Friend’s Cat Pisses on and Ruins Jackets, Purse: Who Pays?

by Darwin on December 5, 2012

I’m an animal lover, but cats really piss me off. My wife’s a cat person, I’m a dog person. So, we have both. While my dog barks to go out or feels terrible if he has an accident, we’ve had cats that piss on our stuff intentionally – just to be nasty. Either they’re mad you didn’t feed them, mad you left them alone for a while or they’re just plain insane. We’ve shifted litter boxes around, stopped putting clothes anywhere on the floor, etc., and our problem was solved here. But today, we had another one of those bizarre moments that I thought would make for a good post, not one of the cookie-cutter personal finance posts we’ve all come to know and love.

That Cat’s a Real Pisser…

So, today, my wife was at a friends’ house where the kids were playing. She left her jacket, my son’s jacket and her purse on the landing near the stairs and the boys played for a while. When she went to leave, she noticed everything smelled disgusting. Evidently, the friend’s cat pissed all over all her stuff, including IN her purse. If you’ve ever had a cat piss on your stuff, you’ll understand what a pain it is (one of our cats that I can’t stand peed all over a bunch of my tee-shirts I had packed up for a camping trip and they still smell like piss even after washing them multiple times). It’s hit or miss. Sometimes, the stuff’s just destroyed and you have to get rid of it. To add insult to injury, once a cat smells another cat’s piss, they want to piss on it too, so when my wife brings this stuff home, there’s a chance our cats will now want to piss on the jackets and purse again. The friend was apologetic and offered to pay for the dry-cleaning of the jackets, but it’s unlikely that dry-cleaning would even matter. This stuff’s probably gonna either get messed up in the regular wash, or have to be tossed. My wife declined and said we’d handle it. Fortunately, I guess, we don’t walk around in $500 jackets and my wife only has 1 real nice purse (which wasn’t the one she had today!). It’s all replaceable for probably a few hundred dollars and my wife said not to worry about it, her jacket was a few years old anyway and probably due to be replaced by next year regardless. After all, it wasn’t intentional, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the same thing to happen at our house. We get it – cats suck. And it’s not worth ruining a friendship over a material item. At least they offered to clean them. But I wonder how people would feel if the circumstances were different. Say it were a $500 coach purse and $500 jacket? That’s a thousand bucks!

$150 Pants?

This story kind of reminds me of when I was a kid out to lunch for a class trip. I had this snobby kid in my class who always had the newest gadget and most expensive clothes. As I recall, I spilled a soda on the table at lunch and his “Z. Cavaricci” pants got wet. Evidently, these were $150 pants. Now, what a 7th grader is doing wearing $150 pants is beyond me (a boy for that matter). But when his parents caught wind of what happened, they called up my parents and demanded we pay them $150 to replace his pants. Now, normally, my parents were always the type to “do the right thing” and “be the better person”. Had the situation been different, they would have just paid someone the money for something their kid did wrong. But in this case, it was an accident – a spilled drink at a restaurant that happens all the time with kids. My parents said, “You’re ridiculous for sending your kid to a restaurant in $150 pants. Sorry, but we’re not buying your son’s pants”. They were livid. It caused some sort of rift apparently; I was only a kid and wasn’t involved in the conversations directly, but my mom still talks about it to this day, how stupid it was to send a kid to a class trip with 25 other kids and think nothing’s going to happen to $150 pants. So, the premise here is, stuff happens. When you own expensive stuff, sometimes it’s going to get ruined – either as a result of something you did, or someone else. Sometimes, I think it’s just not worth having real expensive material things – especially “fad” or seasonal things that aren’t even going to be around for long. The guy in the parking lot taking up 2 spots because he doesn’t want his car to get scratched? Owning clothing that’s going to cause a major fight if someone spills something on it? I dunno, life’s too short for that stuff for me.

A few questions for you:

  • Have You Ever Had Something of Yours Destroyed By Someone Else?
  • Who Paid?
  • Do the Circumstances Matter or is it Black and White?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents December 6, 2012 at 1:14 am

Slightly different, but equally annoying! My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were visiting over Thanksgiving. They took back (NY) some see’s candy. Their dog got up on the counter and devoured the candy when they were not home. Only the wrappers were left! Cheap lesson the candy only cost $16.


Darwin December 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm

We have a history of dogs devouring stuff. My mom’s ended up costing her over a thousand bucks because the dog ate a bunch of tissues and it ended up clogging her intestines – surgery! Crazy animals.


PK December 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm

This wouldn’t have happened if they had a dog…


Darwin December 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm



Revanche December 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Totally would have happened if they had a dog. I’d been riding horseback for a while and we finally sprang for decent riding gloves to protect my hands. Everything else we’d bought used at a consignment store but we weren’t able to find gloves used that would fit me.
We’d been riding in the cold for a long time and I had developed some hand problems exacerbated by the cold. Friend’s neurotic as hell, barfs, craps and pees all over everything dog got bored, found them in my bookbag and ate them. *shrug* Dog was unpredictable, she’d never gone into my bookbag ever before, she’d never taken anything of mine before even if it was out, she’d only gotten into food.
Granted, they were “only” $50+ but that was a LOT of money to me at the time. Friend’s parents immediately insisted on replacing them but I looked for cheapie gloves because I was at their house a lot and I didn’t want to risk the same thing happening again.

Rule of thumb: Your pet/accident, your replacement.

But we’ve had wealthy friends not repair or replace things they damaged in the neighborhood of hundreds of dollars even though I really thought they should have. Didn’t hold a grudge over it, just thought the circumstances were stupid and maybe, don’t do that again.


Darwin December 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm

We’ve had puppies especially, that have destroyed things at unexpected times and places. very unpredictable!


Kathleen, Frugal Portland December 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

THIS is why I don’t have nice things! This is also why I don’t have cats. Once, when I was over at my friend’s house, I took a picture of her son with her camera and dropped it on the floor and broke it. Thank goodness it was $150ish to replace! But I absolutely replaced that sucker. It’s the same, no?


Darwin December 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Wow, that was a tough one. $150’s not chump change! Too bad; but i bet you’re still friends!


Kevin @ Invest It Wisely December 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I got someone’s multi-hundred $ camera submerged in a lake from being an idiot and ended up buying them a new one… we recovered the camera but it just didn’t work right afterwards. Most expensive practical joke ever, but I think the memories were still worth it. 😉


101 Centavos December 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

Cats are just too damn rotten, to the core.


Darwin December 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

They’re OK when they behave! Our old cat was good; these new ones? PIA. No wonder the prior owner gave them up!


Kevin @ Invest It Wisely December 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Man, sorry to hear about that. If my pets did that I think I’d offer full replacement cost, it’s basically the right thing to do unless we’re talking about a $50,000 purse, in which case the person should have insurance against that kind of thing. 😉

I’m both a cat and a dog person, but I see how some other cats behave, and my cat was a special case in that he grew up habituated with a dog, and he was the most gentle cat I knew. He’d rip the head off of any cat or dog that ventured onto our property so we had to make sure he was in at night, but I don’t even he ever scratched or hissed at anyone, ever. Man, I miss him even today, wish a pet’s lifespan wasn’t so short. This was before the age of digital photography so all I really have are my own memories and a few photos here and there.


Darwin December 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

We have a dog here too. It was kinda funny seeing them get used to each other. He’s a lab, so he wouldn’t hurt them, but there was this long period or quasi-aggressive curiosity.


Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin December 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

Wow! They should definitely offer to pay.


Darwin December 11, 2012 at 12:36 am

To be fair, she did offer to at least clean; and there’s no way to tell on the spot if it just needs to be cleaned or tossed. I think the verdict is everything will be saved; time will tell if it smells LOL.


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