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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 May 7, 2014
DEAR AMY: Recently, I had a relative's teenage daughter come stay with me over a holiday weekend. She had been having issues with her parents and at school, so I thought this would give everyone a rest and a breather.

The teen is close to my older kids, and I thought they might be able to mentor and nurture her.

The entire weekend reminded me of the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished."

I haven't had that much drama in my house since my own daughter was a teenager -- and to top it off, my own kids gave her alcohol when I wasn't with them. I was truly disappointed when I found out.

I thought for sure that I had taught them to know better! When I tried to talk to them about it, they actually tried to defend it! They believe that it was better for them to buy her liquor and let her drink it supervised, rather than with strangers. Seriously?

It took someone coming into my house and staying for two days to upset the balance of the household.

Now I'm at a loss to explain to my two adult (ages 24 and 22) children why this was a colossal mess-up. They are adults and should know better, right?

Can you please give me some guidance?-- Horrified

DEAR HORRIFIED: Your heart was in the right place, but your hubris seems to have overwhelmed your judgment.

You cannot take a troubled teenager into your house for a long weekend and "fix" her. You should only expect her to behave the way she usually behaves, only in a new environment that offers new ways to act out and new co-conspirators with whom to behave badly.

You should also not have left her under the supervision of two young adults who have no parenting experience and questionable judgment.

You don't need to continue to explain to your kids why what they did was wrong; unfortunately, many older adults also feel as they do about "supervised" underage drinking. This is why parents of teenagers need to be aware of the values and judgment of all of the people (parents as well as kids) their teens hang with.

DEAR AMY: When we first moved into our neighborhood about eight months ago we noticed our cat-loving neighbors starting to invite our cat, "V," into their home. They let him have free reign and even let him sleep with them on their bed at night with their other cats.

At our house, "V" gets a cozy bed, quality organic food and lots of love. We don't, however, let him sleep on our bed or jump on the counters or do whatever he wants.

They have hinted that they would appreciate us giving them money for the extra food our cat eats while "vacationing" in their home.

He stays with us most nights but wanders over there during all hours.

I want to remain on good terms with my generally good-natured neighbors but do not want to enable their enabling by giving them money for cat food. Am I wrong? Any suggestions?-- Shoo Kat

DEAR SHOO: Your cat should not be roaming the streets, catting around. In addition to the awkwardness with your neighbors, your cat could be exposed to infectious diseases such as feline leukemia -- along with the old-fashioned bad influence your neighbors convey.

You could also face a situation where your cat simply prefers your neighbor's house to yours and repatriates. Are you prepared to fight over custody of this cat?

If you aren't willing to keep your cat indoors, tell your neighbors, "Please don't let 'V' into your house. We don't think it's a good idea, and we worry about him when we can't find him."

DEAR AMY: "Worried" was a busy grad student working on a crisis hotline who was feeling overwhelmed and depressed. I thought your advice to her was compassionate and correct: People who bring comfort also need comfort. I hope she takes your advice to see a therapist.-- Social Worker

DEAR SOCIAL WORKER: Her life sounded draining and exhausting. Therapy would help her recharge her emotional batteries.
liner

Brooklyn, NY

#2 May 7, 2014
L1: Time to partaaaay!
L2: Phony letter.
blunt advice

Plainfield, NJ

#3 May 7, 2014
1. What is this teenagers age? There is a vast difference between 13 and 19.
2. Tell then not to give your cat food. Or if they want her to live there she is theirs. Next time you get a cat keep it onside.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#4 May 7, 2014
1: Why on earth did you bring this troubled teen into your home and then leave her to your idiot children's care? If you bring a kid like that into your home, it behooves you to be there since you already know she knows how to get into trouble. Duh!

2: liner, I can see this actually happening. I don't think it's phony at all. We had weekend neighbors next door some years back. They were really nice people who happened to really like our dog. They couldn't have a dog where they lived during the week in the city and made up for it by being friendly with our dog. We didn't mind our dog going over to their yard and even on their deck to visit them. I strongly suspect Freckles went into their house as well at their invitation. The only difference is that he always came home when we called him and he was always in our home at night. These neighbors used to buy dog biscuits for him and once in awhile a real bone. One morning we woke up to find blood and feces on our kitchen floor. It seems a bone the neighbor gave our pooch had been cooked in such a way as to make it splinter into sharp little bits that cut him up inside. We took him to the vet and he got better. We simply told the neighbors that the vet said he shouldn't have the bones leftover from their meals but doggie biscuits were ok. We didn't even think about asking them to pay the vet bill and we felt that the advice regarding what they gave him was all that was needed to prevent future problems. It was and we kept a friendship.

I think the lw's neighbors are out of their minds asking for money for cat food. They are willingly feeding the lw's cat. No one asked them to. Now if the lw asked them to take care of the cat while her family went on vacation, that would be a different matter and she should provide cat food and meet whatever conditions she and the neighbors agree upon. Sure, one solution would be to keep her cat inside but people don't always do that. I bet the neighbor's cat goes outside as well. If you feed your cat outside and a neighbor's cat comes regularly to eat your cat's food, you should feed your cat inside to keep that from happening.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#5 May 7, 2014
1 If you invited the kid over, why was she left in the care of your children? Where were you? Blame yourself for this mess, not your kids.

2 WTF? Keep your damn cat inside. I hate, hate, hate people who allow their pets to roam unsupervised. When the cat gets squished by a car, or torn to pieces by a dog, they always blubber about how unfair it all is. Pukes! Parent your pets!

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#6 May 7, 2014
1- ain't so easy to change someone, is it? Next time, stay out of other people's drama

2- keep the cat inside

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 May 7, 2014
L1: Well, you learned something about your own kids that perhaps calls for a sit down discussion. They screwed up. 20 somethings do that. You need to talk to them about liability, responsibility and how they could/should mentor.

L2: Keep kitty inside. If that's not possible, tell your neighbors you don't want them feeding kitty so you can direct kitty's diet. Give them a couple of bucks for the food your cat ate to keep the peace.

L3: Way to pat yourself on the back, Amy.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 May 7, 2014
LW1: I like how this teenager is just the daughter of a relative, not a niece or grand-niece or cousin or second-cousin. We have labels for these relationships for a reason; because they're family! Your lack of label says to me that you want to distance yourself as far as you can from this girl, yet you claim you want to help her. Well, one weekend away from home/school is not gonna do it and your kids did "mentor and nurture her" the way that young adults know best. If you didn't want this to happen, you should not have left them so unattended.

LW2: Really? You have to ask Amy how to tell your neighbors not to feed your cat?

LW3: That advice was not difficult to formulate, and *I* think that Amy did not even address the most important part - that her employers at the crisis center were not helping.

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#9 May 7, 2014
L2. I know what you mean. My mom lives out in the country and there are a couple of stray cats who hang around.
One of them belongs to the neighbor's a few doors down, but as far as we can tell they never let the cat inside.
So we gave it a little shelter made out of an old wooden box and put some wall-to-wall carpet in there and made a little kitty door out of some cloth to keep the wind out and then we put it under the eve of her house behind some bushes.
The cat seems to enjoy his new pad. We figure it's better than freeezing.

Since: Mar 09

Hollywood, FL

#10 May 7, 2014
Re: L2: Has anyone had experience in transitioning an indoor/outdoor cat to just an indoor cat? Genuine question. To me, it seems like it would be very difficult after the cat has tasted freedom, so to speak. And it probably doesn't use a litterbox either since it just goes outside.

For the record, I don't agree with having outdoor cats in suburbia either. Barn cats out in the country are a different story.
;)

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#11 May 7, 2014
j_m_w wrote:
Re: L2: Has anyone had experience in transitioning an indoor/outdoor cat to just an indoor cat? Genuine question. To me, it seems like it would be very difficult after the cat has tasted freedom, so to speak. And it probably doesn't use a litterbox either since it just goes outside.
For the record, I don't agree with having outdoor cats in suburbia either. Barn cats out in the country are a different story.
;)
Me. I've tried it and failed miserably. That cat was a pro at getting out. I was so watchful, too. She'd be clear across the room and I'd be going out to the store or something and she'd get out that door. She'd always come back. Bring me "presents". The cat loved it indoors but loved the outdoors way too much. I always thought it was b/c it was a stray I took in.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#12 May 7, 2014
j_m_w wrote:
Re: L2: Has anyone had experience in transitioning an indoor/outdoor cat to just an indoor cat? Genuine question. To me, it seems like it would be very difficult after the cat has tasted freedom, so to speak. And it probably doesn't use a litterbox either since it just goes outside.
For the record, I don't agree with having outdoor cats in suburbia either. Barn cats out in the country are a different story.
;)
My mother took in a cat that had been living under her porch, but the vet believed that it was once somebody else's pet. My mom had her declawed, which I think is terrible, but there were never any problems with using the litter box.

She was a lovely cat; missing part of one ear, probably lost to frostbite.
liner

Brooklyn, NY

#13 May 7, 2014
Pippa wrote:
2: liner, I can see this actually happening. I don't think it's phony at all. We had weekend neighbors next door some years back. They were really nice people who happened to really like our dog. They couldn't have a dog where they lived during the week in the city and made up for it by being friendly with our dog. We didn't mind our dog going over to their yard and even on their deck to visit them. I strongly suspect Freckles went into their house as well at their invitation. The only difference is that he always came home when we called him and he was always in our home at night. These neighbors used to buy dog biscuits for him and once in awhile a real bone. One morning we woke up to find blood and feces on our kitchen floor. It seems a bone the neighbor gave our pooch had been cooked in such a way as to make it splinter into sharp little bits that cut him up inside. We took him to the vet and he got better. We simply told the neighbors that the vet said he shouldn't have the bones leftover from their meals but doggie biscuits were ok. We didn't even think about asking them to pay the vet bill and we felt that the advice regarding what they gave him was all that was needed to prevent future problems. It was and we kept a friendship.
I think the lw's neighbors are out of their minds asking for money for cat food. They are willingly feeding the lw's cat. No one asked them to. Now if the lw asked them to take care of the cat while her family went on vacation, that would be a different matter and she should provide cat food and meet whatever conditions she and the neighbors agree upon. Sure, one solution would be to keep her cat inside but people don't always do that. I bet the neighbor's cat goes outside as well. If you feed your cat outside and a neighbor's cat comes regularly to eat your cat's food, you should feed your cat inside to keep that from happening.
Your story is much more plausible than these people letting their cat sleep over the neighboors house and them asking for money for food. But then again, who knows!

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#14 May 7, 2014
My cat was a feral kitten rescue. She is now happy inside, but I let her outside under supervision. She knows the boundaries, and if she goes where she is not allowed (on the side of the house for example), I chase her back inside the house, and thats it for the day. Have not had to do that for a least a couple of months.

It's not about never letting the cat out, It's about training the cat, even if it means you put a harness on them with a leash.
j_m_w wrote:
Re: L2: Has anyone had experience in transitioning an indoor/outdoor cat to just an indoor cat? Genuine question. To me, it seems like it would be very difficult after the cat has tasted freedom, so to speak. And it probably doesn't use a litterbox either since it just goes outside.
For the record, I don't agree with having outdoor cats in suburbia either. Barn cats out in the country are a different story.
;)
Kuuipo

Elizabethtown, KY

#15 May 7, 2014
LW1: Teams Toj and squishymama. LW got a reality check and was served some humble pie. Now it's time to take personal responsibility for the events that took place. This troubled teen may need more help than family members are able to give her. I hope LW and the teen's parents are able to find a solution, whether it's counseling, rehab, or something motivational like sports or music.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#16 May 7, 2014
Don't tell me, let me guess. LW2's cat might stay home more if he were neutered and getting the attention he would like?

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#17 May 7, 2014
RACE, you have a smart cat. LW2 is an idiot and doesn't deserve to have the cat.
Kuuipo

Elizabethtown, KY

#18 May 7, 2014
j_m_w wrote:
Re: L2: Has anyone had experience in transitioning an indoor/outdoor cat to just an indoor cat? Genuine question. To me, it seems like it would be very difficult after the cat has tasted freedom, so to speak. And it probably doesn't use a litterbox either since it just goes outside.
For the record, I don't agree with having outdoor cats in suburbia either. Barn cats out in the country are a different story.
;)
I did this once. My next-door neighbors had moved out, leaving behind their two cats. One was a long-haired gray cat and a great mouser. She loved the outdoors, but would come in from time to time. She was very friendly. The other one was a lot less social, but he was hit by a car in front of my home. Someone found him and brought him to my door. I took him to the emergency vet and paid $$$$ to have his leg set. He was strictly an indoor cat after that, and while never very friendly, seemed to adjust to indoor life OK.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#19 May 7, 2014
I have indoor outdoor cats n the suburbs. Oe is on diet restrictions. They are well fed but when another neighbor a block over tarted leaving food out they would graze there .

I susect teh neighbor thought they were strays and took the skinny one in out of pity until we plastered the neighborhood with lost cat flyers. That was 2 years ago and we have not had an issue since.

They bring us gifts, many partially eaten. NBD.

The only time there was a problem was when the rescued declawed cat gr out. and never came home. He must have been an outdoor cat before we got him because he would not use the box and it was a choice of outdoors or back to the shelter. He lived to be 11 with us; he probably would have been euthanized if we ad returned him.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#20 May 7, 2014
I could swear you have said this before, right down to the miss-spellings....
PEllen wrote:
They bring us gifts, many partially eaten. NBD.
The only time there was a problem was when the rescued declawed cat gr out. and never came home. He must have been an outdoor cat before we got him because he would not use the box and it was a choice of outdoors or back to the shelter. He lived to be 11 with us; he probably would have been euthanized if we ad returned him.

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