Woman Backed for Prioritizing Cat's Health Over Sister's Financial Issues

Online commenters have backed a woman who chose to pay for her geriatric cat's surgery instead of loaning money to her financially strapped sister.

In a post shared on Reddit earlier this month under the username u/TWoldcat, the woman said her 21-year-old cat, Tom, whom she found in a bag when he was just a kitten, hasn't been feeling well and needs expensive surgery to improve his quality of life. At the same time, her sister contacted her asking for money so she and her husband don't lose their house.

The poster said that her mother always treated her sister better when they were growing up. For example, the mother always bought the sister new clothes while the poster got her sister's hand-me-downs. For this reason, the poster has always had negative feelings toward both of them, she wrote.

woman choosing cat over sister backed
Stock images show two women arguing and a cat in surgery. Commenters on Reddit have backed a woman who chose to pay for her cat's surgery instead of loaning money her sister says she needs. Getty Images

According to a 2022 survey by YouGov, about 1 in 4 Americans is estranged from at least one of their family members, and 14 percent of U.S. adults are estranged from their siblings.

The poster said that at age 18 she moved out of her mother's home and went to college while working. She had no contact with her mom and little contact with her sister. She now works at a well-paying job, while her sister is a stay-at-home mom.

She told her sister that she couldn't help her with a loan because she has to pay for her cat's surgery. "I said I'm sorry she's going through this, but this is not a good time for me either," the poster wrote.

"I suggested she get a job and maybe downsize/move in with mother while they get back up on their feet. She did not take this well, called me...a crazy cat lady that's going to end up alone plus some other nice words. I kicked her out.

The poster continued: "My mother and other relatives have been spamming me through 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. In the end, the main reason I chose not to help is due to my childhood baggage."

Carole Lieberman, a board-certified psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, California, told Newsweek that it is understandable that the woman would choose her cat over her selfish sister.

"She could write a letter to her mother and sister, explaining how she never got over all of the pain that they caused and that her only comfort has been this cat. She now feels that she owes more to the cat, who gave more to her than she owes to her sister," Lieberman said.

She continued: "If the woman wanted to be noble and self-sacrificing, she could give the money to help her sister instead of her cat, but the sister and mother would not appreciate the magnitude of the sacrifice and would continue to treat her shabbily. It's not as though her sister needs money for a life-threatening condition. Her husband foolishly spent too much money on NFTs, so it is not unreasonable to ask her sister to get a job or go live with their mom. "

The post was originally shared on the r/AmItheA****** subreddit, where users discuss their actions with online strangers. It has quickly gained popularity across the platform, receiving over 7,600 upvotes and 1,400 comments so far.

One user, DragonflyOk9277, commented: "[Not the A******]. Have you asked the family that has been spamming you how much they are financially contributing towards your sister? Hope the surgery goes well and wish a speedy recovery for Tom."

User crystallz2000, wrote: "[Not the A******]. 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.'"

The commenter continued: "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 [get] off of this chat and let you guys handle it from here.' Then, leave and block them all."

Humble_Plantain_5918 wrote: "When relatives try to pressure you to help out someone they haven't volunteered to contribute to, this is always the way. 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."

EbonyDoe said: "[Not the A******]. 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."

Newsweek reached out to u/TWoldcat for comment and could not verify the details of the case.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured in Newsweek.