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Woman Called Out For Choosing Her Cat Who Needs Surgery Over Sister On Verge Of Homelessness

Woman comforting her cat
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Though some of us have had better luck than others, we all have to admit that there are generally at least a few sour members in every family.

Sometimes sticking with our chosen family only is best, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, and that includes our pets.

Redditor TWoldcat had an elderly cat who had been with her through the best of times and worst of times, so it was a no-brainer for her to spend money on a surgery he needed later in life.

But when family began to criticize her for how she spent her money, the Original Poster (OP) questioned whether to take her essentially estranged family’s word seriously.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for choosing my senior cat over my sister and potentially allowing her to become homeless?”

The OP didn’t have a positive relationship with her mother and sister.

“I will preface this by saying that my mother treated my sister and me differently. I was always less than while my sister could do no wrong. She’d always buy my sister everything she wanted, while I wore her hand-me-downs.”

“I moved out at 18, worked through college, went NC (no-contact) with my mom and LC (low-contact) with my sister, and our paths diverged greatly from there.”

“I now work in a field that pays well while she is a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom).”

“I guess I never quite got over this, and while I know the main AH is my mother and my sister didn’t really know any better, I still fester negative feelings towards both of them.”

The OP began to form her own chosen family instead.

“I found Tom in a bag as a newborn kitten. He was the only one still alive, and I raised him over summer break when I was 13.”

“Then, when school started, my mother got rid of him, and I had to go to great and extreme lengths to find out where she dumped him.”

“It took me a week to find him and we’ve been together ever since.”

Tom’s health has recently been less than stellar.

“For a few months, Tom hasn’t really been okay and has been slowly declining.”

“The vet, however, based on the recent blood panel we did, was confident that he still has some life left to live and said that he’s by far the healthiest geriatric cat she’s seen in a while.”

“Thus, we decided to try out surgery to improve his quality of life, even though he’s 21. This surgery comes with a price tag, I’m not in the US, but it’s around three months’ worth of minimum wage in my country.”

“It won’t set us back much, hardly an inconvenience, but we’ll be frugal just in case complications happen. He’s scheduled for Monday, fingers crossed!”

Then the OP’s sister made a surprise visit.

“Anyway, my sister dropped by on Sunday, which was strange. We haven’t spoken since she messaged me a Merry Christmas GIF on Facebook.”

“It looks like her husband jumped onto the NFT bandwagon, and they’re kind of broke and a few months behind on their mortgage, and she asked if I could help her out with the payments, since they’re at risk of becoming homeless.”

“I said I’m sorry she’s going through this, but this is not a good time for me, either, and listed the reasons above. I do not want to ever be in a situation where my cat’s life depends on $100 that I cannot afford to pay.”

“I suggested she get a job and maybe downsize or move in with our mother while they get back up on their feet.”

“She did not take this well, called me a [c-word] and a crazy cat lady that’s going to end up alone, plus some other nice words.”

“I kicked her out.”

The family stood against the OP.

“My mother and other relatives have been spamming me throughout the week for being heartless and caring more about an animal than my own flesh and blood.”

“My husband says I could’ve just given her some cash to avoid the drama, and he’s right. I could’ve.”

“This is why I feel like I might be the AH, because, in the end, the main reason I chose not to help is due to my childhood baggage.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some appreciated the OP’s loyalty to her old friend.

“NTA. Even if you didn’t have the history, it’s your money and Tom is your family. I’m absolutely the same about money and my cats. Plus, you took Tom in and he’s your responsibility… your sister isn’t.”

“You’re doing the right thing and you’re a good pet owner in a world with a lot of s**tty ones. Source: have worked with animals for 18 years. Sending so many good vibes to your little man.”

“I had a 20-year-old, and I just adore old cats.” – TabaxiDruid

“My orange fluff ball, Elli, sends all his love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. You are amazing for recovering your Tom back, and I’m so happy he’s been with you for so long.”

“Tom and your husband are your real family, not your sister and mom. You don’t owe them anything. 100% NTA.” – PrissyBarbie

“NTA. It’s not your job to take care of your sister’s money woes. Like you said, she can get a job if she’s so hard up for money.”

“On another note, I hope all goes well for Tom and am sending good energy your way for him.” – EbonyDoe

“NTA. The animal cares more about you than your own flesh and blood. The animal has been your companion. Has sat on your lap and purred when you were sad. From the sound of it, you owe your ‘flesh and blood’ nothing.”

“Did you ever get an answer as to why they couldn’t move in with your mom or get a job? I mean, your mom is so eager to give your money away; perhaps she could sell her house and move in with your sister, if she’s that concerned? Or is it just YOUR happiness and comfort that the relatives are willing to sacrifice?”

“Good luck, give Tom an extra pet-pet from me, a random stranger on the other side of the internet.” – MagicSusan42

“We are now all far more concerned with how your little guy is doing than what your sister does.”

“Poor baby deserves all the love in the world, and it sounds like he is getting it.” – Applesbabe

Supportive of her decision, others encouraged the OP not to discuss money with her family.

“Next time anyone asks you for money, just stick with, ‘I’m sorry, it’s not in our budget.’ Never explain yourself, and never engage in a debate about it.”

“Your sister is an entitled b***h, and your family is being completely unreasonable. Don’t engage with them either, except to say, ‘My sister is lucky that you are so willing to help her out financially.'”

“NTA.” – Aylauria

“Your kitty comes before your sister and her husband’s stupid financial choices. If you bail out your sister and brother-in-law, they’ll never learn.”

“(Would I be wrong to assume this sort of deal is a pattern with them? Her anger at the thought of lowering herself to get a job and name-calling over the suggestion of responsible downsizing sounds like the response of someone with a theme of f**king around and then being bailed out before finding out.)”

“Plus, you know they’ll just be calling up your family to pressure you for more money in a few months anyways with no d**n care of you losing your sweet Tom.”

“If those family members are so tweaked out, they can pool in their own extra income, sell their own assets, work more hours, or get extra side jobs, and pony up the money themselves. Harassing you is just their way of trying to choose the easy road so they don’t have to deal with your sister and BIL’s consequences of NFT gambling.”

“You choosing Tom’s health is a gamble, too, but you’re betting on this surgery to save his life. That’s a bet with much better odds and value than the scam markets of NFTs any day.” – Ymza_Kitt

“What is it with entitled people? They treat you like crap and still expect you to help them when they are in a bind! They don’t seem to realize that if they treated you right in the first place, you would have helped.”

“NTA. Tell her to get the money from the flying monkeys who have a strong opinion about everything.” – Apart_Foundation1702

“NTA. But, next time, just tell her no, OP. She doesn’t need to know your reasons.”

“And respond to all the relatives, ‘Thank you so much for letting me know that I made the wrong choice. I will let my sister know that you’ll be catching her up on her bills. Between you and X, Y, and Z she should be able to remain home, and not get a job, while also staying in her house. I suggest you all get in contact with each other to figure out what you can each contribute. You truly are amazing people.'”

“I would send the same message, with names changed, to everyone one of them.”

“And then, I’d create a chat you can jump out of, including your sister, and say, ‘X, Y, and Z have graciously agreed to pay your bills. These people are truly amazing. I’ll just off of this chat and let you guys handle it from here.'”

“Then, leave and block them all.” – crystallz2000

“I am just seething on OP’s behalf that her lazy sister would rather mooch off someone she’s been awful to rather than look for a job. The entitlement is astounding.” – Humble_Plantain_5918

After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update in another post.

“Thank you so much to all of you who have wished Tom good luck on his surgery. I’m ecstatic to let you know all went well! I was a bit cautious about providing an update, as I wanted to make sure he is indeed doing better before celebrating.”

“On the weekend leading to the big day, I bought him his favorite food, these tiny fish that in my country are generally eaten whole, fried (anchovies?) that he loves to gobble up raw. I only ever give those as a treat maybe a few times a year since they’re not exactly healthy for cats, but I made an exception since, you know, things could’ve gone terribly bad.”

“The operation went great, and the vet said there were no complications. I got him home in the afternoon the same day, and he slept it off until midnight when he started asking for food! He’s been eating like he’s trying to make up for the weight loss he suffered.”

“He’s also been more alert these days, started following me around again and begging for food, and it looks like he’s sleeping better, too. He would generally just lay awake on his cat bed all day, looking unhappy, and now he’s sleeping soundly between meals. The only discomfort he has is related to the stitches on his gums, but they should fall off in a few weeks.”

“Honestly, it’s like they didn’t remove only his teeth, but also a chipped-off a few years!”

“I’d also like to thank all of you that called me out on using him as an excuse. You’re right, I was using him as an excuse. No has never been a full sentence for me, so I am now actively looking into finding a good therapist. I still stand by my decision of not helping my sister out though, and many numbers and social media accounts have been blocked.”

“I’m thinking about leaving this account active and adding a final update in a week, a month, or a year, whenever it’s time to bid Tom farewell. But for now, he seems happy, so I’ve no doubt I made the right choice.”

The subReddit was surely left cheering as the OP had made the decision that was best for her at the moment, but which was clearly also the best decision for her cat, Tom, as well, who would hopefully get to continue to be her companion for at least a few years more.

Sometimes family is great, but sometimes, chosen family is better, and that includes our wonderful pets.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.