, 2000.

Anita, I know you're just speaking your opinion which is fine but... Who cares how people spend their money and for whatever reason. (Deja vu with the Y2K preppies). Poor as well as rich are entitled to live their lives however they choose by whatever means (legal).

I'll take this one step further. My daughter's sister-in-law is pregnant again. Wonderful Mozeltof But she already has five, her SO has a low paying job and she (of course) doesn't work. They are always talking about how poor they are and expect handouts. Their youngest child, beautiful little boy, is 17 months old. This woman just loves to be with child. Makes no sense to me. But that's just my opinion.

People all around the world don't behave the way I or you do. That's life.

-- Maria (, July 28, 2000.

Maria - I believe Anita's complaint is that some irresponsible people insist on spending OTHER people's money to support their luxuries.

-- LunaC (, July 28, 2000.

I'm just trying to help, Pet Shrink.

-- Jim Morris (, July 28, 2000.

You did help, Jim. I passed along your post to a friend of mine whose dog is emptying the litter box of the two cats she's sitting for this summer. This lab is normally a well-behaved pet with plenty to do, but he's taken a fancy to cat poop. Our local PetsMart does carry a similar product. Many thanks!

-- (, July 28, 2000.

Glad to hear it, kb8um8. I hope the products works for your friend.

-- Jim Morris (, July 28, 2000.

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