How do you quantify the needs of one life against another?

Where does the line lie between making yourself happy and being considerate of others? And do you limit that consideration to only your own race? I know many vegetarians do not. Does the fact that humanity can inflict our desires upon the rest of the creatures on this planet mean that it is necessarily the correct thing to do? I am pondering whether to adopt a kitten and am concerned that it will negatively impact my current cat’s (Lexi) quality of life.

She has become extremely accustomed to being the only animal in the household. When she has had to go stay at another house that has animals she will hide away and hiss, only coming out to grab a quick bite to eat. The last time I had to do that to her she maintained that behavior for a couple months, the entire time I was gone. Yet she came from a house where she got along fine with a smaller dog. Would she be okay if I adopted a kitten that she could dominate in the beginning and grow accustomed to? It’s not like there’s a return policy on adopting animals. At least I don’t think there is.

Lexi is 11 now, so she is definitely getting on in years. I expect she will likely live another 4-8 years given how tiny she is, but I don’t want to subject her to a new brother or sister when she is in her last days. That seems like a poor idea. And I’d like to have another feline so that when I lose Lex I’m not totally devastated by her loss. I have a difficult enough time struggling through life as is. Dealing with the loss of my ‘daughter’ without having another ‘child’ to have a loving relationship with would be nearly unbearable. So who’s needs are more important in this situation?

Yes, you can certainly extrapolate the overall question to a large scale philosophical one, but I generally don’t have an issue with the larger aspect of this quandary. I go with the straight utilitarian perspective. Greatest good for the greatest number. It’s when you get down to discerning the minutiae that it becomes challenging for me. We have two creatures here. Both have desires and I cannot effectively communicate with Lexi in any sensible fashion. Yet I love her and do not want to put her through any undue distress. So what is the responsible thing to do? Hell if I know.


6 thoughts on “How do you quantify the needs of one life against another?

  1. kelli says:

    There is a return policy with adopted pets!
    You generally have 10 days to decide if you want to keep it, and they give you a trade credit that you can use at a later date if you can’t. Though I’m not sure how long the trade credit is good for…..

    It might do her good to have a little kitten to swat around *shrug*.

  2. kirsten says:

    It has been my personal experience that, eventually, animals get over stuff. Example: when we got Elliot, she hid under the bed for two solid days. Didn’t even come out to eat. Hated Oliver with a passion. Then, she was glued to my side for a few days. Then, all of a sudden, she decided she loved Oliver. She would spoon him (literally, even with a paw thrown over his belly, and I have the pictures to prove it!), clean him, etc. Every cat is different though, so there’s no telling if Lexi will accept the new kitten as a kid brother or sister, or hate it and try to kill it at least 10 times a day. But if you don’t try you’ll never know!

    • sadock76 says:

      Yes, that is true. I will probably give it a shot if I can confirm Kelli’s assertion about the 10-day trial thing a ma do. I will be taking Sam with me though. He’s an empath and I’m an emotional cripple. I’ve built up so many defensive walls that it is difficult sometimes for me to feel anything from people. Then again, animals are totally different. Hell, if I bring Kelli too, chances will be trebled that I will do well in my selection. We’re all sensitive about things to one degree or another.

      I seriously doubt that Lexi will bat around the kitten. I’m more afraid of the kitten hurting Lex. Lexi is only 8 or 9 pounds and she is totally schizoid. She’ll likely run away for as long as she can stay clear. I can’t even remember how to litter train a kitten. Or if you have to. They kind of litter train themselves more or less, don’t they?

  3. sadock76 says:

    Hmmmmm. It’s good to know about the return policy. Is that good at both Second Chance and the Humane Society? I think I’ve only adopted an animal from the pound once (Dante) and I’m 99% sure that was right around when you were born. Circa 1990.

    So which is better to adopt from? A place where they don’t put them down or a place where they’re going to kill them if they don’t get adopted? Save a life on one hand, but to do it you give them $$$ to kill other animals. Lovely. Another moral quandary.

  4. kelli says:

    Lol! Not everything needs to be a moral quandary 😛

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