Pet problems at home.
July 8, 2011 4:13 PM Subscribe
I just moved in with my boyfriend, and as it turns out he's very easily annoyed by my pets. I'm looking for suggestions on how to moderate the tension so that both he and my little creatures can coexist without murdering each other.
posted by wansac to human relations (23 answers total)
We are in a small-ish 1 bedroom at the moment, but plan to move to a larger apartment in a few months. Everything has been going well with the move, save for his issues with the pets. We haven't really had any difficulties adjusting to living with each other outside of this, but he gets quite frustrated with the animals pretty quickly.
I have a 9-month-old kitten and 3 birds (2 parakeets and a small parrot called a Green Cheek Conure that live in one cage; one of the parakeets has cancer and will not be with us much longer). At the moment, the birds are still at my old apartment and will be moving in the next couple days. The kitten has lived with us for about two weeks.
In general, my boyfriend does not become frustrated easily, but for reasons I can't quite discern, he gets very irritated by small things that the cat does and lets them distract and bother him quite a bit. The cat is young, so he spends a lot of time rambunctiously running around and playing with his toys, after a few minutes of which my boyfriend will start asking what the f*** the cat is doing and trying to calm him down (which generally only gets the cat more and more worked up). My boyfriend actually likes animals and was raised with a lot of cats and dogs, and he says he sort of likes my cat at times, and they do spend part of each day with the cat cuddling him, laying on his lap, etc. But nonetheless he still becomes frustrated with him quite easily.
The cat is also having some trouble adjusting to the new space, and has done some truly irritating things like scratching the walls. My boyfriend won't let him in the bedroom at night (I'm not actually completely sure why, other than he is a lighter sleeper than I am; when we do let the cat in, he sleeps with me on my side of the bed and ignores my boyfriend for most of the night). At my old place, the cat had access to me at all times of the day, and now that he can't cuddle with me at night, he spends part of each night crying, banging into the door, throwing toy mice under the door, etc. This just adds to my boyfriend's general frustration with the cat.
The birds are not living with us yet, but my boyfriend is already extremely stressed by their impending move. He says that he has a phobia of birds and finds them weird and gross. He hasn't ever lived with birds, but seems to have already decided that it will be a terrible experience. I don't really think that will be the case, in that the birds mostly hang out together in their cage (and when they do come out, I would be the one interacting with them, he would not really need to play with them or take care of them in any way). They chirp and talk, sometimes loudly, but never at night, and putting a blanket over their cage always silences them. They do make a mess, but I am diligent about cleaning it up daily and wouldn't expect him to do any additional bird-related cleaning.
He was aware of my pets before we decided to move in together, and met all of them and said he was ok with them and wouldn't want me to have to give them up. Now he says the "gravity of the situation" is hitting him. There are a series of other stresses outside of the move (which is itself a big deal) going on in both of our lives that may or may not be contributing to his irritability on the pet front. I'm not sure if he's just channeling some of his work/moving/life frustration into his pet frustration, or if this is a genuine problem that will persist as long as we have pets.
Can anyone here give me some advice on how to limit the tension in this situation? Giving up any of my pets would be an absolute last resort, and I don't feel we have reached that point yet. He and I don't actually fight about the pets, he mainly just lets the cat irritate him and worsen his mood. Has anyone else dealt with this and found a compromise that allows the less pet-friendly partner to not constantly feel stressed about the animals in his/her home? I would like to make my cat be quiet and polite all the time, but I can't really stop a kitten from being a kitten.
Thanks for your input.