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He has cats, I hate cats. How can we live together?
October 21, 2004 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I (female) don't like cats. My (male) partner has 2. We're considering living together. However, I can't stomach the filth, the smell, the cat hair, the mewling, the destruction of furniture, and the litterbox. I don't want this thread to turn into a vilification of me for not liking cats and I don't want the situation itself to become "the cats go or I go". Surely a mefite or two has had this happen. How did you work it out? What were the compromises?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This happened to a friend of mine. He and his very allergic girlfriend agreed that the cats' food & box would be kept in the basement. They owned leather furniture to avoid the damage.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:46 PM on October 21, 2004


You don't have to like cats. But... filth and smell? Are they destructive already? I wouldn't be able to stomach cats either if that was involved. It is possible to have cats and have an unstinky house. I have friends who hate the thought of having cats and can't believe that one lives with me -- mostly because they can't smell her. If I skip a vacuuming appointment, it's cat-hair central, though.

I think it could work if you have a solid agreement with a) daily vacuuming, b) litterbox maintenance! they don't have to smell! c) scratchable items (cat tree or post) so that they avoid the furniture.

I also vote for keeping the litterbox and food as far away from your personal space as possible.
posted by kittyb at 1:03 PM on October 21, 2004


Litterbox issues should definitely be negotiated. Your level of comfort with the resulting smell, tracked litter, etc. may be very different than your SO's. Two cats should have 3 litter boxes to share which should be cleaned daily. If his schedule doesn't permit this, then maybe you should consider one of those self-cleaning litter boxes. If the smell bothers you, try a litter designed for mulitple cats. Avoid the cheap litters since they frequently don't trap the smell. Additionally, the litter boxes themselves may need to be disinfected monthly to help reduce odor if you're not using litter pan liners.

Dust busters make cleaning up tracked litter easy and quick. Litter mats also help reduce how much is tracked around.

Can his cats be trained to use the toilet instead of a box?

As for the hair, you'll have to vaccum it up regularly. If the cats are indoors only, they may need to be brushed several times a week to help stimulate their coat to produce more oils which will help reduce shedding and dander. At least, that's how the vet explained it to me.

Do the cats currently attack his furniture? They may need to be retrained if they do. Your local petstore or animal trainer can direct you to advice or books on the topic. Techniques include taping inflated balloons to the verticle surface being scratched. When the cat comes to scratch, the balloon pops and scares the cat away. (Not always recommended due to the broken bits of rubber sitting around.) If you don't want them on the couch when you're not there, cover it which sheets of tin foil. They hate the feel of it on their paws and will jump down. Yes, cats can be trained to not claw furniture. We have two cats with their claws intact who don't claw the furniture.

To make this work, you'll both have to compromise.
posted by onhazier at 1:05 PM on October 21, 2004


Filth, smell, cat hair and destruction and litterbox are all manageable items.

Taken proper care of, there should be no smell, filth, or hair. Trained, there should not be furniture destruction (also helps if they are provided with proper toys/furniture to occupy them).

Proper litterbox placement (outside in a covered area, basement, etc) takes care of that issue, as well.

I had two cats when I moved in with my wife (then fiance). She didn't like cats, either. The male started peeing in the sinks, and I agreed to give him to a friend, only after trying to change the behavior (probably the move, the baby, and all that made him territorial and feeling ignored, so nothing I could do).

But a well cared-for cat can be fun, and comforting. I never liked cats - always a dog person - until someone got me two to keep me company. And as long as I cared for and took care of the litter and all, the wife was pretty ok with the cat.

Basically it comes down to "You can keep the cats if you are consistently taking proper care of them. Otherwise, all bets are off."
posted by rich at 1:09 PM on October 21, 2004


the litter boxes are huge issue. i, for one, will not tolerate having a litter box in any living space (bathrooms included). and i'd never put up with more than two cats in the same space. my solutions to keeping the litter box competely out of the living space have been: keeping it in the garage with a cat door; keeping it in the back of an unused closet, with a "false wall" with a cat door closing the cat box off from the rest of the closet; keeping it in the mud room at the back of the house (again with a cat door); keeping it in the crawl household. i've only ever had two boxes for two cats (one is just disgusting) and the guy should definitely commit to keeping them cleaned (i compromised to once a week to keep someone else happy once) on a regular basis. i found that nature's miracle sprinkled in the boxes, covered boxes and a small air filter in the space with the boxes does a lot to keep odors down. an astro turf type mat between the boxes and the rest of the house keeps the tracking of litter down.

are you sure you're willing to live with cats? if you're not, you're not and this is a the cats go or i do issue, which is an entirely different kettle of fish.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:20 PM on October 21, 2004


I'm sorry to say that in my experience, cats have been a deal breaker in one of my relationships and one of my friends.

For mine, we tried to be together, but cats know when someone doesn't like them, and my cat did what all cats do when they sense a disagreeable human. He spent all his time doing all the things that drove her nuts -- sitting on her lap, getting up on the kitchen table with an "I dare you to do anything" look in his eyes, etc. I had had the cat for 8 years at that point, and she was a new girlfriend, so... well, I thought it more likely that I'd find another girlfriend than that I'd find such an outstanding cat, who continued to rule my life for another 8 years. I did get other girlfriends - cat fanciers of course, and have been happily married to one of them - so it all worked out.

My friend also tried and tried to make it all work, but ended up getting rid of his cats (years later, he and his then wife had a bitter divorce, so maybe he should've stayed with the cats!)
posted by jasper411 at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2004


Two friends of mine got married recently, and moved in together. One of them has two cats, one of them is deathly allergic. The solution: separate the house into a cat zone and a non-cat zone with plastic sheeting, air filters, and lots and lots of deep cleaning. He doesn't go in the front of the house at all, and the cats don't go in the back. As an added bonus, when she and/or guests go from the front door to the no-cat zone, they get to pretend that they're entering a clean room.

Kind of weird, but it works for them.
posted by majcher at 1:49 PM on October 21, 2004


Just an aside - don't get one of those self-cleaning litter boxes - they don't really work very well.
posted by agregoli at 2:46 PM on October 21, 2004


I don't think that cats are usually "filthy" unless the humans they live with neglect basic maintenance. Frankly, it seems like an odd word to use about cats.

Other that that, everyone else has said all the things I would say. If the two of you move into a new place, decide beforehand which parts of the place will be "cat zones" and which parts will be "no-cat zones" (most people require less infrastructure than majcher's friends, above, to make that happen).

To be honest, though, I think that people who love to live with animals and people who prefer not to live with animals probably shouldn't be together. It's as big a deal-breaker as different perspectives on kids is in my book.

In my experience, the animal-lover who gives up animals will always miss them and resent the non-animal-lover for depriving him/her of such a profound source of joy; whereas the non-animal-lover who bites the bullet and lives with animals usually hates them and resents the animal-lover for subjecting him/her to the agony of unwanted smelly others who can't feed themselves or dispose of their own excretions.

(You see now how it's like the kid thing.) In any case, the only times I've ever seen this work, for animals or kids, is when the second party takes them on grudgingly and then comes to enjoy them him/herself. If you don't see that as a possibility for you, anonymous, I don't think this relationship is going for the long haul.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:11 PM on October 21, 2004


Do you love him more than you hate his cats? If so a little effort trying to learn to love the cats will be worth it. If you make him ditch them he will always resent it and you may very well see that resentment surface during difficult times between the two of you. This is to be avoided if possible. Of course you may feel some resentment from having to live with them. I think on the whole it is easier to deal with presence of a pet than loss of a pet, so the burden is kind of on you to accept these cats he loves, just as you accept him and all of his faults. I am not quite as negative as Sidhedevil on the ability of you two to deal with this issue, but beware, it is not a trivial issue.
posted by caddis at 3:28 PM on October 21, 2004


I'd dump any girl that didn't want to live with my cats. Simple as that. Steps can be made to keep the house clean, and like someone said above, cats aren't filthy, their owners are.
posted by corpse at 3:48 PM on October 21, 2004


I have to agree with Sidhedevil and caddis, this is a recipe for resentment on one or both sides. I would definitely put living together on hold for a while if I were you, radically different opinions about pets can be a much bigger and much more fundamental issue than many people suspect.

You can by all means set up cat-free zones and set rules about litter cleaning, but none of this will change the fact that you seem to have an extremely negative (and unrealistic, in my opinion ("filth"?! If there is "filth", your partner does not care for his cats adequately)) opinion of cats, whereas your partner (presumably) likes them - which to my mind does not bode well for long-term domestic harmony. Issues like this tend to end up being about more than just the pets in question.
posted by biscotti at 3:48 PM on October 21, 2004


However, I can't stomach the filth, the smell, the cat hair, the mewling, the destruction of furniture, and the litterbox.

This relationship won't work. People who like animals need to have pets. People who hate animals shouldn't have them.

You can minimize litter box odor, you can clean up cat hair and you can discourage scratching on the furniture. But the way that you've phrased the issue suggests that it's deeper: outside of their boxes cats are neither filthy or smelly, so you've already turned one issue into three. I'm not ragging on you-- people hate all sorts of different things and there doesn't have to be a good reason.

And there isn't a good reason in this case, so you won't be able to resolve it through compromising. My mother once said (in reference to her completely dog-clawed hardwood floors) "You can have a perfect house or you can have pets. I really like having pets." I think you prefer a perfect house. Which is fine. But you shouldn't share a house with someone who prefers pets because neither of you will ever be happy.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:09 PM on October 21, 2004


You have issues and are clearly not willing to engage in any meaningful compromise, so stop fooling yourself and go find another cat-hater.
posted by rushmc at 4:14 PM on October 21, 2004


Oh god yes. Cats are fine but if they're not taken care of then the stench can drift through the house and then there's no cuddling. There's no good way to say no, and you probably can't stop them ripping up your furniture a little and getting cat fur everywhere. But you can ask that they vacuum up and keep the litter boxes sheltered outside or away from your living area and bedrooms but then you might have to be a nagging nazi because your stupid girlfriend is a lazy cow that apparently likes the smell of cat shit everywhere. Yeah.

ps. It's because you've got a cold black heart.
posted by holloway at 4:27 PM on October 21, 2004


I like cats; unfortunately I am quite allergic to them: very severe bronchospasm. Living around them all the time would threaten my life.

This has aborted two nascent relationships that I thought were quite promising. Girls really like their cats, it seems.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:53 PM on October 21, 2004


i know exactly where you are coming from - i had to stay in someone's appartment from time to time who had two cats. it was disgusting. i can remember using sticky tape to clean hairs off the sheets (which were cleanly washed, but still covered in cat hair) before i could use the bed. the place smelled bad. it was gross.

on the other hand, my parents have a cat and their house is spotless. i suspect the differences are:

- my mother keeps a clean house (and has someone come in to clean once a week)
- my parents live in a house with a garden, in "the countryside", so the cat can go outside (no litterbox etc).

so it certainly is possible to make it tolerable. however, it may mean a fair amount of work (cleaning) or expense (a cleaner). choosing an appropriate place to live might also help.

finally, on the "do you love him more...?" front, i'd like to ask the opposite question - does he love you enough to get rid of the cats? i'm not advocating killing them particularly (although i can't say that bothers me terribly - i gave up being a vegetarian last year so don't feel morally justified in taking that line), but rather pointing out the moral blackmail implicit in the way the question was phrased...

maybe the real question is does he love you enough to clean up after his cats?.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:21 PM on October 21, 2004


does he love you enough to get rid of the cats?

He very well might. For now. But he'll always want cats if he already has two and he'll use it as justification as soon as things aren't great. Proceed at your own risk.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:51 PM on October 21, 2004


I'm dealing with a similar situation right now. I'm not allergic to cats, and quite like them actually, but share the problems you mention (cat litter, cat hair, destroyed furniture, etc.).

Leather furniture won't really help things. Sure, the cat's won't be as tempted to use it as a clawing post, but they will inevitably sit on the sofa, and they have claws, so you get these annoying tiny holes in your nice, expensive leather furniture. It's infuriating.

You can try giving them other things to scratch, but this won't solve the problem completely. Eventually they'll be right back at it again. The solution is either to de-claw the cat (very cruel) or buy Soft Nail Caps that superglue to the cat's claws. This is pretty much the only solution, IMHO, and it requires re-applying them every couple of months. Sucks, but it's either that, or you give up on your expensive furniture. As I don't see the problem as my problem, and my GF didn't actually pay for my expensive furniture and is unwilling to attach the safe-claws, I've had basically had to kiss my nice sofa goodbye. Such is the price of love and laziness.

Cat allergies are always exaserbated by the slow accumulation of what I call Tumblefur -- like tumbleweed, cat hair finds other cat hair and concentrates into nasty balls of dirty, dusty crap. You have two options: shave your cats regularly, or invest in a good vacuum cleaner. We chose the latter option.

Cat litter isn't a problem as long as your boyfriend cleans it up regularly. Yes, HE cleans it up regularly, not you. That's one of the jobs that does not get partitioned. The cat shit belongs to the cat owner, period. Put the litter box as far away from public spaces as possible. A garage is great if you have one... we have to use the pantry. Oh well.

We have also adopted a Cat Exclusionary Zone. For us it's the study -- that's where the computers are. If you've ever taken apart a computer or power supply after having it exposed to cat hair for a year, you'll understand why this is necessary.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:14 PM on October 21, 2004


does he love you enough to get rid of the cats?

Ick. Just...ick. That's just appalling. One would hope that people who choose to take on the responsibility for a living creature (which obviously has no say in the matter) would take that responsibility seriously, and not treat the pets as disposable commodities to be thrown away because your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn't like them (this isn't even an allergy issue we're discussing, it's a dislike). You may not be directly advocating killing them, but that is in effect what you're doing, there are more cats in shelters and rescues than homes, the odds of the cats being put to sleep are enormous. And talk about a guarantee for resentment!
posted by biscotti at 7:17 PM on October 21, 2004


Cats are fastidiously clean animals and they don't shed one bit more than you do. Litter boxes don't have a stench unless they're not cleaned properly.

One of my cats is almost 13 years old and she has NEVER destroyed a piece of furniture. She may, once in a while, scratch on a piece to get my attention, but if she wants to sharpen her claws she goes outside.

The other is 6 or 7 and he uses the scratching post, exclusively. I've never seen him put a claw on a piece of furniture.

Yeah, you have a serious issue here and really don't need to try to live with a cat person at all.
posted by kamylyon at 7:34 PM on October 21, 2004


Don't live together.

Pretend for a moment that the two cats are two prospective roommates. Would you then move into a place with your boyfriend and two other filthly, smelly, hairy, loud, destructive people?
posted by naxosaxur at 9:29 PM on October 21, 2004


Right, biscotti, because the only option for separating a cat from its current residence is death. Puhlease. People who like cats have actually taken them in when their current owners need to find them a new home. Jeez.

And adults who value a pet's needs over a mate's needs are deeply broken, says this vegetarian.
posted by NortonDC at 9:40 PM on October 21, 2004


adults who value a pet's needs over a mate's needs are deeply broken

Luckily that wasn't the issue. The issue was an adult valuing his own needs -- including for a pet -- when deciding whether or not to escalate a potential mate to an actual mate.

No weirder than not moving in with someone because they don't read the same books as you, or because of they way they laugh, or for any of the zillion other reasons that actually keep people from being mates.

Not being willing to get rid of the cats in order to be with Madame X isn't any weirder than not being willing to convert to Catholicism or not being willing to move to Idaho or not being willing to stop seeing horror movies.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:14 PM on October 21, 2004


I'm assuming that the issue is one of distaste, not allergies? Because I am allergic to cats, and enough so that even in the cleanest house, even if the cats are not immediately evident, I will within a short period of time be in the throes of various nasty reactions. And cleaning up doesn't really help much (and putting the cat out of the room doesn't help at all). You can vacuum, but that tends to spews dust and dander into the air, where it hangs and circulates-- you might not be able to see it, but it's there. And you can divide the house into various technically cat-free zones, but I can guarantee that there will still be cat hair throughout the whole house, cat dander, traces of saliva, and so on (and that goes double for long-haired cats). However, if you're not hyper-sensitive as I am, you may find that that an arrangement where you maintain cat-free areas, i.e. keeping the bedroom door or study door shut, and making sure that the litter box is as far away from your regularly travelled areas as possible, may work.

I rather like cats, myself, but even thinking about cat hair makes me feel a little congested.
posted by jokeefe at 10:23 PM on October 21, 2004


Not being willing to get rid of the cats in order to be with Madame X isn't any weirder than not being willing to convert to Catholicism or not being willing to move to Idaho or not being willing to stop seeing horror movies.

Well.... perhaps. Like I say, for me it's a health issue. Moving in with someone who had cats, or getting a cat myself, is asking for major medical problems. So it goes.
posted by jokeefe at 10:26 PM on October 21, 2004


Did you really just put cat ownership on the same plane as maintaining one's beliefs regarding eternal life and moral authority?

Yes, yes you did.
posted by NortonDC at 10:29 PM on October 21, 2004


Right, biscotti, because the only option for separating a cat from its current residence is death. Puhlease. People who like cats have actually taken them in when their current owners need to find them a new home. Jeez.

Barring finding a friend or relative or other responsible party to take the cats in, the other option is surrendering them to a shelter, which is often a death sentence.

And adults who value a pet's needs over a mate's needs are deeply broken, says this vegetarian.

Hmmm...but we're not talking about actual "needs" here, though, we're talking about wants, preferences and other less-vital things. And anyway what of the cat-owner's needs? Anyone who devalues a living creature that they have voluntarily taken custody of to the point of disposing of it when it becomes inconvenient is deeply broken.
posted by biscotti at 10:39 PM on October 21, 2004


And adults who value a pet's needs over a mate's needs are deeply broken, says this vegetarian.

Did you really just put cat ownership on the same plane as maintaining one's beliefs regarding eternal life and moral authority?


In other words: "I don't value responsible pet ownership very highly, therefore anyone who does is wacky."
posted by biscotti at 10:46 PM on October 21, 2004


Did you really just put cat ownership on the same plane as maintaining one's beliefs regarding eternal life and moral authority?

Different things are important to different people, so far as mate-material goes, and you don't get to choose them for anyone but you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:10 PM on October 21, 2004


Did you really just put cat ownership on the same plane as maintaining one's beliefs regarding eternal life and moral authority?

It's not equation on a metaphysical level, it's a simple yes/no question as to whether you want to live with cats for the rest of your life, just like it's a simple yes/no question as to whether you want to live with (say) a Buddhist for the rest of your life. If you don't want to live with cats, well, then, you don't want to live with cats. That doesn't mean that cats are, in the grand scheme of things, as important as religion -- just that you don't want to live with them any more than you want to live with a Buddhist.
posted by kindall at 11:51 PM on October 21, 2004


"Did you really just put cat ownership on the same plane as maintaining one's beliefs regarding eternal life and moral authority?"
Sorry but yes, I would definitely put cat ownership on a higher plane than mythology.
posted by arse_hat at 12:26 AM on October 22, 2004 [1 favorite]


anonymous: my situation wasn't exactly like yours, but there were similarities. I've never had furry pets and am not particularly fond of them; my ex, on the other hand, didn't feel like a home was complete without animals. She had no pets when she moved in with me; eventually she got an adult cat and later a kitten.

some of the things that helped us get along:
- her cats, her chores. Feeding, watering, and cleaning up after the cats was her job.
- the cats were not allowed on the bed.
- the older cat was mellow and reserved, a bit aloof. I could sort of respect him and even got to like him eventually.
- when claw-clipping time came along she had me hold the cats still while she clipped. I found that completely dominating the little beast by holding him immobile for a few minutes was a great way to let go of any pent-up frustration at his behavior.
- softclaws helped with the scratching.

some of the things that didn't work out so well:
- I work at home, but had no way to shut the cats out of my work area; they were always pestering my keyboard and trying to sit on my lap while I worked. This got old really fast.
- the litterbox took up a lot of room and never got cleaned often enough.
- no matter what, there was always cat hair all over my clothes.
- the kitten was cute, but had way too much energy and needed too much attention.
- softclaws needed reapplying every few weeks.

I wouldn't expect to become a cat lover, or to get to a point where the cats don't frustrate you. It is in their nature to do things that are frustrating. Some people find them sufficiently endearing that they don't care, which I suppose is why they want to have cats around in the first place, but the cats are never going to stop doing those annoying cat things. The question is, can you live with it? You will have to learn to deal with your partner's annoying habits anyway, so maybe you can file the irritating things his cats do on that list.

The dirty, smelly problems bothered me less than I would have thought; they were just cleaning issues. It was feeling like my space was always being invaded and my things always being disturbed that mostly got on my nerves. I think having a cat-free room of your own is the most important thing you can do. If you find yourself cringing every time one of the cats walks by some possession you care about, put it in the no-cats room. And I don't mean you should have a cat-free storage room, but something like a study or a bedroom: somewhere you can feel at home, like it's your place, so when you get fed up with having cats underfoot all the time you can go shut them out and have some peace and quiet for a while.

----

You cat lovers who are acting offended that someone would think cats are dirty are completely missing the point. You can talk all you want about how fastidious cats are, but when I pull a freshly-washed, supposedly clean shirt out of my closet and find that it is already festooned with cat hair, or walk barefoot into a puddle of what turns out to be vomit in the middle of the hallway, I really don't care how much time the cat spends licking itself, or whether the cat's owner should have spent more time cleaning up after it or training it or whatever: if there were no cat in the house, there would be no cat fur on my clothes and no cat vomit on my carpet.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:42 AM on October 22, 2004


biscotti - Barring finding a friend or relative or other responsible party to take the cats in, the other option is surrendering them to a shelter, which is often a death sentence.

The process of finding a new home for cat can be handled responsibly or irresponsibly. You can choose to ignore that someone may do it responsibly, but that does not mean that it can not or does not happen responsibly. It's just not true that "Cat living in a new home" equals "Cat death sentence," no matter how many times you try to make that connection.

>>And adults who value a pet's needs over a mate's needs
>>are deeply broken, says this vegetarian.
>
>Hmmm...but we're not talking about actual "needs" here,
>though, we're talking about wants, preferences and other
>less-vital things.

You've almost hit it. What we're really talking about here is the pet owner valuing their own "wants, preferences and other less-vital things" over those of their mate's. We call this "selfishness."

Self-interest is not inherently wrong in a relationship, but it's BS to approach pet-related questions on the balance between self and mate in a relationship from the false perspective that actions taken on behalf of the pet by the pet owner are selfless, when thay are ultimately done for the pet owner's own interests. Justifying that attitude by saying "but the pet is depenent on me!" is false, because that dependence can be responsibly transferred.

kindall - You're mischaracterizing the post I responded to. It wasn't about living with a Catholic, it was about becoming a Catholic.
posted by NortonDC at 6:12 AM on October 22, 2004


if your partner's cat is free to wander outside, consider, if he hasn't already, having him train the cat to do its business outside. also, to brush its fur outside every once in a while.

like everyone else said, having a litter box (and perhaps the cat's food, in another area not next to the box of course :) in the basement and maintaining it so it doesn't stink will help avoid most smells. it's helpful too to have a small rug or something by the box so the litter the cat gets on its paws comes off.

if sneezing from hair is an issue, have some limits in place both you and your partner agree to. for example, no cat on the bed/in the bedroom, etc.
posted by ifjuly at 7:44 AM on October 22, 2004


What we're really talking about here is the pet owner valuing their own "wants, preferences and other less-vital things" over those of their mate's. We call this "selfishness."

What do “we” call asking a pet owner to sever their bond with a cherished pet? For this relationship to work someone is going to have to sacrifice. Most pet owners form a loving bond with their pets. I submit that giving up a pet is usually a bigger sacrifice than having to deal with one you didn’t choose. Irregardless of which is a bigger sacrifice, that both are frequently huge sacrifices makes this such an important issue in a relationship.
posted by caddis at 8:12 AM on October 22, 2004


My read is that the questioner really hates cats. The bit about the mewling seems particularly telling.

Others are covering the subject better than I can, but if you really feel this strongly about cats, do yourself a favor and cancel the whole "moving in together" thing. It won't end well, IMO.
posted by Irontom at 8:21 AM on October 22, 2004


A follow-up from anonymous (ie. not me):

So I did end up getting vilified and some of you did turn this into a "cats go or i go" scenario. I don't want him to get rid of the cats. I wanted to know how this could be tolerable for the both of us.

To those of you who didn't respond on that order, thanks. Especially to Mars Saxman.

The cleaning is going to be absolultely positively pertinent to this working. I'd like to negotiate some boundary and cleaning arrangements. Maybe we can draw up an informal contract of some sort. "Cats are allowed in a, b, and c rooms, sometimes d room, but never e room. Destroyed property will be replaced. Girlfriend will not have to scoop poop out of a box with a spatula. etc"
posted by Stynxno at 8:56 AM on October 22, 2004


So I did end up getting vilified and some of you did turn this into a "cats go or i go" scenario. I don't want him to get rid of the cats. I wanted to know how this could be tolerable for the both of us.

If you really dislike cats, it might well never be tolerable for both of you. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that's not really amenable to long-term compromise -- there are either cats in the house or not, so there's a distinct winner and loser here, on a permanent and ongoing basis forever and ever amen.

Remember that even rooms where the cat is never to go will receive occasional feline visitations unless you're supernaturally good at keeping doors and windows closed. You can keep it to a minimum, but you're still going to find cat hairs on the stuff in your cat-free zone, you'll still hear the mewling through the door, and you'll still smell it if they puke outside the door.

Give it a shot. The real hope here is that (a) you'll come to tolerate / enjoy the cats being around, or (b) that your beau is not hugely attached to having cats, so these cats might not be replaced when they breathe their kitty last. Failing that, there's a strong chance that you'll have to activate Plan B of moving back out.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:19 AM on October 22, 2004


It's just not true that "Cat living in a new home" equals "Cat death sentence," no matter how many times you try to make that connection.

Argh. I have never said that it does - what I have said is that surrendering to a shelter is often a death sentence, and that surrendering to a shelter is often the only option people find. There are always more unwanted animals than there are homes for them.

And I submit that this is not as simple as the pet owner placing their personal needs, wants, what-have-you above their partner's - there are other living creatures involved here too, and one partner chose to take on the responsilility for their welfare. Whether you choose to accept it or not, many people see pet ownership as a much bigger matter than simple property ownership - the fact that YOU say it's BS to approach pet-related questions on the balance between self and mate in a relationship from the false perspective that actions taken on behalf of the pet by the pet owner are selfless, when thay are ultimately done for the pet owner's own interests does not make it so. Pets are not cars or appliances that have no concept of where they are living and how they are being treated, and one pet home is not automatically analogous to another - pets get attached to their owners, their owners get attached to their pets, there is a definite relationship which forms. You can transfer the physical dependence, but physical needs are not the only needs pets (or owners) have. In other words: you do not value pet ownership the way others do, and you assume your way is the right way.

And what caddis said.

To anonymous: I have not intended to vilify you, and I believe I offered you some suggestions - my main point was simply that this sort of thing (i.e. people who have radically different opinions about pets, which seems to be the case here) is often a much bigger issue than it seems and that you might want to think on this a bit before you decide to move in together. Setting up a cat free room is a very good idea.

Please do not let the cats outdoors if they are not already outdoor cats - it's dangerous and the world is not a litterbox.
posted by biscotti at 9:30 AM on October 22, 2004


>>It's just not true that "Cat living in a new home" equals
>>"Cat death sentence," no matter how many times you try
>>to make that connection.
>
>Argh. I have never said that it does - what I have said is that
>surrendering to a shelter is often a death sentence, and that
>surrendering to a shelter is often the only option people find.

So, biscotti, it wasn't you that said this in response to a question only asking if the other person would "get rid of the cats" -- "You may not be directly advocating killing them, but that is in effect what you're doing, there are more cats in shelters and rescues than homes, the odds of the cats being put to sleep are enormous."

That's you responding to question about removing the cats from the scene and assuming that doing so goes like this: getting rid of cats = cats got to shelter = kitty death sentence.

And to that I say "It's just not true that 'Cat living in a new home' equals 'Cat death sentence,' no matter how many times you try to make that connection," because the question you responded to never specified using a shelter. That's your unsupported assumption about what he would do to get the cats out of their home. You're the one assuming that a shelter is involved at all, and then labelling the suggestion to get rid of them "appalling" because of that assumption, which is not supported by anything outlined in this thread.

Caddis -- "Getting rid of the cats is a big deal." Is that a fair characterization of your statement?
posted by NortonDC at 4:28 PM on October 24, 2004


Cats are fastidiously clean animals and they don't shed one bit more than you do. Litter boxes don't have a stench unless they're not cleaned properly. One of my cats is almost 13 years old and she has NEVER destroyed a piece of furniture.

I hate to tell you this, kamylyn, but I think someone sold you a stuffed cat. You might want to take it in to a vet, or maybe a taxidermist, to have it checked out.
posted by majcher at 11:30 PM on October 24, 2004


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