Feline Indulgence

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There are many different ways of spinning the early retirement lifestyle.

For some, (I will call them the fundamentalists,) it is an ethical question. Dramatically paring down your lifestyle to something reasonable is a moral imperative. And wasteful spending and consumerism are not just stupid, they are morally wrong. They contribute to the impending doom of our planet. I think of the wonderful Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme in this light.

For others, (I will call them the romanticists,) avoiding the excesses of overspending and consumption are feats of strength, to be admired and emulated. I think of Mr. Money Mustache in this light. By shining a light on just how great life can be with a smaller footprint, they seek to motivate you to shrink your own footprint down. They are waving an irresistible carrot to move you in the appropriate direction.

I consider myself more of a pragmatist. I am not so concerned whether you shrink your lifestyle down or not. My main motivation is to make my readers think of spending in a realistic context. I trust that just the recognition of the fact that “spending money” is a form of “spending freedom” is enough to motivate most people to shrink their consumption down to a more manageable level on their own terms. But if some read my posts and then decide that working longer and spending more is a better way of life for them, I have zero problem with that.

And the evidence of this attitude is all over my blog.

You’re no dummy. You can do the math.

I’ve admitted that I’m in the top tax bracket which means that I make a goodly sum of money each year.

And I’ve admitted that I save between 50 and 60% of my take-home income each year.

So that leaves a whole embarrassing chunk of money that I’m still spending.

In any light, I am very un-monk-like.

I have not written about my excesses in the past, because the message to consume is everywhere. There are no lack of advertisements telling you about all of the good things you can spend your money on.

But honesty and full disclosure are important too. So tonight I thought it would be interesting to start writing about the crazy and indulgent things that I spend my own money on unnecessarily. And to investigate whether or not they were, in fact, worth it.

Spending $1100 on a cat is pretty crazy.

It is all too easy to go to the Humane Society and adopt a cat for nearly free.

And 99 times out of 100 you will love your new cat and wonder how you could’ve gotten such happiness for nearly free.
But our case was somewhat special.

My wife is very allergic to cats. (So allergic that one time when we tried to sleep at my mothers house in San Francisco my wife and I had to vacate in the middle of the night because of a severe feline induced asthma attack and move to a nearby hotel.)

So we never really thought about getting a cat.

But then two summers ago we developed a mouse problem.

It started with tiny little sausagelike droppings on the carpet of our basement. But before long we would see mice scuttling across our hardwood floors at night.

We set countless traps and caught countless mice. But it was a nasty affair, and for the first time in our lives together my wife thought it might be nice to have a cat if it were at all possible.

So we did some research and found out about hypoallergenic Siberian cats. And we visited a very nice breeder in nearby Gresham Oregon. And despite the 30 or so cats in this breeders house, my wife had not so much as a sniffle when we visited.

And so we came to purchase Jupie.

 jupster1Our fancy kitten

He cost $1100 and has been worth every penny.

He has a dog like personality and will come when called.

He will happily sit on your lap so long as you scratch his neck.

And the kids love playing with him with strings and sticks and the like.

And mice don’t seem to enjoy living in our house much anymore.

But where Jupie really earned his keep was last year when after I returned to Portland, and my wife and kids stayed in Japan for a few extra weeks without me.

Being able to sit on the couch with the purring cat was 1000 times less lonely feeling than the year before when I’d been stuck alone inside my house.

This lack of loneliness was very happiness inducing.

jupi and me

Chillin’ with Jupie:  Priceless

Which makes me feel that spending $1100 on Jupie plus the cost of kitty litter, and wet food, and dry food, and veterinary bills, was an absolute bargain.

And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, even if it meant an extra year until I reached financial independence.

Happiness is the name of the game, after all. And Jupie delivers it in spades.

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4 Responses to “Feline Indulgence”

  1. Robert March 23, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    Oh, my! What a beast!! That is one big furball! LOL
    The point of your post is that you don’t feel badly about spending $1100 on a cat. If it makes you feel even better, we let our son pick one out from the city pound and while it cost us $10 it was multiples of $1100 by the time it finally kicked the bucket a dozen years later.

  2. Miles Dividend M.D. March 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    That does make me feel better Robert.

    Sometimes it’s not about the money.


  3. Pat July 3, 2014 at 5:15 am #

    An advantage of purebreds is that good breeders pay attention to genetics, and you are less likely to end up with major health problems. You also know the breed characteristics (including behaviour) and what your new kitten/puppy is likely to be as an adult. If you need something more specific than a generic cat/dog, then purebred is the way to go. This is why my present dog is my third purebred Samoyed. I love the breed, and I know what my puppies will be like (in general) as adults.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. July 3, 2014 at 9:49 pm #


      Great points! I know that if my wife were to wake up tomorrow with no feline allergies, and we were in the market for another cat, that would be very tempted to get another Siberian. Jupy is such a great cat.

      On the other hand I grew up with a bunch of cats from the pound who were also terrific.


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