How did I end up with three cats

Dude, I don't even know. Yes, husband & I rescued and care for three cats. Because today is a National Pet Day (but isn’t that every day tho?) I am dedicating this post to them: Pepper, Whitey & Lucky. I am a huge dog person, so it was natural to rescue & adopt…cats.

I’m still trying to figure out what happened there. One summer we had some strays roaming around, and by the time harsh Chicago winter came, those little furry assholes have infiltrated our house and our lives. Humans have this natural predisposition for attachment and its incredibly easy to get attached to animals. That's exactly what happened to husband & I. Pepper started coming around my deck in Summer of 2014, a year we planned our wedding. He didn't act like a scared feral and enjoyed being pet and played with. I'd sit on my deck (as I usually do the moment it hits 50,60 degrees outside) and he would come, lay around my feet and I'd play with him and hold him.

September 2014

I'd give him some food and while later, his "sister" started to follow, but was far more feral than he was.She'd poke her head on my deck and run away. This went on for months and months, after the wedding festivities in September wrapped up and well into Fall & Winter. Fall of 2014 was fairly wet and rainy season. One night, I let Pepper inside and husband naturally freaked out and told me to kick him out. At first, I did. Then he started showing up more often and I'd let him roam around the house to dry off and warm up. At night, we'd kick him out and this went on until it got REALLY cold. I'm trying to recall the exact moment when we decided we'd keep him in permanently. I just know that in our mind, all of this shit with cats was supposed to be "temporary". It was supposed to be until Spring came and here were are, four years later and I can't imagine my life without them.

Month later, we had him neutered.

Pepper's first time in the house, October of 2014

He quickly made himself at home.

 His "sister" (litter-mate) Whitey remained outside, gnawing at the glass deck door. We had separated them. 

They clearly missed each other. How heartless can one be to separate them??

After a month or so watching her yearn for her brother, we let her roam around the house and hang out with him. January was just around the corner and once again, we made a "TEMPORARY" decision to keep her in until it warmed up. Meanwhile, she got a really bad eye infection. I took her to vet and a month later, we had her spayed. At this point, both of the cats were healthy & fixed and decision was made to keep them.

But our cat woes do not end here. End of December of 2014, another small white kitten showed up. Feral and hungry, I had set up a shelter with heated pad for him on the deck. Around January, the poor thing got REALLY sick and quit eating. Within few days, this little raggedy looking thing (which we called RatBoy for a while) became emaciated and deathly ill.


We had a dying kitten on the deck and decision had to be made: watch  him die slowly and painfully in the cold...or trap him  and take him to vet for either treatment or to be put down. Later than night, Slavisa went to Home Depot and purchased a humane trap. Took us 2 hours to lure him in. Usually, the food will guide them right in, but the poor thing was so sick, he couldn't smell the food, therefore he quit eating. I grabbed a small laser (yes, stereotypes about cats and lasers is VERY TRUE) and with it, I managed to get him going. Once he got trapped, I immediately drove us to emergency vet where he received an antibiotic shot. Vet told us its gonna take few weeks for him to be cured. Again, we didn't have the heart to let a sick, ailing kitten out in the snow while he was trying to get better. 

At the vet's office. We had to cover the trap so he could calm down.

For the third time, a "temporary" decision was made to help a kitten in need. We told ourselves, if Ratboy survives this, we will call him Lucky. Few weeks later, once a dying kitten on my deck, began to thrive but now a tough decision had to be made. I realized that in less than 3 months, we had rescued and took in THREE stray cats into our home without a plan or a serious conversation. I did not have the heart to let Lucky go once he got better. I told my husband "

you will open that deck door and YOU will let him out because I physically and emotionally can't."

I dare you to resist this face

I think we all know how that went and that's because my husband has the biggest heart and he is attached to them as much as I am. No matter how hard he tries to pretend otherwise.

4 years later, we have 3 cats in our house. Our parents still give us a hard time (its frowned upon indoor animals in our culture), I constantly have to vacuum and clean up hair, I spend hundreds a month on their (premium) food, toys, furniture and litter, I have to worry and prepare in advance every time we travel to Kansas City, arrange a long term solution for longer trips, be ready for anything that may come up, watch their weight constantly etc.

I wouldn't even call this "hard" work. Its become second nature to both of us.

Do I still like dogs better? Definitely. Do I want a dog? Oh for sure. Am I gonna get a dog? Probably. Animals have brought joy to my life, eased off anxiety and gave me a sense of purpose. I feel less depressed. They seem to soak up edge off me. Its hard to explain. I miss them when they're not around.

So that's the story behind my kitties. Nothing unusual or crazy dramatic. Just a bunch of strays and my soft-for-animals heart.

Happy National Pets Day to my furry monsters.

Going Animal Cruelty Free - personal manifesto.

Ever since I rescued my 3 cats, I've become more conscious about animal welfare. Not that I wasn't aware of animal cruelty before, I just never spoke as loudly as I do these days. And also, ignorance is bliss. I chose to ignore certain things because I like certain items. In terms of animal welfare, I sadly admit that I am nowhere near perfect. I still eat meat, for example. Not as much as I used to, but I do. I do imagine and see the future for myself that is free of animal flesh & fur. My conscience won't allow much longer for it. I know what the corporate farming does to cows, pigs and chickens. Do not google it....or do, maybe we can go vegan together. Cats and dogs might be considered pets, but the farm animals are just as sentient as the "cute," "fluffy" ones. Because I still eat meat, I can't judge anyone else who does. This post is not meant to be preachy or judgmental. I'm fully aware of the fact that veganism and vegetarianism are FIRST world choice. People across the planet cannot afford such luxury. I try to keep my privilege in check. This post is simply a reflection on a lifestyle I want to change & lead. Lifestyle free of animal, products, torture & cruelty. Those are the key words to keep in mind. It's not a change I can make over night but I'm willing to work on it.

Animal cruelty, with CRUELTY being the key word here, it does nothing to benefit a human. You can eat an animal without torturing it or experimenting on it.

Bottom line:

It's cruel to hunt for sport & fun.
It's cruel to test make-up on animals.
It's cruel to wear leather and fur.
It's cruel to buy animals.

I want to contribute somehow. I want to curb the cruelty in any way I can. I wish I can be more radical and bold and just say "fuck it all" but there is nuance to this. Its not as black and white and as simple as some may make it out to be. Hunting for food and population control, I get it. Testing medications on animals for cancer treatments, I get it. Testing for make up? Fuck no. Its absolutely unnecessary. Wearing leather and fur? The sheer cruelty these poor animals go through is unbearable. Technology and process has evolved so much that vegan leather and fake fur look as good as the real thing, but its a personal choice and you chose to be a fucking asshole. (The fur thing infuriates me.) Now, let me step back for a moment. I own a leather jacket, shoes and boots. All from Zara. Haven't bought real leather in years & don't intend to anymore. I find solace in Zara's ethically obtained leather though. but even this is highly questionable due to the environmental impact and collection of carcasses from slaughterhouses....I mean....I don't know. At least they are not killing these poor animals just to strip them off their skin, so I find SOME, completely bare minimum justification in that. Its not good enough though.

Ethical Consumer is a fantastic source if you are looking to make changes to your purchasing and life habits.

I have never bought or worn fur. I refuse to buy silk.  I'm trying to abstain from polyester as well, due to environmental impact. Cotton, linen and soy based fabrics such as cashmere and silk are all sustainable and biodegradable. Does polyester sneak into my closet? Sure. I'm trying to curb it as much as I can. 

For about a year, I've been changing up my skin and make-up routine and products to cruelty-free. 99% of my make up is cruelty free. 100% of my skin care is cruelty free. Hair care? This is my worst offence. Pretty much all of my hair products have been tested on animals. After make up and skin care, that's my next level of cruelty free I'd like to achieve. If it has the word L'Oreal, Estee Lauder, & Shiseido, I am NOT buying it. There are so many great make up  brands that are NOT sold in China (this is major indicate) and are cruelty free. My favorites are Hourglass. Marc Jacobs Beauty (separate company from the perfumes which DO test on animals) Kat Von D, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Becca, Cover FX - and TONS of other affordable & indie brands. There are thousands of fantastic companies NOT testing on animals and their products are TOP NOTCH. You can spend $13 on Loreal Infallible....or you can spend $5.00 on Wet'nWild which is far superior, cheaper and CRUELTY FREE. Its not just rats and rabbits that go through this process. Cats, dogs, monkeys....I mean. I didn't want to share any disturbing photos but...

I don't want this on my conscience. I already do enough damage by eating meat & eggs....but to contribute to this because of a fucking lipstick? I can do better.

So yeah. I've been ranting, facebooking, snap-chatting and discussing cruelty free for a while now. Its something I take seriously & other people's opinions on this matter are absolutely irrelevant to me. My goal is not to preach or tell you "go vegan"...I just want to discuss alternatives. I can't judge because I'm so far from where I want to be. I hope to start a conversation with this.

I want my lifestyle to reflect my conscience. Maybe not right now at this moment or even tomorrow, but I'm more than willing to make changes & raise my own humans one day to be aware of the planet and all its inhabitants.

Cruelty Free Kitty website is a FANTASTIC source for all things cruelty-free & vegan. Suzi updates her blog regularly with new products and ways. She also alerts when a company sells their soul to China (looking at you NARS.)
Resources are out there, products and ways are out there...they just need to be looked up, reached and researched. Ignorance is no longer a bliss for me. I'm not that boring anymore. And as always, TNR your neighborhood cats and ALWAYS ADOPT DO NOT SHOP. 

Make-Up Shaming

I wanna get ONE thing out of the way immediately: my purpose on this Earth is not for you to find me attractive...or ugly. My appearance is not your business. It is not a rent I pay to occupy space on this planet. If you are not financing my stuff, you only get to do two things: compliment me (no guarantee I'll care for it or take it) or say NOTHING. The only time you get to comment on the amount of my lipstick, is when it stuck on my teeth. Now that we got that out of the way, I noticed a really ugly trend on social media: make-up shaming. What is make up shaming? Basically bunch of people who love sticking their nose in other people's business and telling them what to do in terms of their appearance and just how much or how little make-up someone is wearing. Yes, apparently this is a thing in 2017. The comment sections are littered with this crap. I believe its a response to an overwhelming amount of beauty videos on Instagram & YouTube. For every Jaclyn Hill, there is a girl out there bragging how she's so awful at putting on a lipstick. Cue the laughs, cue the "omg she is so real & honest yaas." Yes, these days we brag about being terrible at something. Congrats on owning your one and only mascara for 15 years. Enjoy the pink eye. 

Explain to me the effort you put in into a video that shames girls for wearing make up and/or being good at doing make up vs. you walking into a Target or Walgreens and buying a brand new Maybeline mascara for $4.00?  Oh right. It's to be a complete f*cking asshole. I'm being harsh, yes, but this nonsense needs to end already. A lot of it has to do with "special snowflake" syndrome. "Other girls wear make up, but not me!! Aren't I fun & quirky?!"
Here you go:
This make-up shaming trend is rooted in sexism. Somehow the world convinced women that you can either be beautiful or smart. You can hold a lipstick...or a pencil. If I cake my face in foundation and red lipstick, I'm not to be taken seriously or I do it to "impress boys." Get the f*ck out with that nonsense. I did not spend $40 on a Chanel lipstick so a f*ckboy will notice it. 

"You look so much better without all that make up." 
Or on the opposite spectrum for those who don't wear make up: 
"You look tired." 

FULL STOP. That crap is insulting, unnecessary and cruel. 

"This is why you take her swimming before a date" (This is your classic f*ckboy talk. Super easy to spot and then avoid.) I guarantee you that my Dior coated lashes are bigger than your dick. But its not the men and their s*itty, unsolicited, irrelevant opinions that get to me. Its when I see other girls do it. What do you get out of it? What are you trying to accomplish with "you're so much prettier without all that crap on your face."

Lemme break it down:
  • Your validation isn't necessary. I wear make up because I LIKE IT.
  • That "crap" is $62 bottle of YSL. 
  • I enjoy the time I spend doing it. Do not belittle it.
  • Maybe I AM dealing with low-self esteem and make-up is one way to raise it. Do not belittle that either. But again, you don't know. Because I didn't tell you.
  • Who asked you?
and number 6, the most important one:

STAY IN YOUR LANE. See how I made that big n bold? You do not get to dictate someone else's life and their choices. You either be supportive or you shut the f*ck up. 

Someone's fatness, thinness, clothing choices, hair style and in this case, make up...full stop.

"You try too hard."

What does that even mean? No. Serious question. 
This just goes back to the (humble) bragging about being shitty at doing stuff. (See my first paragraph.) Oh you are sooooo special for not washing a make up brush for a whole decade. Have fun with bacteria and zits. Here is a cookie for your uniqueness and for "not being like the other girls."

Whether you wear a lot of make up or none at all, chances of you getting shamed & mocked by the Internet and people you know are pretty high. Its a godamn pissing contest and women simply cannot win. 

I'm a full blown, unapologetic, loud mouth, intersectional feminist. I love girly shit. I love make up and fashion. I live in heels. I'm obsessed with skin care. I wear ton of make up. I'm neither vain, stupid or shallow....or less feminist because of it. Make up ratio for being a good feminist does not exist. These things are not in a vacuum. You can do one, or both or bunch of other things at the same time. Its called MULTITASKING.
I enjoy the entire process of make up, shopping, the ritual of it. I got my morning cats next to me purring and sleeping, music on the phone, sometimes my favorite sitcom on iPad...
and do not get to belittle that with your unsolicited opinion.

Make-up can be whatever you want it to be. Humans have been using it since Ancient Egyptians. If you don't wanna wear it, don't wear it. If you wanna wear 150 lbs of it, you do you. If you're happy with just a $2 lipgloss...or $32.00 Hourglass crayon, more power to ya. There are no rules. 

Mocking and shaming? GTFO. Who the hell do you think you are?

Now excuse me while I re-apply my highlight. 

Stop asking when is someone getting married or having a baby.

I'm about to come of as a complete jackass, but what's new? Being at the age that I am (30 gasp!) happily married for over 2 years to a fantastic man, I guess its natural for people to ask but seriously, QUIT ASKING. Its "natural" because of centuries of propagating typical and stereotypical roles for different genders. Women are conditioned to discuss men, other women or babies. I have never seen a man get asked when is he finally getting married or having a baby. Mostly since men don't have an "expiration date."

I cannot tell you what it's like to have a child since I don't have one. Just as you can tell me how life is finally worth living just because you have a child. My worth is based on myself alone. I do not place my value on the role that I play in other people's lives. I refuse to place my worth in someone else's hands. They will drop it EVERY TIME.  I'm a human first....daughter, sister, wife, cousin, friend etc second. I don't want anyone to give a fuck about me just because I'm someone's mother or wife. I want you to give a fuck about me because I'm a person.

People will confuse your feminism with dangerous and hilarious propaganda that we are all lesbian witches who eat babies and kill men. But I'm not here to lecture you or teach you about feminism. You are a big girl/boy. Read books. Read articles. Talk to people. Experience things. Open your mind to different points of view. Or stay stagnant, I don't give a shit.

With all of these different topics convulsed into one possibly confusing opening statement, I'm here to ask you...wait TELL YOU: quit asking other people when are they getting married or having children. Why? Its absolutely NONE of your business. 7 billion people are experiencing life differently every day. Grasp this fact, wrap it around your brain and maybe, just maybe you will realize that the center of the universe does not revolve around you and your terrible opinion on how someone else should live their life.

I guess my other goal in this post is to come up with reasons why we ask these questions to begin with and why is it that mostly women get asked, so don't even come to me with that #notallmen bullshit.

Marriage and babies are personal decisions. They work for some and they most definitely do not work for others. Asking these questions only propagates that marriage and children are the ULTIMATE goal in life. Maybe they are for you. Nothing wrong with it. It becomes wrong when you tell others to have the same goal. Stop telling people what to do. Since marriage was one of the goals for me personally, I got married. Do I want children? (Even when I ask myself that question, it Some days I do...some I don't. Its called human complexity. I have other goals. Marriage was just one of them. My life and my fight does not end with a shiny ring on my finger. I want to do well at work. I want to network. Be a good sister and daughter to my family. Save a couple of animals. Participate in Slutwalks. Be a decent friend. I have ton of goals. Important ones and not so much. Most people do.

When I fuck up royally...and we all do, I want to be able to recognize it.

I'll admit right now that I'm guilty of asking both of those questions multiple times to multiple women (yes women only - depressing as fuck.)  I admit that I had placed the value of my female friends on their inability to get married. I admit how wrong I am and how sorry I am.

"When are you gonna get married?"
"When will you have a baby?"

And I have never ever asked men in my life these questions. I recognize that now. I recognize my own internalized sexism. Aside from sexist tropes placed upon women, the main reason you should quit asking people about marriage and babies is simple: you have NO clue what people are going thru in their life. If someone chooses to share details of their life with you, ask away. Other than that, just stop.

Infertility, miscarriage, abortion, bad financial situation, bad marriage, domestic abuse, rape, mental illness, physical illness, illness of a parent, caring for elderly parents, career, traveling - there are MILLION reasons why someone is not married or is childless. You never know what kind of wound you are opening by asking these questions. You never know who is grieving over a miscarriage or a stillborn infant. You never know who got out of a terrible relationship that left them with scars, physical and/or mental. YOU DONT KNOW, therefore quit asking. It is none of your godamn business.

The questions might be innocent, but you don't know the pain, grief, stress and frustration they might be bringing to someone. It does not matter how well you mean....someone's fertility, marriage and lack thereof is NONE of your business. Unmarried woman over 30 is not worthless. That idea needs to die painfully.

These questions are intrusive, they can be painful, they can open serious wounds, but why would you give a fuck about other people? What matters is your life, your opinion and how will you shove it down someone's throat. Get the fuck outta here.

If you are truly and sincerely interested in someone's life, ask them what was the best part of their day.  To end this post, I'd like to apologize to anyone whose privacy I have violated. I had no bad intentions. I also had no business asking. You will never hear me ask those intrusive questions again and I will with just as much ease, tell you to quit asking.