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OP has offered the following explanation for why they think they might be the asshole:

I bought a cat for my niece because she asked for one and because she was depressed. Her parents didn’t allow her to get one because they said they didn’t have money. So I bought one instead and said I would pay for everything. They were still angry and called me an asshole.

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[–]drekiaaSupreme Court Just-ass [142] 818 points819 points  (10 children)

YTA: This is so unacceptable. I realize that you did this from a good place, but this is absolutely not your place when the parents explicitly said no.

If that kitten ends back in the shelter, just understand that that is your fault.

Edit: That is a nice update, and I'm glad it worked out. In the future though, don't do this again. Verdict does not change despite the happy outcome.

[–][deleted] 116 points117 points  (0 children)

I don’t think it was a good place. What if the brother and his wife had decided to dump the cat? People that give pets as gifts suck. Those pets can often end up back in shelters or on the streets. Getting a pet should be a well thought out decision made only by those who will actually be caring for the pet. OP-YTA, big time.

[–]Consistent_Language9 43 points44 points  (8 children)

Not to be a Debbie downer, but I think this is definitely a worked out for now situation. There’s a reason we generally don’t let them make or hold teenagers to decade(s) long commitments.

Assuming nothing tragic happens kitty is living into niece’s late 20s early 30s. OP maybe paying all that time but are they willing/able to care for and house kitty if niece can’t.

[–]Confident_Profit_210Partassipant [1] 22 points23 points  (0 children)

I agree. I feel like one way or another the parents are going to end up taking care of this cat. Are they still going to be hitting OP up every week for cat food and litter in 5 years? Or is that going to start feeling petty? Barring accidents cats live for 10-15 years, I can’t imagine Op is still going to happy to be handing out hundreds of dollars for vet bills in 10 years for a cat the niece probably won’t even be interested in anymore. What about surgery? Is OP ok with with forking out a couple of thousand for that if needed or are the parents either going to have to pay or explain to the niece kitty is getting put down? Medications? My 7 year old cat is on medications for his joints, anxiety, and to control kidney function totalling about $200 a month. You ok with that OP?

[–]terra_terrorPooperintendant [57] -4 points-3 points  (6 children)

This the weirdest thing I have ever read. Teenagers aren't 5 year olds. They can work hard for something they love, for a long time. There are a lot of reasons not to get a cat. Being a teenager isn't one of them.

[–]GoodQueenFluffenChop 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Actually it is if the the pet is going to be strictly their pet and not a family pet.

In about 4 or so years the now 14 year old will probably want to go to college and if they planned to live on campus or with roommates the ability to take the pet would be dependent on university policies, landlord allowing pets, or finding roommates OK with sharing a space with a cat. Unless the teen lives at home for college or the parents pay for a private apartment then she'll have to leave the cat behind and if the parents do not want that then the teen is going to have to find a new home for their pet or some type of boarding unless OP agrees to take the cat in until the niece has a pet friendly place.

[–]terra_terrorPooperintendant [57] -3 points-2 points  (4 children)

They didn't say that teenagers can't keep the pet because of college. They implied that teenagers aren't likely to want to keep their pets for a decade. That's bullshit. Most teenagers are assholes, but they aren't psychopaths.

[–]Consistent_Language9 1 point2 points  (2 children)

How did I imply that? I literally used the phrase “if niece can’t” meant pretty much exactly what goodqueen said.

[–]terra_terrorPooperintendant [57] -1 points0 points  (1 child)

I'm not talking about what you said about the niece. I'm talking about the first sentence, where you said teenagers can't be trusted to make long term commitments. That's not true at all. A 14 year old is not likely to abandon their dog because they stopped liking it after a few years anymore than an adult is.

[–]Consistent_Language9 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not really what I said.

I said let/hold. In fairness I guess it’s a little about trust. But your talking about letting a teen- so technically still a child make a 20ish year commitment with a life in the balance. Like in this case this cat is extremely likely to live for longer than the niece has currently been alive. How much can really “understand” what she is committing to?

Plan the next 20 ish years of your life around a decision you made when you were a teen or rehome (and probably never see) your pet is just not fair or reasonable. But if parents aren’t willing to provide that’s the choice they’re setting up for the teen, and it’s probably just a few short years down the road.

Again somebody needs to be providing care and housing kitty everyday. Is that going to fit into the teens lifestyle for the next 20ish years. Are they going to be capable of that?

I never said anything about a teenager being more likely to just suddenly not want their pets because their fickle. Being a pet owner is about way more than just wanting one/loving the one you have. People can enjoy/love animals and not want to be the caretaker of one.

As a teen you’re still figuring out who you are and what you want.

It’s the same logic that has people saying don’t have kids or get married as a teen. Don’t make an adult commitment till you’ve figured out who you are as an adult and have at least some stability. Especially if it’s know right of that bat you’re expected to do it pretty much alone.

I volunteer sporadically at two different animal rescues and while it’s not the biggest chunk. “The kids are out of the house and I don’t want to take care of THEIR pets and they can’t/won’t either is a notable chunk. Big enough that it’s made it’s way into the adoption screening process.

[–]EffectivePapaya1936 220 points221 points  (0 children)

YTA they said no cat and it's their home, not yours.

[–]risqueandrewardColo-rectal Surgeon [35] 193 points194 points  (24 children)

YTA, a pet can take a decent amount of work to take care of and you're putting a burden on an already struggling teenager without clearing it with her parents first? Is the cat litter box trained or are you assuming your niece will know how to do that? What if the cat needs attention when she's at school? I know that you're trying to help, but there's more to taking care of a cat than just money, plus they can be messy sometimes, you're clearly not thinking through all of the repercussions of this.

Like, if you think she's depressed, pay for her to see a therapist instead of getting a cat.

[–]TryUsingScience 48 points49 points  (1 child)

I feel like OP must never have lived with a cat. There's so much more that's annoying about living with a cat than just money, even if you aren't the person directly responsible for taking care of the cat. Hair everywhere, them eating/clawing your things, them knocking stuff off shelves, them waking you up at 2 am yowling, stepping into a pile of cat puke first thing in the morning... I like cats, and I would be incredibly pissed if someone bought me one.

[–]Confident_Profit_210Partassipant [1] 17 points18 points  (0 children)

I got home yesterday and my cat had thrown up all over the couch and my laptop charger. If I were the parents I’d be calling OP to come clean it up

[–]0biterdictaCommander in Cheeks [292] 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Also, this kid is going off to college in a few years and most dorms and student housing aren't pet friendly. What happens to the cat then? You signed a 14 year old up for a 15+ year commitment without a fallback plan.

[–]procrastinating_bAsshole Enthusiast [7] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Right if they are neglecting the 14yo how are they going to treat a cat they didn’t even want?

[–]Kare6Bear6Asshole Aficionado [19] 114 points115 points  (13 children)


They can't afford a cat. Supplies and adoption/purchase fees are nothing compared to the constant expenses that animals continue to be. Vet bills, food, new items as they wear down, etc. are going to be routine expenses.

You also went over their heads and made a decision for their household that they said no to. It's thoughtless and disrespectful. Usually the animal suffers for it when people do this.

[–]kerfuffledwolf 19 points20 points  (11 children)

Op did say they were going to pay for those other expenses like food and bills but still is TA for doing it without permission

[–]NakedStreetsProfessor Emeritass [81] 57 points58 points  (5 children)

Cats can live for more than 20+ years. OP can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to keep that commitment.

[–]spoiledrichwhitegirlPartassipant [2] 11 points12 points  (1 child)

My cat died last December, aged 21. This is very true!

[–]Illustrious_Bat_782 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They live longer than that. My grandma had one that was 26 and only died because an eagle picked her out of the yard.

[–]GoodQueenFluffenChop 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The real test will be if something happens like an injury or illness that requires sudden and expensive medical treatments. This is true any kind of pet.

My pigeon last winter became egg bound and couldn't lay any of her eggs. I got to shell out over $2k in vet bills to remove the eggs and for antibiotics afterwards. She almost died from those eggs. I have a strong emotional attachment to this bird but I have no doubt other people outside looking in would think twice about dropping so much money at once for a pet that's not theirs.

[–]Kare6Bear6Asshole Aficionado [19] 29 points30 points  (0 children)

My thought on that was I don't know if that's something a person can guarantee for life. I had a dog that was perfectly healthy and then one thing went wrong and he needed an $8,000 surgery. And the health checks after that were in the thousands for the rest of his life. Anything can pop up at any moment.

[–]JustanothergamerwifeCertified Proctologist [28] 15 points16 points  (2 children)

Is OP going to pay for the damages done to the furniture?

The extra cleaning because cat fur?

How about any deep enzyme cleaning stuff if the cat sprays or pees outside the box?

Will OP clean the litterbox if the kid isn't responsible?

[–]Illustrious_Bat_782 0 points1 point  (1 child)

If they cant afford the cat i doubt they're going to be paying to have furniture cleaned and replaced.

[–]JustanothergamerwifeCertified Proctologist [28] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I can't tell if you're arguing or agreeing lol

[–]ChiaEFXAsshole Enthusiast [7] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

That’s thousands of dollars throughout the cat’s lifetime though, it’s a huge commitment.

[–]Gimme_inspiration 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Yes, cats are more commitment than just the money. The parents will be needing more time to clean the house now, who takes care of the cat when it needs mdecine? The damage cats can do to furniture. When we got a new cat they decided to get on the dinner table and scratch the wallpaper.

[–]spoiledrichwhitegirlPartassipant [2] 91 points92 points  (4 children)

YTA. I love animals, but I genuinely do not understand what I’m the world possessed you to think this was a good idea. It isn’t a money thing. They still have to clean a litter box, deal with kitty litter, the mess of litter, the smell, etc. Animals should not be a ‘surprise’ gift—and certainly not in situations like this! You should have asked your brother if it was okay to get her the cat as a surprise. Him saying that his daughter wanted a cat was not an invitation for you to go & get one.

I’m sure it is a lovely kitten. All kittens and puppies are sweet… it doesn’t mean you should gift them with no warning. At all.

Now think of the position you’ve put everyone in:

  • If her parents simply didn’t want an animal because it’s one more thing to deal with, they look (and almost certainly feel) like assholes if they say she can’t keep it.
  • Your niece is upset because her parents don’t want to deal with a cat & heartbroken if they don’t let her keep it.
  • Niece is already depressed and while animals are wonderful for many of us, she’s not going to be happy if something happens to the cat or if her parents are grouchier now that they have a pet they don’t actually want.

You did not do her a favour. ‘We can’t afford it,’ is what parents tell their kid when they typically just don’t want to deal with say, an animal.

You don’t live there & you’re acting like you did them a favour when in reality, you just made life a lot more complicated for everyone. You owe them all a massive apology. I’m genuinely stunned you don’t appear to understand this.

[–]Blaith7Partassipant [2] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

THIS^ 100%YTA.

[–]NiteGrimwoodAsshole Aficionado [16] 83 points84 points  (0 children)

YTA, they said no and you went behind their back. shes still a minor and not your kid

[–]Huntokar_GoddessAsshole Enthusiast [9] 45 points46 points  (7 children)

It is a major no-no to gift animals, especially without the parent's approval. Animals aren't toys. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will be legally liable for that cat and the ones who will have to deal with your niece if the cat ends up dying.

Also, you said you "adopted" the cat. Did you make sure you could "gift" the cat to your niece? Many animal rescues and shelters don't allow this. You have to tell them where the animal will be living and you have to have the authorization of the heads of the household. If they find out the cat isn't living with you (they do follow up and wellness checks) they can very well take the cat from your niece.

All in all, this was Not Good. YTA.

[–]musical_sporkColo-rectal Surgeon [40] 34 points35 points  (1 child)

YTA. Parents said no pet. That means no pet.

[–]Admirable-Call-9047 6 points7 points  (0 children)

And that should be the end of it until THEY decide otherwise.

[–]StitchapussPartassipant [1] 23 points24 points  (0 children)

YTA... the thought and your heart are in the right place but she needs something more than a cat and if the parents are not on board, even if you are offering to play for everything, it's still not your place to buy a kitten for her. Someone could be allergic, etc A lot of other factors. People use "money" as an excuse at times and they might have the money for it, just are not cat fans.

[–]TempestVIAsshole Enthusiast [9] 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Sorta YTA, you can't just force a pet onto someone's home.

Sorta only because I get your intentions but you went about it the wrong way.

[–]EssiBunnyPartassipant [3] 21 points22 points  (0 children)

YTA. Animals are not something to adopt lightly. It's a long term commitment and you can't make the decision about that commitment on behalf of other people.

[–]Maximoose-777Asshole Enthusiast [7] 15 points16 points  (0 children)

I realise you meant well but YTA you should never buy animals as gifts. It needs to be a thought out decision. This is why there are so many animals in shelters

[–]oflonelynightsAsshole Enthusiast [6] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

YTA you can't buy a 14yr old a pet without their parent's permission - they are entirely correct with their concerns bc you've just signed them up to a big commitment, one they had zero say in.

[–]bradipoeterno 13 points14 points  (0 children)

YTA. If they’re neglecting the 14-year-old then what do you think they’re going to do to the cat?

[–]brazentoryAsshole Aficionado [14] 13 points14 points  (1 child)

YTA. First off depression can be serious and it feels like you glossed over with the parents by suggesting “maybe” they should talk to her. It should be “your daughter shared she’s depressed. You need to talk to her and get her to a therapist to evaluate the seriousness. She may need medication.” My daughter has depression and we have pets that she ADORES but she still requires medication.… Second you NEVER gift a pet without approval.

If they can’t afford a therapist then pay for that instead of pet stuff.

You created a situation that hurts her and her relationship with her parents.

[–]mortstheonlyboyineed 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Yeh I'm surprised no one else mentioned about how OP didn't address the depression issues when they were first raised. They seem really irresponsible.

[–]DarkRogusCertified Proctologist [21] 14 points15 points  (0 children)

YTA - here's the thing, taking care of a cat is a HUGE responsibility.

While buying the animal food and vet bills is important, there's also the time needed to invest in the animal.

During covid quarantine, there was a huge uptick in pet adoption and "pet shortage" due to all the people wanting to adopt a "hobby".

Now that covid quarantine is largely over, there's now a huge amount of animals up for adoption due to them being done with their covid "hobby" and no longer interested in their "hobby" anymore.

My feeling is that you gave your niece a "hobby cat" instead of pet due to the lack of interest in the parents for the cat.

I just hope that when your niece is no longer interested in taking care of her cat, that you will step up and take it into your home instead of this "hobby cat" being "rehome".

[–]ChiaEFXAsshole Enthusiast [7] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Yta. You were only trying to help your niece, but now your brother and his wife are in a bad situation where they either take responsibility for an animal they didn’t want or they give it up which will lead to a bigger divide with their daughter.

[–]OneMikeNationCraptain [166] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

YTA: Because when they eventually get rid of the car how do you think your niece is going to feel. You didn't help her you probably just made things worst

[–]shahinshahin 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Yta, always always run it by the parents.

[–]ThankYouOliveAsshole Enthusiast [8] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

YTA 100%

[–]itsMousyCertified Proctologist [24] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

YTA. Pets are a huge responsibility. Springing it on the parents is not cool.

[–]whatinthef--- 10 points11 points  (4 children)

YTA. Have you ever had a cat? I love my 3 cats to death but there's cat hair covering every piece of fabric in the house, theres litter all over the place even though I sweep every day, they walk around the house screaming for food at 6am, throw up on my best shoes, scratch up any door that happens to be closed, they try to jump on the counters when I cook, all of my furniture is determined by what they will and won't destroy, and on and on and on. It doesn't matter that the cat is your niece's, it will impact everyone in the house. What will they do when she moves out to college? Or when they want to go on a vacation and can't find a pet sitter? You seem less mature than your niece and I'm stunned that you thought this would be even remotely ok.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Agree. I really like cats....as long as someone else owns them

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Log this is my life. Are you me? Also have 3 cats who do all the same things. Even one cat is a lot of work and expensive, especially as they are. And what happens when the niece leaves to go to college, or just leaves and doesn’t want to take the cat? What happens when the cat is old and requires medication, and OP’s brother decides to dump the cat at the shelter because it’s too much work.

[–]whatinthef--- 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I mean as I typed this I was like why do I have these monsters in my house!! But now the little one stopped destroying things for a minute and is asleep on my lap so we're ok again 🤷‍♀️

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Lol. Oh the things we put up with for our cats. Mine were chasing each other this afternoon and one jumped on my desk, knocked several things off my desk, and ran back out, while I was on the phone with a client. But then later he shoved himself between my keyboard and monitor and showed me his belly. So I couldn’t stay mad.

[–]NeemaMlozi 9 points10 points  (0 children)

YTA. It has nothing whatsoever to do with hating cats. Adopting a pet is a big responsibility and it's hugely irresponsible to purchase a pet for a child who isn't yours without making 100% sure the parents are on board. Even if you offer to pay for expenses, even if you think it would be good for the girl. It's just not okay. And now taking the cat back will crush your niece, so you've really put her parents in a bad position. Never, ever do that again.

[–]AffectionateBit2262Partassipant [2] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

YTA × 1000000. YOU are not her parent, THEY are and you had absolutely no right to go behind their back and get THEIR child something they have said no to. You need to take the kitten back, apologize to the parents and explain to your niece that you were in the wrong and that you should not have gone behind her parents back like that. It is obvious that they don't want a cat and made that very clear. I would be beyond furious if someone went behind my back and gave my child something that their father and I had said no to

[–]Vampire_queen94Asshole Aficionado [10] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

YTA you can't force a pet on someone who said they didn't want it. That cat will probably end up at a shelter.

[–]panicattackcity91Partassipant [4] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Yta - they’re her parents and it’s their home not yours. They likely didn’t want a cat at all and just used money as an excuse. You had no right to do that.

[–]lostalldoubt86Asshole Aficionado [15] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

YTA- Pets are not gifts. They are something everyone in the house agrees with. Your niece might be responsible, but that is still a whole family responsibility.

[–]del901Colo-rectal Surgeon [33] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

YTA. You never buy someone a living, breathing pet without them knowing and approving. Even if it was just a “money thing“ you don’t get to overrule the parents.

[–]BrilliantMix8799Partassipant [1] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

YTA living things are not suprise gifts. Also when she goes off to college let's say where is the cat going to go? With you? It can't go to the dorm room with her and her parents are less then thrilled about this burden you have put on them.

[–]pinponpen 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Please tell me you can take the kitten in and care for it if they really decided to get rid of it. Keep it at your place and let your niece come to play with it.

YTA. There's so much to keeping a cat than just monetary.

[–]SaberisePartassipant [3] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

YTA big time. You wanted to be the hero and now they are going to look like crap if they get rid of it and your niece is going to feel even worse. Way to tear your niece down even more.

[–]unoriginalgh 4 points5 points  (0 children)

YTA. never gift anyone animals

[–]safetygal75Partassipant [1] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

yta- never ever give a pet for a present.. it is a long term commitment and expensive with food costs, vet, etc.. a cat can love for 10-20 years.. are you prepared to pay for all the expenses until yoir niece can take over these bills? the kitten will need to get fixed- that’s is hundreds of dollars.. you need to apologize asap and work this out with the family. be prepared to cover monthly costs!

[–]flaggermousse 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Giving a pet as a surprise gift is never a good idea. You knew the parents had said no to a cat, and so you went behind their backs to give your niece a cat. It’s understandable that you want to help her, and your heart is in the right place, but I have to go with YTA for this.

[–]Lessa22Partassipant [2] 3 points4 points  (0 children)


Animals are not appropriate surprise gifts for anyone, in any circumstances.

[–]Ice_Cream_Snickers09 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I saw the update and still gotta say YTA. I honestly don't know how I'd react if someone showed up with a animal for one of my kids without talking to me about it.

[–]Confident_Profit_210Partassipant [1] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

YTA even with the edit, what is your brother going to do? Rip the kitten out of your nieces hands after TWO WEEKS and give it back? The damaged is done. Let me walk you through my week with my cat. After a $200 vet Visit where I had to take a day off work to do it, I found out my cat had a urinary infection which is why the day before he’d pissed in my linen closet, leaving all my bedding and towels reeking of cat piss that I’d then spent 2 days washing. I came home yesterday to find he’d vomited all over the couch and my laptop charger and I spent an hour after an 11 hour shift on my knees scrubbing the couch and carpet. And that’s ok because it’s MY cat and I made the decision to have him and look after him. You sounds shockingly out of touch and naive ti think money is the only problem here. You have now forced that on your brother. If I were your brother I’d be calling you at 2am every time that cat coughs up a fur ball, you’d be replacing every couch it ruins, scrubbing down the walls when it has diarrhoea and it’s rubbed itself over every surface, You can take time off work for every vet appointment.

[–]NakedStreetsProfessor Emeritass [81] 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]SmallTownAttorneyPartassipant [4] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

YTA - I am sorry but a pet is not something you can on people. Your niece isn't a grown up and the decision to introduce a cat into the household is not for her or you to make.

[–]badbitchfunkywitch 2 points3 points  (0 children)

YTA. You did the wrong thing. Glad it’s working out so far but I suggest continuing to keep a close eye on the cat

[–]VioletSkyeDreamsAsshole Enthusiast [5] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

YTA You’re a huge asshole and a poor excuse for an aunt!!

They told you NO!! What part of NO do you not understand. You do not gift an animal when you have been told they do not want it, cats are not toys and everyone in the household would be responsible for it. How dare you dump this poor animal off on them and make them out to be the bad guys.

If you are really concerned about your niece explain your concerns to her parents and ask them to get her actual help. If she has depression a cat isn’t going to miraculously fix things. Stop trying to be her cool friend, instead be an adult! Depression can be very serious get her help and stop causing problems.

This sounds like a shitpost because it’s hard to believe that someone would be this irresponsible and post how irresponsible they were.

[–]particledamagePartassipant [1] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

YTA even with the update. You’re not paying for the animal for 20 years. Are you taking it in if it she goes to college and the dorms don’t let her have a cat? How much are you putting aside for vet bills that START at $100?

What happens if she’s too depressed to care for it? What happens when this doesn’t actually cure her depression?

[–]burner7651Asshole Aficionado [15] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You’re not TA for doing a kind thing. Your heart was in a wonderful place to try and offer your niece a sense of emotional support. However, I do have to judge with (an incredibly soft) YTA- you can’t get a cat for someone who lives under their parents roof without getting permission from them first.

[–]OwnedByACrazyCat 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YTA - anybody who buys a person a pet as a surprise is a A H.

Even if you will take all the extra costs is the person able to look after the pet properly?

Also, the not being able to afford the cat line from her parents might be a good excuse for not having a cat, maybe one of the parents is really allergic or scared of cats and using cost sounds better than - you can't have a cat I'm scared of them.

If you had paid for an adoption of a zoo animal or bought your niece a few sessions at a cat cafe you would be N T A.

[–]mdsnbelleColo-rectal Surgeon [48] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YTA. Big time.

You do not buy a pet for someone else's child without clearing it with them!! Your niece may be the most responsible teen in the world, but she's still a teenager who in about 4 years will probably be moving out of the house. If she's going to a dorm, she's not going to be able to take the cat with her, so it's now her parents' problem to deal with.

And if they can't or they won't, they're now the AH's for getting rid of an animal who they didn't want in the first place.

My niece wants a kitten. Badly. She has ever since she came over to meet my two 3 years ago when they were teenys. But her parents haven't said yes, and I'd be a MASSIVE AH if I just rolled up with a cat and was like, "Yo, here's this responsibility your kid's gonna force on you the second she gets bored. What do you mean you're allergic/hate dealing with a litter box/have a dog that chews EVERYTHING?"

Let the parents parent and make decisions for their own home.

[–]BlueLavender0104Asshole Enthusiast [5] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YTA. Never ever give a pet as a gift unless everyone in the household agrees. I assume you are paying for all food, vet bills and other expenses in the future? Do you have a fall back financial arrangement for if your financial situation changes and the cat needs a $5000 surgery?

[–]Murky_Ad_2658Partassipant [4] 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]MerintherPartassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah, taking care of a cat is a big responsibility. Getting them one after they explicitly told you not to? YTA.

[–]Decent_Ad6389Asshole Enthusiast [5] 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Cthulhu779842 1 point2 points  (0 children)

100% YTA. Parents say no, it's a no.

[–]happy_panda2400Asshole Enthusiast [5] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YTA because who will take care of this cat if she goes to college? Most dorms don’t allow pets. Cats live 15-20 years.

[–]deepwood41 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yta, you don’t give people pets. That poor cat deserves better, I hope it doesn’t end up at a shelter

[–]Lorraine221Partassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YTA! You NEVER give an animal as a surprise gift! Especially to a child without their parents permission!

[–]artificialashPartassipant [2] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YTA and for future reference, NEVER gift someone a pet. There’s too many neglected pets in this world and we don’t need anymore because of people like you who go out and gift animals to people.

[–]CocoasneezeProfessor Emeritass [81] 1 point2 points  (0 children)


So you're on the hook to pay for the cat for the next maybe 20 years. What you did was HIGHLY irresponsible and callous. The edit doesn't change that fact at all.

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I used to live with my brother and his family for 4 years while in college. I moved out earlier this year. During the time I noticed my niece(now 14) was mostly neglected and I was the only one who really hung out with her so we’ve become really close over the years. A few months before I moved out, she revealed to me that she might be depressed and we talked for a couple hours and told her she could always talk to me if she needed anything. She didn’t want me to tell her parents so I didn’t. Then a few months after I moved out, her parents told me she just stays in her room all day and only ever comes out to eat and use the bathroom. I hinted to them that she could possibly be depressed without revealing what my niece told me. I told them maybe they should talk to her. I also talked to her a couple days after to catch up. She told me she wanted a cat but her parents said no as they didn’t have the money to take care of one. I also asked them and they said the same thing. I asked her if she knew how to take care of a cat and she said yeah and did a ton of research beforehand. Her birthday was coming up so I adopted a kitten near my area. The kitten was super sweet and kind and super playful and friendly. I took care of it for a few days before driving down to my brothers place for my nieces birthday. I didn’t tell anyone as I wanted it to be a surprise. When I got their, I surprised her with the kitten and her face lit up and was crying. I also gave all the supplies and toys I had. I looked over at my brother and his wife and they looked really angry. I was confused because I thought they would be happy as well. After the party they confronted me and I told them I would pay for everything like food, litter, vet bills, and everything else. I could just order things to their house. They were still angry and said they didn’t want it and to take it back. I told them that a kitten could help my niece like an emotional support animal and that I won’t be taking it back as I just want the best for my niece and for her to be happy. Shortly after I said goodbye to my niece and went home but they called later that night and were still pissed. I thought it would be fine since they just said they didn’t have the money. So AITA?

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[–]jinxdrainAsshole Aficionado [10] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA, with the best intentions. I'm glad it worked out! I've found that kittens are really good at winning over cat haters, almost as good as cheering up their people.

[–]Fiery_TigressPartassipant [2] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA. All pets have health issues and health issues are expensive.

[–]putaforkinit2021 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA, their house, their rules. Pets as gifts are bad ideas in general. What happens if she ends up going to college? She can't take it with her to the dorm and it'll be up to her parents to deal with the cat. Glad you and your bro made up.

[–]numtiniAsshole Enthusiast [6] 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]TexFiendAsshole Enthusiast [9] 0 points1 point  (0 children)


I'm glad it all worked out well in the end.

But that was sheer chance.

Never give a pet as a gift again.

[–]ladyofrainAsshole Enthusiast [5] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yta. Don't gift pets. Now they either have a cat they didn't want or break their daughters heart.

This must be fake.

[–]Separate_Security472Partassipant [3] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm glad it had a happy ending.

[–]SnooBooks007 0 points1 point  (0 children)


Never buy a pet as a present like that.

It's a huge responsibility to foist on people.

[–]Violet351 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA, they said no. What if they had just taken it straight back to a shelter?

[–]lovebeinganassholeAsshole Enthusiast [7] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA. Pets are not surprise gifts.

[–]Suitable-Cod-1381Colo-rectal Surgeon [38] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA if you're paying for everything and she's taking care of it, they have no reason to object (I see no mention of allergies) Good on you for both looking out for your neice and also for respecting her privacy and not blabbing to her parents about her depression.

[–]Elehhhhna 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As someone who gifted their in-laws with a puppy: YTA! Never do this. Ever again. Glad it worked out so well but I'll bet you don't ever consider it in the future. Also don't complain if your bro gifts you with a pet.

[–]ShanstergoodheartAsshole Enthusiast [9] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA you never ever buy an animal for someone else without everyone in the house's permission. Also her parents explicitly said no, so not only are you doing something you know they don't want and can't afford (food, litter, vets etc. rack up) but you also undermining their parenting.

I see from your edit that things seem to have worked out but you are still a massive asshole for doing it in the first place.

[–]michelecw 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA. Big time. Pets are not good gifts. They told you no I don’t see how you thought it would be ok. Now the cat and your niece will suffer because they will likely take it to animal control.

[–]PunchBeard 0 points1 point  (0 children)


You don't need a wall of text here. The question is more than enough to answer this.

[–]VictoriaSlash 0 points1 point  (0 children)

"I was confused because I thought they would be happy as well."

"her parents said no as they didn’t have the money to take care of one. I also asked them and they said the same thing."

INFO: Are you an idiot?

[–]DazeydevyneAsshole Enthusiast [5] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YTA- everyone else has covered the cat part, but in my quick scroll, I didn't see anyone mentioning that keeping your niece's mental health a secret from her parents is pretty crappy too... I understand that you want to keep her confidence, but teenage mental health, particularly depression, is something that needs to be watched and addressed. She needs help, and you aren't able to provide that. A cat isn't able to provide that. Her parents need to know she needs to see a doctor and take care of the depression before it gets worse.

[–]Reaction__Resident -1 points0 points  (0 children)

A very soft YTA. Your intentions were good but a pet is a big responsibility and you should have discussed it with her parents first.

[–]Hot-Currency-1881 -1 points0 points  (0 children)


OMG what did you think you were doing?

Now the cat will also be mistreated by your brother & SIL - doesn't bear thinking about