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Clementine: A Heartwarming Case Study in Risk Taking

This post originally appeared on our Tumblr, where we frequently answer reader questions and sometimes post random unrelated things. This is one of those random posts, but it got quite a lot of positive feedback—so we’re posting it in full again here on the blog.

I just got a cat.

When New Cat is named and fully acclimated, she will def join the dogs, guinea pigs, and chickens as a Tumblr/Instagram regular.

But I have… mixed feelings.

My last cat died six months ago. We didn’t get another cat to replace her—c’est impossible, she was irreplaceable. Rather, we did it because we know two things:

  1. A house that’s had a cat in it will always feel empty without a cat in it.
  2. We have money and space and time and patience and love, and shelters are full of cats who don’t got none of those things.

Still, I’ve been thinking about my last cat Clementine a lot. And I think it would be healing to me to share a few photos of her.

A slow start

This was Clementine. We adopted her when she was 14 years old. That’s old. If she were human, she would’ve been in her early seventies. Her previous owner had moved into a nursing home. She was lucky to land in one of the few no-kill shelters with enough resources to accept a cat of her age. Many don’t.

Clementine was terribly stressed out being in the shelter after so many years in one person’s home. Her fur started to fall out, and she refused to eat. She hid all the time and hissed if approached. No one applied for her.

We saw a lot of great cats at the shelter. For some reason, she was the one my partner and I both couldn’t stop thinking about. We talked about it, and decided we had the patience, emotional maturity, and financial stability needed to address the realities of adopting a shy geriatric cat. So we took her home and released her under the bed.

“We might never see this cat,” I told my partner. “We might just know she’s here by periodic dips in the level of the food bowl.”

“I’d be okay with that,” he said.

“I would too.”
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One time during my freshman year of college, I walked into my dorm to find my pals holding up a bottle of Fiji water like it was the Holy Grail. Recently escaped country bumpkin that I was, I had never heard of Fiji bottled water. “Oh, you have to try it!” they exclaimed reverently, “It’s the best water.”

I sipped. I was underwhelmed. “Tastes just like my well water back home,” I explained. They gave me looks that clearly said, “Take your fairy tale upbringing in a sylvan glade drinking unicorn tears and shove it.”

All of which is to say that I have never been impressed with our country’s feverish devotion to bottled water. And here’s why I am perfectly vindicated in that point of view.

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But being fit and healthy is affordable by comparison. You can save yourself all kinds of money on healthcare costs and lifestyle expenses just by working your muscles periodically throughout the day. As far as frugality goes, physical fitness is an all-around genius tactic for saving.

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A while back, a mutual friend of the Bitches unexpectedly found herself in the ICU. She was very young, very healthy, and due to be wed to her deeply devoted partner within weeks. She was unconscious and totally incapacitated, and needed someone to make healthcare decisions on her behalf.

The funny thing about engagements is that they aren’t legally binding. So even though her fiancé absolutely knew her wishes better than anyone, all medical decisions reverted to her mother. I should say: the alcoholic, emotionally abusive mother she’d moved thousands of miles to escape from.

Maybe you’re one of those lucky people with a spouse, or living parents, who understand and agree with your decisions 100% of the time. But maybe you’re like our friend above, and your default healthcare advocate is dangerous, untrustworthy, or completely out-of-touch with your wishes and values. Failing to plan for unforeseeable medical emergencies can put your body and your life into the hands of someone who you don’t trust. And that is a very, very scary situation. Read More

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Take Advantage of No-Copay Medical Care

If you are an American who is lucky enough to have health insurance, you almost certainly have several annual and semi-annual services available to you with no copay—and you have absolutely no reason not to use them. Technically, you have already bought them, as their cost is built into the premiums you’ve already paid; and your body will thank you for it! Even if you feel perfectly healthy, establishing a baseline of health will help your medical professionals detect problems early.

Here’s what you should be doing every year.

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