December 11, 2014


Pet Cat

Dear Nikki,
My mom found a stray kitten on the street and she couldn’t bear the thought of him starving, so she took him home for me to feed him.

I thought she was going to let us keep him as a family pet, but I was wrong. The last thing I want to do is secretly bring him home. How can I get a kitten when my mom won’t let me? Should I wait for my birthday to ask, or wait until I score an A+ on a big test?

Dying To Finally Have A Pet

Hi Dying To Finally Have A Pet,

That’s so sweet that your mom brought that cat home for you to feed! But it’s also a bit of a tease. It’s like saying, “Here, I brought you this iPhone! Now play Candy Crush for a few minutes so I can bring it back!”

I’m glad you realize it’s not a great idea to sneak a cat into the house. Not only is it dishonest, it just plain won’t work!

I mean, you MIGHT be able to explain the rapidly disappearing milk with, “I’m a growing girl, and my bones need it!” But she probably won’t buy, “I heard cat food tastes just like chicken, so I stocked up!”

It seems to me that your mom would like a cat too, since she’s an animal lover, so she probably doesn’t need a special occasion or achievement to justify getting one.

I’m willing to bet she’s holding out for one of these two reasons:

-Pets take a lot of time and energy (and maybe she’s super busy)

-Pets cost a lot of money (and maybe she’s super broke or super cheap)

If you really want a cat, it would probably go a long way to tell her that you’ll help with these things.

And don’t just say, “I’ll help out a ton! Now can I have a cat?”

Like I told Fighting for Fido, it’s way better to be specific about what you plan to do, and when…like, “I’ll clean the litter box every night right after dinner!” (Or, if you want to get out of school the next day and don’t have the ingredients for fake vomit, do it BEFORE dinner! That would totally make me hurl!)

You could also say, “I’ll put some of my allowance toward the food!” Or, “I’ll do extra chores to help earn some money for cat toys!”

I’m not saying cat care + cash = guaranteed pet owner status, but it just might turn that “no” into a “maybe” that some day turns into a “yes.”

Do you have any advice for Dying To Finally Have A Pet?