or Connect
Mothering › Groups › Minimalist Mamas › Discussions › Pets and Minimalism

Pets and Minimalism

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Can you ever truly be minimalist and have pets? Something I've been wondering lately. We have a cat we've had for almost four years and I love her a lot but she's also a frustrating little punk with her attitudes. Plus, with all that's been going on lately with my miscarriages she's been feeling neglected so she peed on some of my clothes!! She never really adjusted to my kiddo either and just tolerates him. My husband has been pushing to find her a new home now for almost a year and I was resistant to it for the longest time....but now I just want to concentrate on being the best mama I can be for Bug and getting my house closer to my minimalist ideal. I am having a hard time with the fact that as long as we have an indoor cat and a litter box and food dishes, that our bathroom will never be as clean and simple as I'd like it to be and I will never want to be barefoot in my bathroom as long as there's even a chance of stepping on a stray bit of litter or cat food!! She also has a sensitive stomach and I can count on having to clean up cat puke off the carpet about once a week or so. DH says if she does go he doesn't want to have another pet till we rid ourselves of the wall-to-wall carpet that came with our house.

 

At this point, though I know I will be a bit sad and will miss her a bit should we find her a new home...I am just ready to find her and our betta fish new homes and be pet-free for a while...and just re-address the pet situation once our little Bug is old enough to care for (or at least help care for) any future pet.

 

Do ya'll have pets? If so, how does that mesh with your minimalism?

post #2 of 17

Awww...this is where I struggle too. Currently, I have 1 cat. We did have 2 cats and 2 dogs up until about a month ago. My one cat was run over, my older dog passed away the next day and the other dog we were fostering had to be returned, as he was aggressive towards my son. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE and LOVE some more animals but I must say, having one cat after 15 years of animals is quite refreshing. I still do rescue and help out but it has been nice not to have to worry so much and my house is MUCH cleaner and organized. Maybe someday, when I have an actual home of my own with some land, I might have animals again but right now, I have been enjoying my time with my son and our kitty. :) He is an outdoor cat and that helps with not having a mess inside with boxes and litter.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yes, it would be most helpful if Ami was an outdoor cat, but since we got her when we lived in an apartment and since we had her declawed to keep her from destroying inherited art it is impossible for her to be anything but an indoor cat. Also, in our neighborhood we have a few people who are rather activists for animals and we'd be looked at askance if we did have an outdoor cat (as they speak disparagingly of someone down the street whose cat wanders the neighborhood)...and the one who would say the most about it is the one neighbor I'm actually friends with and our children play together, so I'd hate for the friendship to become strained over a difference of opinion over how I let a cat be outdoors. Plus, people drive through the neighborhood too fast (despite the children playing signs) and there are coyotes the other side of the lake behind our house...and I'd be so worried for a free-roaming cat. 

 

A dog would be a bit simpler in letting run around the backyard, but we hate the poop and aren't really dog people anyway...plus I'm allergic to quite a few breeds.

 

I am rather conflicted about this...as I do love my cat and have had her longer than any pet. My parents moved a lot as missionaries and didn't attach themselves to pets overly much...when we had to move somewhere new the pets were given away. I decided as an adult that was not going to happen and then still ended up having to find new homes for both my cat and my roommate's cat that she'd left with me when I moved back to the US to get married. Ami was my Valentine's gift from DH when we were fairly newlyweds because he knew that I missed my kitty Hayley Belle and my adopted-from-roommate kitty Starbucks who I had to leave behind in Romania.

 

So I will definitely miss Ami should we find her a new home, but it may be for the best to be pet-less for a while...until Bug is old enough to ask for (and help care for) a pet...and then he would be the pet-owner and I'd be the pet-grandma who'd still benefit from the pet love!!

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

BTW (and off topic), LVNTEXAS...though I live in the DFW area now, San Antonio was "home" for me from the age of 9-29 (even when living overseas or off at college). That was our home base for so many years growing up (mostly in rentals till my parents bought a house in Pleasanton), our church was there in San Antonio, and I lived and worked there for a few years after college as well.

post #5 of 17

LOVE LOVE LOVE San Antonio..I think it is a VERY pretty city and I have travelled the world twice and lived in 12 different states.

 

I HIGHLY suggest volunteering with an animal group of some sort. You can help out a lot and yet you don't have to take them all home (unless you want too.) wink1.gif

 

I never had a dog until 6 years ago when my beautiful Chloe came into my life. She was THE perfect dog. I miss her so dearly each day but some times, as much as I am VERY grateful for her blessing me, I am relieved I don't have to do the poop, feed, walk, clean, vacuum, start over routine. I think when the timing is right, I will get another dog. Right now, I am concentrating on living small and minimalist, raising my son and my health.

post #6 of 17

It depends on the person.  I think of course you can be a minimalist with pets, if pet ownership is something you love that enhances your life.  However, as a fellow frustrated cat owner, I sympathize and secretly wish I no longer had my cat. (quick tip: stray kitty litter drove me absolutely batty too until we switched to the Breeze litter system by tidy cats.. no more dust or bits of sandy gritty litter- check it out)

I will say there was recently a heated, and at times ugly discussion about this topic on Miss Minimalist's blog.  She does a weekly series called Real Life Minimalists where readers can tell their story, and this lady parted with her cat as it no longer fit with their family's lifestyle. I felt so bad for her.. she really got ripped to shreds in the ensuing discussion board.  So, there are many people out there who feel that giving up a pet for the sake of minimalist ideals is nearly sinful.  In my opinion, the cat would be happier in a home that is fully welcoming and willing to love/care for him, and you'd be happier if you're not just doing it out of obligation. http://www.missminimalist.com/2011/10/real-life-minimalists-lorilee/

 

Also, Tanja at MinimalistPackrat recently wrote about the complexities of fish ownership, which started at an attempt for serenity. It's a long post, but as always, very thought provoking and it may provide some reassurance for you.

http://minimalistpackrat.com/2011/11/23/what-does-simple-really-mean/

post #7 of 17

Tammy Strobel at Rowdy Kittens (www.rowdykittens.com) has two cats and a husband... they all live in a tiny house the size of a small shed. I think that if you really want to live minimally, nothing can stop you. smile.gif

post #8 of 17

I think having pets if bring you joy is minimalist.  

 

We have two cats and a dog and I think we are pretty streamlined about it.  They each have a food dish and share a water bowl, the dog has a leash and a brush.  The cat box is in the hall closet and we use feline pine, so no kitty litter tracking.  The cats are indoor outdoor cats.  (We tried to have them be indoor only cats but one of them started jumping out of our second story screened windows and off the balcony to get outside.  We figured the front door was a lot safer for her, because we couldn't live with everything shut all the time.)  Now we are in a house and have 6 chickens free ranging the backyard as well.

 

We used to have a fish tank, but it was so hugely stressful for us to keep up with that we gave it away.

 

In all honesty though we will not be getting another dog after ours has lived out his life.  I am just not a dog person.

post #9 of 17

I think this the key for all of us and why we pursue minimalism. To make sure that stuff doesn't rob us of joy. So the answer will not be same for everyone. A minimal amount of stuff in just the right places allows us to experience joy more effectively and easily. So the # of books or clothes is not the same for all of us. It seems that for some the joy of having Fluffy around doesn't outweigh the litter box and food trays and you should feel perfectly fine rehoming her. For others, such as myself, giving up our two puppies in order to eliminate the kennel and food trays is only a little less likely than asking if we should give up the kids to get rid of all the toys. They bring our family immense joy.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paigekitten View Post

I think having pets if bring you joy is minimalist.  

 



 

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'd almost forgotten about this thread. We still have both our betta fish and Ami (our cat). As it stands now I think Ami will be around for a while (though I'm not sure if we'll keep the fish or pass it on to someone else...but there's not any big attachment there).

 

We do have the goal of selling our house, buying an RV, and being location independent in the future though...and when we do we will have to find Ami a home...not because of minimalism but because she is deathly afraid of travel (freaked out and hid in her litter box for two days when we moved house with her)...so it would really be unfair to her to make her travel with us!!

post #11 of 17

I guess I didn't realize it hadn't been visited in awhile. Since I'm new to this group I keep hunting around the old threads for info. I get caught up in the topic and forget that the thread is old when I comment. 

post #12 of 17

Well, since the thread was bumped up...

 

 

I didn't see much "minimalism" in the OP's posts. I saw utilitarianism.

 

Inherited artwork is at stake? let's declaw the cat.

Having her as an outdoor cat? great idea, except - what would people say? Oh, and she's declawed.

I don't like cleaning cat barf! (gosh, cats barf, who would have thought!) - let's get rid of the cat.

 

This is not minimalism. This is treating your cat like it's a magazine subscription. Receive them, clip the articles, toss the rest to keep your house uncluttered.

 

A cat is a living creature. She loves you, and she has needs. She needs love.

 

 

Yes, you can be a minimalist and have pets. If you love them.

 

If you don't, there's no need to call that "minimalism".

 

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

EXCUSE YOU??!! How dare you assume I don't love my cat? Did you happen to see in my signature what all I was going through last year...and was STILL going through when the original posts were written? I lost THREE babies in ten months time...so yes, the cat barf and cat pee was really starting to get to me right then, but I'd never "get rid" of her just for that. 

 

The declawing was at my husband's insistence after she tried scratching the painting repeatedly and then SHREDDED my husband's arm as he was trying to remove her from the vicinity of the painting one of those times. And if you had read carefully I never said I wanted Ami to be an outdoor cat...I just said that it would have been helpful if she was able to go outside (as she always wants to do)...but that there were multiple reasons that that would never happen even for a cat that still had claws...careless drivers, coyotes, etc...and the disapproval of the neighbors would have applied to ANY outdoor pet (cat or dog, claws or no claws).
 

When I wrote the original post it was at the end of a long, horrid year of first me and sister losing babies the same week, then discovering my one living child has asthma and all that entails (doctor's visits and urgent care visits), then my sis-in-law miscarried (for the second time in a year), we had some scary episodes with our little boy's asthma, I lost another baby, we found out in a VERY scary way that our little boy has a peanut allergy (involving a rushed trip to urgent care, an ambulance ride through the city, and him being admitted to the children's hospital), and THEN I found out that we'd lost yet another baby!! I got involved with this minimalist group being started around the time I was spending a lot of time on the couch bleeding out my last pregnancy.

 

So yeah, at that point in time I was a bit stressed about the cat situation....but I would never have arbitrarily and carelessly "gotten rid" of her. I cried and cried around that time cause I was so conflicted about it. I didn't want to deal with her stuff on top of everything else but I love her so much that it would have been so very hard to find her a new home. If we had proceeded to find her a new home I would have been the exasperating person who interviews people and wants to see their home and find out how exactly they'd be caring for my Ami because I wouldn't want her going to just anybody. But finding her a new home is a moot point now that I am on the mend (though my HCG levels still haven't normalized) and can think a little more rationally and less hormonally. Yes, we may still need to find her a home in the future if she is still around when we finally get our RV and start traveling (NOT because she'd be an inconvenience, but because taking her with us would be very unkind as she is TERRIFIED of travel)...but you'd better believe I'll be extremely picky about who she goes to when that time comes!!

 

I just find it a bit ridiculous that someone can pop in on this board and just arbitrarily judge me when they don't know me, don't take into account that there might be reasons why someone might be feeling the way they are AT THAT TIME, and has never even interacted with me here on mothering even once!! 

post #14 of 17

Hi you guys, I am going trough all the groups when I found this one.

 

I always thought of myself as a minimilistic mom, I don't buy all the gadgets that are so appealing to new moms and asvertised in all the magazines.  I cosleep and make most things I need myself. The stuff I do need to buy - I get secondhand and hand down immediatly after finishing using them.

 

My big indulgence in life is animals.  We live in a simple large cottage on a farm and have 9 dogs, 2 cats, 2 goldfish, a corn snake, a parrot, a rabbit and a hamster...did I leave anu=ything out - o yes the 2 ponies.  

 

I show dogs, so it is a lifestyle for us....I am 22 weeks prregnant with no 3 and wondering if we going to juggle it all.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

EXCUSE YOU??!! How dare you assume I don't love my cat? Did you happen to see in my signature what all I was going through last year...and was STILL going through when the original posts were written? I lost THREE babies in ten months time...so yes, the cat barf and cat pee was really starting to get to me right then, but I'd never "get rid" of her just for that. 

 

The declawing was at my husband's insistence after she tried scratching the painting repeatedly and then SHREDDED my husband's arm as he was trying to remove her from the vicinity of the painting one of those times. And if you had read carefully I never said I wanted Ami to be an outdoor cat...I just said that it would have been helpful if she was able to go outside (as she always wants to do)...but that there were multiple reasons that that would never happen even for a cat that still had claws...careless drivers, coyotes, etc...and the disapproval of the neighbors would have applied to ANY outdoor pet (cat or dog, claws or no claws).
 

When I wrote the original post it was at the end of a long, horrid year of first me and sister losing babies the same week, then discovering my one living child has asthma and all that entails (doctor's visits and urgent care visits), then my sis-in-law miscarried (for the second time in a year), we had some scary episodes with our little boy's asthma, I lost another baby, we found out in a VERY scary way that our little boy has a peanut allergy (involving a rushed trip to urgent care, an ambulance ride through the city, and him being admitted to the children's hospital), and THEN I found out that we'd lost yet another baby!! I got involved with this minimalist group being started around the time I was spending a lot of time on the couch bleeding out my last pregnancy.

 

So yeah, at that point in time I was a bit stressed about the cat situation....but I would never have arbitrarily and carelessly "gotten rid" of her. I cried and cried around that time cause I was so conflicted about it. I didn't want to deal with her stuff on top of everything else but I love her so much that it would have been so very hard to find her a new home. If we had proceeded to find her a new home I would have been the exasperating person who interviews people and wants to see their home and find out how exactly they'd be caring for my Ami because I wouldn't want her going to just anybody. But finding her a new home is a moot point now that I am on the mend (though my HCG levels still haven't normalized) and can think a little more rationally and less hormonally. Yes, we may still need to find her a home in the future if she is still around when we finally get our RV and start traveling (NOT because she'd be an inconvenience, but because taking her with us would be very unkind as she is TERRIFIED of travel)...but you'd better believe I'll be extremely picky about who she goes to when that time comes!!

 

I just find it a bit ridiculous that someone can pop in on this board and just arbitrarily judge me when they don't know me, don't take into account that there might be reasons why someone might be feeling the way they are AT THAT TIME, and has never even interacted with me here on mothering even once!! 

 

I have seen you around here and on the rest of Mothering, your avatar is quite striking and is memorable, but I don't remember if I had a chance to interact with you. Mothering is pretty big.

 

I did not see this conversation as being about the recent years of suffering. I was posting in a thread about pets, on Minimalism forum (to which I belong, which I read, and where I  have posted on occasion.) If I had to post my credentials of what I had to endure in the last couple of years, my signature will take pages. As a summary, I could say that my life will never be the same and my health is pretty much ruined forever. I could go on about multiple other traumatic events, deaths, hospitalizations, operations, but I do not think I need that to qualify to post.

 

As for "judging arbitrarily", I did not read between the lines, I read what you posted here and that was the only information I had to go on. And it included this:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

At this point, though I know I will be a bit sad and will miss her a bit should we find her a new home...I am just ready to find her and our betta fish new homes and be pet-free for a while...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

My parents moved a lot as missionaries and didn't attach themselves to pets overly much...when we had to move somewhere new the pets were given away. I decided as an adult that was not going to happen and then still ended up having to find new homes for both my cat and my roommate's cat that she'd left with me when I moved back to the US to get married. Ami was my Valentine's gift from DH when we were fairly newlyweds because he knew that I missed my kitty Hayley Belle and my adopted-from-roommate kitty Starbucks who I had to leave behind in Romania.

 

Your last post clarified everything much better, but it was not there when I first posted.

 

I frequent a few other decluttering / minimalist forums on the web. If you feel that I have no right to "pop in" and post in this one, perhaps it would be good to inform the moderator.

post #16 of 17

Hi there,

I am also new to the thread, so I am taking a risk here and poking my head into something that does not really have anything to do with me.

 

My opinion is that we must be here not to criticize - EVER - as this is a safety place, where you can bare your worst secrets and fears.

 

Rainy day - I know you a bit more- we were on a few threads together.  My one cat was also a result of my best friend having a baby, and not being able to cope with the cat any longer, it lays on baby bedding and in the cot, he wee'd in the house. Even trough thy got him neutered at 6 months.  I know that they loved him, but everyone has a different way of living and as my house is all about rearing puppies(a lot of mess) and animals everywhere - It was easy er for me to take him and adjust him to our lifestyle - different people have different ways of life and that must be respected.  I would not say I love my animal more than people that don't let their dogs on the couch or let them sleep outside or what ever your way of 'measuring' love to a pet.

 

We must remember that pets are at the end of the day animals, they can adjust and do not think about things like we do and don't have the same feelings towards us than we have towards them.  I am a animal behaviorist and give lots of people advice on re homing, and it is very seldom that I criticize people for their decisions. THEY ARE NOT FURRY KIDS like people like to call them, they are pets, and we need to make the best choices for THEM and living in a house where you do not fit in properly is no way for a animal to live, just so you can convince yourself you are fulfilling the responsibility you took on then buying, or rescuing the animal.

 

Well that's enough from Dr Phil....

 

Ill be off now and Hope not to be slaughtered....

 

post #17 of 17

Well my pets are my family and I think when people get into certain jams with keeping or having to give them up, then it is understandable. But I work in animal rescue and I see the horror of people who think they are taking care of an animal, by not neutering or spaying or leaving them outside to starve or neglected, they haven't trained the animal properly and only abuse and then blame the animal when it has an accident or chews up a couch. In extreme cases, I can understand the need to get rid of a pet but 99% of the cases I see are cause by serious human error on thinking a pet is easy to own.  I am sorry, they do have feelings and when I pick up a cold, shivering scared out of their mind animal, you can't tell me they don't share the same feeling towards us. I have to disagree on that point but we all have a right to our opinions. Animals are not disposable and I only wish people would think a lot longer before getting one and make the right and proper decision should they have to get rid of one.

  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Minimalist Mamas
Mothering › Groups › Minimalist Mamas › Discussions › Pets and Minimalism