Living with my Wife's Cats
May 1, 2012 1:09 PM Subscribe
Please help me find a reasonable way to handle being an unwilling co-owner of two cats
posted by Beacon Inbound to Human Relations (79 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure whether this should be in 'human relations' or 'pets'... It could really fit into both. I've been following this thread http://ask.metafilter.com/214262/Its-me-or-the-dog-Or-both-of-us-and-a-lifetime-of-sulking#inline-3092222 with interest as it is very close to my inquiry (but from the other side of the argument, and without the nastiness and some of the other details.) and it's prompted me to finally ask for a little perspective for my own situation.
So, the backstory should come first. My wife and I used to live on an acreage where we had these two cats. On the acreaqe they were strictly outside cats but were always very friendly. A little over a year and half ago we sold the acreage and moved into the city. The incoming new owners of the acreage had large, aggressive dogs and we worried about the safety of the cats because they were used to our dog who tolerates them. Long story short, we decided to try having them as inside cats at our new house in town. I have never been a "cat person" and have never lived with them before but felt a responsibility for them so I agreed to give it an honest try.
Almost immediately, I found that I HATE living with cats. To be clear, I don't mind them as individual creatures. But living with them is driving me crazy. They are strictly indoor cats, as neither my wife or I believe having outdoor cats in the city is fair to anybody, all outside cats do is shit in the neighbours garden. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to discourage them from destroying furniture and curtains with their claws we had them declawed so no matter what we feel on the issue they can't be outdoor cats anymore anyways.
In the first little while, I communicated many times that I was very unhappy living with them and would really like to find them a home that is a little more suitable for them. Unfortunately (for me), my wife has fallen in love with these animals and everytime something came up, like a destroyed piece of furniture, me going down the basement to find all my ski-clothes stunk like cat shit, etc. She would either cry and dodge the issue, which made me feel like an ass for bringing it up or say "Let me try X solution before we get rid of them." ... None of the solutions seem to work and if I don't frequently mention the issue she tends to just ignore it, which makes me (and her) feel like I'm continuously bitching.
Things that are not a big deal to her are enormous obstacles for me. For example, I am VERY sensitive to the smell of cats (I suspect I'm mildly allergic) and they LOVE sitting in our living room looking out the window. The problem for me is I often find the smell so overpowering I can't sit in the living room, which has the nicest furniture in the house and it drives me crazy that I can't enjoy the nicest room of my own house because of them. She doesn't notice the smell at all.
Anyways, I don't want to go into a big rant about things I Hate about cats... it's enough to say that we both feel strongly about the issue and it leads to at least monthly arguments. The cats are 6 years old now, if they were ancient I would probably suck it up and wait them out, but at 6 there's the possibility that they might live for another 14 years. I don't know if I can handle 14 more years of them. If she "Came" with cats when I met her, I would accept that I had made the choice to marry a cat person. However, the initial agreement was to "Try" them as indoor cats and see how it goes.
I feel like I've given them (the cats) a fair chance, but my wife wants to keep them and keep trying to find a way for all of us to live together. I really don't know how to handle this without being a jerk. I kind of feel like if something I did or had caused this much stress for her I would take action to fix it rather than let it cause this much grief between us; That said, they make her happy and I don't want to make her unhappy. So, I don't think it would be right for me to flat out say "get rid of the damn cats" but I don't think it's fair to me to be stuck with them for the next decade and a half. I really don't know how to move forward with this situation.
Any perspectives, thoughts, comments and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading