A Lesson In Parenting and Sarcasm

It turns out that the last thing you want to say to your seven year old as they board the bus is “Don’t be shocked if you come home and your cat isn’t here anymore! Okay, have a great day sweetie!”


Because that seven year old will then tell her bus-mates, her friends, her teachers, her lunch lady, her janitor, her people she hasn’t met before, that HER MOTHER threatened to kill her cat if it cost to much to fix him.


Go ahead. Live with that guilt.

Well honestly I had no idea there was any guilt to live with until Esther got off the bus crying and asking if Tyko was still alive as she ran into the house calling his name as that was all she thought about all day at school.


“Well of course he’s still alive – why wouldn’t he be alive?” I inquired.


“Because you told me you may just kill him if it costs to much to fix his stomach. I told everyone!” She replied.


Oh. “Well I was just kind of  being sarcastic. I mean I want Tyko to get better but we may have to make a decision that we cannot help him anymore. But I would never let him go without having you say goodbye to him first.”


“So, he’s not dead?”


“No, not dead. My wallet is currently hundreds and hundreds of dollars lighter…but your cat is alive. For now.”




“But Esther, we still don’t know everything that’s wrong and I’ve gotta be honest with you – I don’t know how much more I can spend. I know that seems weird and cruel and unfair…but honey I need to use our money to take care of you and your sisters and sometimes, as hard as it might be to understand, sometimes a cat is just a cat.”


And I don’t think that’s a cruel thing to say. It’s a reality. And I love cats. I love our cats. But even the vet understands the reality when they called me eight times yesterday to explain things and give estimates. They would not be itemizing a bill about my kids. They were itemizing because we were talking about a cat. They get it.


Just maybe next time I will make sure Esther understands that I would not just ‘kill’ her cat without her full knowledge and a proper goodbye. Maybe next time she’ll bear witness to her mother sobbing alone in the vet’s waiting room because it hurts everyone’s heart to make a decision like this. Even if it’s just a cat.


So for now, Tyko cat lives. And we wait to see what the next few weeks bring us.


And maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll die when I’m out of town this weekend and it will save me from making any further parenting mistakes.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at tracy@sellabitmum.com

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  1. says

    At least there is something wrong with it. When Cady was about four years old I had to find our dog a new home (no really, that’s not a euphemism). We did not have time for the dog, and she had SO much energy. I found her a home with three children a few years older than mine. Cady still talks about how I gave her dog away even though she NEVER played with the dog and couldn’t even go in the backyard because of the jumping. I guess I’ll have to live with that guilt forever.
    Jennifer recently posted..Children’s Book Review {Vlog}

  2. says

    Dude. Mine SO do not get my sarcasm either. It’s tragic. But I’m thinking at least that means they won’t use it on me when they are teenagers…? Yeah, holding on to that hope.

  3. says

    Ugh… I hope the day we have to make such hard decisions about our dog is a long, long way off. It’s going to be so hard – Riesling is so, so much a part of our family and who we are. I wish you and your family (cats included!) all the very best.
    Caitlin MidAtlantic recently posted..Sick Days

  4. says

    I’ve had to take one of our dogs to the vet to be put down. The kids understood, but it was still really hard. One of our other dogs died on her own, but that really wasn’t much easier because it was more unexpected and none of us were prepared for it. So I think the thesis I’m developing here is that it sucks when a pet dies, no matter how it happens.
    We are a one dog family now and this one better be sticking around for a good long time.
    Shannon recently posted..Moments I Keep

  5. Kristin says

    In tears … I send you love. Wish I could’ve been there to hug you in the vet’s office. So sorry you’re having to deal with this. Take care of you.

  6. says

    This seems like a tough spot to be in for everyone – you making decisions about finances and the life of a cat, your daughter because she loves a sick cat.

    But it is kind of hilarious how something a parent says so nonchalantly can take over a child’s entire mind space. Guess I’ll have to watch the sarcasm at home.
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  7. says

    I hope your cat lives a long, healthy, and cheap life.
    Also, one summer I went away as a teen and when I got back my cockatiel had gone to live on a bird farm – literally. My parents gave him away to a bird farm because I was going to college and they didn’t want to take care of him. I am still not over it.
    Jenni Chiu @ MommyNaniBooboo recently posted..Where the Booties Go.

  8. says

    I hear you- we currently have an aging, sick cat, but add to that a sick hamster. While I’ll probably be able to justify spending a reasonable amount of money on my cat to keep him alive and happy, can I really take a hamster to the vet and spend money on that??? I’m in a quandry because I would hate to see a hamster suffering, but a vet bill for him? Really? Ugh! 🙂

  9. says

    I have a friend who won’t get a pet for his family cause he remembers how traumatic it was when their dog died when he was a kid. We have a dog and I can’t imagine having to make that kind of decision or explain it to a child. But I think the love that a pet brings is bigger than the sadness.
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  10. says

    At least you’re talking to her about the possibilities. When I came home from third grade my mother said our cats ran away. Both of them. Odd, no? I found out later, probably about 7th grade, that she’d taken them TO AN ALLEY AND PUT THEM OUT OF THE CAR, DROVE OFF. Their names were Spunky and Pepi. I am still bitter.
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  11. says

    Oh gosh, this sounds so familiar… but I came home without the cat and had to burst into tears in the car pick-up line… because Grace’s first words to me were “Is Duchy alive??” And Erina’s friend was in the car with us too. Poor girl didn’t know what to do with herself while the three of us cried all the way home. BUT… our cat was old and weak… and probably senile. I swear she had cats alzheimers (if that even exists). Still didn’t make it easier.

    And we had a similar discussion, to me a cat is easier to replace than a dog. So I would easily pull out that credit card to save my dog… no matter how much it is, just charge!! But with a cat?? Mhh… not so much. Of course my kids didn’t think that was fair and called me a meanie ;-).
    Monika recently posted..Italy 2012

  12. Jana says

    Sophia can handle the sarc, but oh her friends cannot so I have to be really careful. Poor Esther!

  13. says

    Kids ARE so literal. We’ve had a few of these moments… Like my older son telling his teacher he wasn’t allowed to attend the after-school enrichment program we signed him up and paid for. But that wasn’t what we said…. My husband said that if he didn’t do something, THEN he wouldn’t be allowed to go. But instead, my son refused to attend at the end of the school day. Of all times to suddenly be unquestioningly obedient……

    I hope the cat is ok!
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