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My step-daughter and her cats (rant)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Warning ... rant!

I posted back last fall when my 22 yr old SD (who is now 23) moved back in with us. She had broken up with her b/f, maxed out her credit cards, yada yada, basically had crashed and burned with her independent life and so she appeared on our doorstep. One month later her two cats Izzy and Bella arrived too. So that was the end of us using our own guest room. And of course she let her cats wander all over the house and made no attempt to manage the dog/cat introductions.

This is someone who considers herself a cat lover, well by my standards she isn't. Never mind that with all the cash she has for junk like cell phones and Victoria's Secret, she somehow never found the money to pay for these two little ladies to get fixed (she thought it might be cute to let them have kittens) , or that she never trained them to stay off of countertops (I don't need the poo-poo paws on my dining room tablecloth, thank you) :, her idea of taking care of them is to dump a bag of cat food into their feeder once a week and scoop the litter box once every other month (but only if her father reminds her). Of course since she free feeds her cats, MY cat Brady found his way downstairs and has taken to emptying out their feeder, so he has put on way too much weight, and she refuses to keep the door to "her" room closed like I asked.

Well now she has moved out as of a few weeks ago - sort of - after almost five months of being in Parents Hotel. Someone she works for part time has a spare room so she is paying them $200 / month rent. Also she has a new b/f that she has sleepovers with at his place. Her junk is still in the room, and her cats are still here. Supposedly she is going to come get them when her new landlord "gets a door for her room." One of her kitties has gone into heat and I was amazed to see a strange cat show up on our deck (keep in mind I have a dog who takes his yard patrol duties very seriously) and we live out in the boonies way up a dirt road. I guess the smell of a cat in estrus must be pretty powerful! We haven't seen or heard from her in 10 days and she can't be bothered to answer her phone. Hubby has started feeding her cats and as usual I'm the one doing litter box duty.

I am getting the feeling thet she has either abandoned them or thinks that by now we won't mind adopting them so she can continue having a good time. This is about the same thing her older sister did a few years ago when we threw her out at 22, she abandoned the psycho cat she had picked up a few years before when she was a teenager and thought it would make a nice pet. With two dogs and one cat that my husband and I already have, we are at the limit of what we can reasonably afford as far as feeding, vet care, and time commitment. I am seriously wondering where this is headed. They are perfectly nice cats so I don't like the idea of having them PTS. If I take them to a shelter, I end up being the bad guy since I will have voluntarily given up an animal. Has anyone else been through this? Dealing with abandoned pets from kids with a limited sense of responsiblity?
post #2 of 26
You say it took her a month to bring the cats to your place, well it might take a month or so for her to get them from your place to her new place. I could not in good conscience take two perfectly healthy cats that did nothing wrong to a shelter because of her owner. I just could not do that. I would figure out some way to make it work until their owner came back for them or until you had word from her directly that she does not want them back. And if she does say that and you can not keep them I would spay and then try to rehome them.
post #3 of 26
I really feel for you and from what my own family has gone thru and still going thru, I have to say I am glad I don't have children. I'm not saying all turn out irresponsible because there are so many good ones out there but there are many bad ones too. I would find out where she lives and take the two cats to her and just leave them there, after that it will be her responsibility, not yours. Parents should not always have to pay for the mistakes of their kids, it's just not fair, after all she is an adult, a child is another matter completely. Hope every thing turns out well for you and the kitty's.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping View Post
You say it took her a month to bring the cats to your place, well it might take a month or so for her to get them from your place to her new place. I could not in good conscience take two perfectly healthy cats that did nothing wrong to a shelter because of her owner. I just could not do that. I would figure out some way to make it work until their owner came back for them or until you had word from her directly that she does not want them back. And if she does say that and you can not keep them I would spay and then try to rehome them.

This is exactly what I would do too. I couldn't take them to a shelter. I would get them fixed and rehome them. It's not the cats fault they are stuck in this situation.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Just for the record they are really very sweet cats, and if we had more time and financial ability to take on more pets I wouldn't mind taking them on. But how do you rehome cats when the shelters here are overflowing with them as it is? I have a friend at work whose wife fosters for one of the local Humane Societies. At any given time she has about 15 cats, mostly nursing kittens in her home. It seems totally hopeless and I am so toally angry that this kid is once again making her problem into our problem. I really don't enjoy being the bad guy just because I try to stay within my level of responsibility.

If we take the cats to where she is living now that is passing the buck to her new landlord. I don't feel comfortable dumping this mess on a total stranger. Also he has a dog (she has dogsat for them) and I have no clue how they might get along so I don't feel comfortable putting the cats in that situation (not that she would do anything to manage the introductions if and when she finally takes her cats). She had also mumbled something about maybe joining her b/f if he moves out to Utah and knowing her she sees us as a free cat hotel for her kitties.

I guess at some point we give her an ultimatum and tell her if she doesn't retrieve her cats by such and such a date we will deal with it. This is probably why she isn't returning hubby's phone call she knows the day of reckoning is coming and is trying to avoid the bad news. Cripes I wanted to clean up the room (there was red wine spilled all over the carpet along with broken glass) but I don't even want to do that since the kitties thiink of that room as their home.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
If we take the cats to where she is living now that is passing the buck to her new landlord. I don't feel comfortable dumping this mess on a total stranger.
I'm glad you see it like that 'cos I agree.
It's not your fault you can't afford to take them on and get them spayed etc. Cats cost a fair amount of money to look after properly, and at least you're being responsible to your own pets.
I you should still wait for a bit to see what your step daughter is going to do. Personally, I'll bet she's going to head out to Utah.
post #7 of 26
Set a limit on how much time she has to take them back on and if she fails that date, tell her she needs to give you money to have them spayed so you can rehome them. The threat might be enough for her to take action.

I haven't personally had this situation but my SIL did. Someone went on vacation and left their unneutered male at her house. She called and gave them a time limit to pick up their cat and they didn't. So she had him fixed and eventually he came to live with me.
post #8 of 26
You think the cats are bad? Wait until she dumps a baby on you for you to take care of in all your spare time.

Seems to me like this is a behavior you need to nip in the bud, although it may be too late already, and it's not going to be pleasant for her kitties.
post #9 of 26
If she hasnt had them spayed, cleans their litter boxes every other month, hasnt even been there to see them in 10 days, she is a negligent pet owner, regardless to her saying she loves cats. She is not a responsible person to have cats. I wouldnt for a second give these cats back to her. I would say she abandoned them.

I would look on petfinder.org and look at the rescues in your area and get on an email campaign to find them a rescue group that can afford to have these poor girls spayed and will find them homes they deserve to be in.

These helpless cats have no one to rely on but you. Not cleaning a litter box like that can cause health issues for them, as well as not having them spayed. For a cat to go into heat and not mate is a very stressful thing for a cat. Very sad for these girls.
post #10 of 26
I'm going to say something here and you can tell me to go jump in the lake if you want, I would understand. Never mind this girl training her cats, she's the one who needs some discipline. I don't know your situation, but she sounds spoiled, childish and immature. Has she been allowed to get away with stuff her entire life? Sometimes these are personality traits that are so hard wired into the person that there is NO changing it. Sometimes its upbringing, sometimes a combo.

I see a similar sitch with a friend of mine who is the "good" auntie and is always bailing out her largely ungrateful and manipulative niece. And I told her so. Nicely, of course.

Man - I would soooooo put my foot down with this girl! What role does her dad play in all of this? Is there a birth mom? I agree - give her deadlines ... reasonable deadlines and STICK to them. Otherwise she won't learn and will continue to to "play" you and you will continue to feel used and be angry.

And if what's in the best interest of the cats is to fix them and rehome them, then I would do that.

And I agree with Mike (mrblanche) -- what happens if she tries to dump a baby on you??? If she is that irresponsible, that is a very possible scenario. It's never too late for some tough love.
post #11 of 26
I would probably end up keeping the and having them properly vetted if I could afford to. If not, I would try to do as much vet-wise as I could and try find a decent home for them without involving a shelter. SD would here exactly what I thought about her and I doubt she'd ever want to come back to my house.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice and moral support!

Just a reminder here that this is not my kid - I came into this family when she was 16 and was a full time juvenile delinquent. I like to think I've had some positive influence but there ain't much you can do as a step-mother to a teenage daughter. The time for nipping in the bud was probably 15 years ago, well before I knew her dad. AddieBee I am with you on this, I think she AND her sister got it from mom, who as a female adult figure by the way was NOT a hard act to follow - a drunk and a bum - enough said. Suffice to say that I think I would have been a much tougher mom than either one of her parents but it's always easy to criticize other people's parenting so maybe I should shut up. Dad sees the problem but tends to hope for the best until things blow up and then all heck breaks loose. I'm between a rock and a hard place sometimes since dads seem to have a blind spot when it comes to their little girls. If this were my flesh-and-blood I would have read her the riot act long ago. Don't scare me with the spectre of her dumping a baby on us! If I have any say it'll go up for adoption before we put ourselves through that!

Anyway back to the cats, we've already had to get flea treatment for them (somehow they had gotten fleas at her apartment even thought they are indoor-only cats ), and I was happy to see that the chewed off areas at the bases of one of their tails have gotten better. Yes they are relying on us and neither hubby nor I are cold-hearted people, and I bet that the kid assumes that her kitties are in good hands with us, which is why she hasn't bothered to show her face or return her father's call. Maybe we can find low cost s/n around here and at least get that taken care of.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
Thanks for the advice and moral support!

Just a reminder here that this is not my kid - I came into this family when she was 16 and was a full time juvenile delinquent. I like to think I've had some positive influence but there ain't much you can do as a step-mother to a teenage daughter. The time for nipping in the bud was probably 15 years ago, well before I knew her dad. AddieBee I am with you on this, I think she AND her sister got it from mom, who as a female adult figure by the way was NOT a hard act to follow - a drunk and a bum - enough said. Suffice to say that I think I would have been a much tougher mom than either one of her parents but it's always easy to criticize other people's parenting so maybe I should shut up. Dad sees the problem but tends to hope for the best until things blow up and then all heck breaks loose. I'm between a rock and a hard place sometimes since dads seem to have a blind spot when it comes to their little girls. If this were my flesh-and-blood I would have read her the riot act long ago. Don't scare me with the spectre of her dumping a baby on us! If I have any say it'll go up for adoption before we put ourselves through that!

Anyway back to the cats, we've already had to get flea treatment for them (somehow they had gotten fleas at her apartment even thought they are indoor-only cats ), and I was happy to see that the chewed off areas at the bases of one of their tails have gotten better. Yes they are relying on us and neither hubby nor I are cold-hearted people, and I bet that the kid assumes that her kitties are in good hands with us, which is why she hasn't bothered to show her face or return her father's call. Maybe we can find low cost s/n around here and at least get that taken care of.
Good - I am glad that you understand that I wasn't chewing you out or anything. That's what I meant when I said I didn't know what the sitch was. I just think sometimes that adults take the easy way out with their kids and issues grow and grow until they get out of hand. Little kids = little probs; Big kids = big probs.

And she knows you guys will bail her out. I mean - I always knew that my folks had my back and my mom -Lord bless her - still does. But I was raised with discipline and consequences. And I am convinced that makes a difference.

Good luck with the cats. I know you will do right by them. You are the only dependable hoomins they have right now!
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
And she knows you guys will bail her out. I mean - I always knew that my folks had my back and my mom -Lord bless her - still does. But I was raised with discipline and consequences. And I am convinced that makes a difference.
Most definitely. My a** would be grass, personally.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pami View Post
If she hasnt had them spayed, cleans their litter boxes every other month, hasnt even been there to see them in 10 days, she is a negligent pet owner, regardless to her saying she loves cats. She is not a responsible person to have cats. I wouldnt for a second give these cats back to her. I would say she abandoned them.

I would look on petfinder.org and look at the rescues in your area and get on an email campaign to find them a rescue group that can afford to have these poor girls spayed and will find them homes they deserve to be in.

These helpless cats have no one to rely on but you. Not cleaning a litter box like that can cause health issues for them, as well as not having them spayed. For a cat to go into heat and not mate is a very stressful thing for a cat. Very sad for these girls.
I happen to agree with Pami. It sounds like generally a very unhappy situation for everyone.

I'd work on finding a low cost spay for them, and I'd put up posters for getting them adopted. I'd contact rescues to see if you can find a foster - or - find a group willing to put them up on Petfinder for you.

You can search for low cost spay/neuter here: http://www.pets911.com.

You can also search through all the petfinder pages - there's an org associated with each cat up there, and they have links to contact info. Just scroll through all of them. If you do decide on doing the e-mail campaign, I do recommend writing down on a list each e-mail you sent to someone and which org they were with, because most of the contacts are personal, so if they get back to you, it can be hard to know which org you're talking to.



Laurie
post #16 of 26
I would say at the very least, try to get them spayed. That will mean that you won't get a surprise from her later if she takes the cats.
post #17 of 26
I would put something in writing for her to sign regarding the cats. Decide on who's paying for spaying them, when she will take them (give her a specific deadline), rehome them or keep them.

But everything should be in writing so its very clear as to what is expected and what happens to the cats.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pami View Post
If she hasnt had them spayed, cleans their litter boxes every other month, hasnt even been there to see them in 10 days, she is a negligent pet owner, regardless to her saying she loves cats. She is not a responsible person to have cats. I wouldnt for a second give these cats back to her. I would say she abandoned them.

I would look on petfinder.org and look at the rescues in your area and get on an email campaign to find them a rescue group that can afford to have these poor girls spayed and will find them homes they deserve to be in.

These helpless cats have no one to rely on but you. Not cleaning a litter box like that can cause health issues for them, as well as not having them spayed. For a cat to go into heat and not mate is a very stressful thing for a cat. Very sad for these girls.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
I happen to agree with Pami. It sounds like generally a very unhappy situation for everyone.

I'd work on finding a low cost spay for them, and I'd put up posters for getting them adopted. I'd contact rescues to see if you can find a foster - or - find a group willing to put them up on Petfinder for you.

You can search for low cost spay/neuter here: http://www.pets911.com.

You can also search through all the petfinder pages - there's an org associated with each cat up there, and they have links to contact info. Just scroll through all of them. If you do decide on doing the e-mail campaign, I do recommend writing down on a list each e-mail you sent to someone and which org they were with, because most of the contacts are personal, so if they get back to you, it can be hard to know which org you're talking to.



Laurie
I agree with these ladies. You are not doing these cats any favours by giving them back to her. Her treatment and attitude to these cats amounts to abuse. If you can possibly afford it, get them neutered and find them a good home is what I would advise. She needs a good swift kick with one of my pointy shoes.
post #19 of 26
I'm sorry you have to go through this with your step kids.
'
If you two can finally track her down, I have one suggestion. Since rehoming the cats may be harder in your area, and they need to be spay soon, why not try to work out her paying you to provide care for the cats? Either till they're rehomed or even if you do keep them till she can take them to her place? Of course, this all depends on if you can even make her keep in contact halfway reliably. If you can find her, don't accept any excuses, if she can buy junk she can help pay for their vet care.

A little O/T - but were you letting her stay completely rent free when she was living with you? In hindsight you probably realize, too, that you should have made her pay at least something (and put it away in case something like this happened).
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Believe me I was always the one who said she does not really love cats, she loves the idea of having cats and those are two completely different things. And a few years back wehn we went on vacation, I put my foot down and insisted on boarding the dogs because I didn't trust her to take care of them. As it was we let her take care of Brady and when we got back, there was canned cat food rotting on top of the kitchen counter, she had fed him twice as much dry as I had said to, and the letter box hadn't been emptied once.

As far as getting any money out of her that is a lost cause. We didn't realize that she had $4000 in debt when she showed up here but we found out soon enough. So what do you do when you want her out - make her pay rent, which means that she is going to pay off her debt that much slower and not have a chance of making it through a landlord's credit check or have the money to pay a security deposit - or let her stay and bug her to get on with her life? And we didn't want to push too hard, since she might have made a dumb decision and moved in with her b/f for the wrong reasons.

I am not the parent in control, I am the step-parent, and anyone who has been in that position knows how much it stinks. Basically I have to grit my teeth at things that never would have flown in my family, and dad is driving the bus. She needs a good swift kick is right, but it has to come from him and not me. His patience was finally exhausted and he let her know in no uncertain terms, which is why I think she finally disappeared.

So back to the kitties.... thanks for the suggestions about contacting local rescues. I could almost ask the guy at work what he thinks, not that he needs yet another cat at his place. They really are sweet kitties darn it, and I have to say that I like the fact that Brady has company, but I don't want to be one of those people who took on more than they could handle in a weak moment and then had a hard time paying for emergency vet care.
post #21 of 26
I would spay them immediately, without a word to her... it's the right thing for the cats. But please, don't even think of putting them to sleep! None of this is their fault!
post #22 of 26
I agree with Pami, LDG, Yosemite and CarolPetunia- your step-daughter is doing more harm than good to these cats, and shouldn't have them- have them spayed and try rehoming them.

It's a lousy situation but just because she's your step-daughter, it's your house and you and her father need to make a decision and stand by it, one in the cats' favors!
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
I would spay them immediately, without a word to her... it's the right thing for the cats.
if you can find an affordable place, just do it. then, assuming you'll need to rehome them [leopards don't change their spots, after all ] it'll be much easier.

don't know about your DH, but my dad is a major rescuer. if/when one of us is in trouble [financial or otherwise], he just wants to 'make it right' regardless of whether that's the best thing for the child involved.

it's probably a good thing he's not made of money, or none of us would've learned anything in that area. 2 of us aren't that good anyway [i'm one of them]. i've even heard my mom explain to him that sometimes 'fixing it' isn't always the best choice...
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by abbycats View Post
This is exactly what I would do too. I couldn't take them to a shelter. I would get them fixed and rehome them. It's not the cats fault they are stuck in this situation.


Have them spayed and try to rehome them through a rescue.
post #25 of 26
From the sounds of it she isn't grown up enough or responsible enough to care for herself, let alone 2 helpless cats that rely on their owner for their food, water, love and cleanliness.

If it were me I'd refuse to give them back and instead either keep them myself or go ahead and adopt them out to families that will actually love and care for them. Either way I'd go and get the fixed first. But I would NOT let her have them back. She is neglectful and that is considered abuse. Those poor cats deserve much better than she has been giving them.
post #26 of 26
How very sad
I have also seen people say they are pet lovers then they do things that aren't very loving. I am just glad the cats are in your care.

Since you cannot keep them I would alter the cats at the vet ASAP, if you are low on funds find a low cost clinic. Then I would try to work with a rescue organization that is no kill. You can keep the cats at your home, as a foster home.
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