Keep The Cat, Ditch The Boyfriend

If subreddits, advice columns and social media are any indication, a disturbing number of people ask or demand their would-be significant others to ditch their cats before their relationships can progress.

But even by the standards of the demanding, heartless boyfriends and girlfriends who insist the cat has to go in a relationship, this one’s a doozy. A woman writes to the Washington Post’s Carolyn Hax for advice on what to do with her boyfriend, who has some very strange ideas about cats:

Hi Carolyn: I’ve had my cat since college (almost 10 years). I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two years, I love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone, and we’d like to move in together.

My boyfriend hates cats. Hates them. He isn’t allergic (though he used to say he was, until I insisted on a test). He does have a strong aversion to them, probably from his family, who have some kind of belief that they’re evil or unclean. I’ve sought to understand it but could never get a coherent explanation out of any of them.

He jumps when the cat is in the room. And my cat is extremely affectionate, so doesn’t understand why he can’t come sit with us and be friends.

My boyfriend is offended I won’t give up the cat so he can move in. I’ve suggested compromises such as keeping the cat to just one part of the apartment, but he insists he needs the cat out.

I feel the cat was here first so this is an unreasonable ask. My boyfriend feels if I really love him then nothing should take precedence over his moving in, and he now says my hesitance is causing him to question the foundation of the entire relationship.

I cannot imagine rehoming my cat. I also can’t imagine ending my relationship. Am I being unreasonable or is he?

Hax goes beyond the usual “demanding significant others are major red flags” advice and points out that the boyfriend isn’t just placing his own emotional wellbeing above the letter-writer’s, he’s also trying to prune her life of things he doesn’t like or want as a precondition for moving forward in a relationship.

The cat, she points out, “is a hairy decoy, distracting you from the serious mistake you’re poised to make: thinking about your relationship in terms of what you owe the other person. All you owe anyone is to be yourself. … It’s on him to ask his own questions about living with that real you. It’s on him to assume the work of living with his own answers.”

That’s good advice for anyone who finds themselves in that sort of situation, but I do think the red flag aspect reinforces Hax’s good counsel. If the guy lied about being allergic to get his girlfriend to ditch her cat, he’s more manipulative than she may be willing to admit and he’s calculating about it, trying to disguise something he wants as a medical necessity.

But he goes even further than that with the “if you really love me, you’ll do this” emotional ploy, and by claiming his girlfriend’s loyalty to her cat is causing him to “question the foundation of the entire relationship.”

The foundation’s rotten, pal. You’re the reason.

Of course, all the human drama obscures the third individual involved in this mess: the cat. The letter writer has had the little guy for 10 years, which means they’ve long since bonded, he loves her, and he literally can’t imagine living in another place with another person.

Surrendering him to a shelter would be incredibly cruel. It would be a life-shattering betrayal of trust and cause incredible anguish to the poor cat in addition to putting him in real danger of being euthanized. And all for a jerk who fakes an allergy to get his girlfriend to dump the kitty she’s loved for a decade? Hell no.

I hope she finds a guy who loves cats. He’ll most definitely make a better boyfriend than this weirdo.

15 thoughts on “Keep The Cat, Ditch The Boyfriend”

  1. Ok here’s my take on it & it’s simple, YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE & YOU WILL ALWAYS LOSE! This is such bs, I’m sickened by her boyfriend & people like him. Maybe I’m a very polarized person, but I have zero Room For Gray matter in these situations. Btw, Hello to the Buddies & thanks for always putting it out there as it should be! Best to you both today & everyday 👣🐾🐾

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This boyfriend of yours doesn’t even know what love is. Your cat knows more about genuine love than he does. And if he’s this mean about your cat, he’s going to be mean about other things and you will be miserable. Could you really surrender your beloved kitty to a shelter? There’s not much chance he will be adopted as an older cat. Please keep your snuggly kitty guy and dump the human. You should be questioning the boyfriend’s version of love. He disrespects your cat and he disrespects you. Please get this man out of your life. He’s mean-spirited!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. All about CONTROL over another human being and hatred towards cats. GET RID OF THIS DEVIL.It will not end well. One situation where cat fell out of window and died. Girlfriend left window opened on purpose. And she was never allergic like she claimed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. People that do this in a relationship really piss me off. Like HELLO! Ya KNEW I had the cat/dog when you met me. Ya know they’re the love of my life. If this was a human kid, you wouldn’t be asking that question, so why it so easy to ask it when it’s a fur baby? Just because they’re not human, it doesn’t mean they’re disposable. You get them for LIFE!

    My pets will ALWAYS come first! I’m allergic to cats, dogs and other pets, but I have them anyway. Why? Because I’m willing to get the shots and take the allergy pills so I can have a pet I love and enjoy being with. I’ve got 3 kitties. I pissed off my Allergist because I told him flat out that NO I will NOT get rid of them! They bring me too much joy. Shots and stuff is a small price to pay to have them and it’s so worth it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Are the shots really effective? I’ve got allergies too, but they’re not overwhelming with just one cat, and vacuuming the cat hair helps. When I was younger I used to have bad reactions, getting really congested, eyes gumming up and becoming bloodshot, etc.

      Now it’s more like minor itching on my hands sometimes and a stuffy nose, but that’s a small price to pay.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you on standing firm on keeping the cat.


  5. When my husband and I first got together, I had five cats. And my house was a disaster area because for a few years before we met, I was having horrendous nightmare-inducing money problems, and in my desperation, I just let the cats do whatever, while I spent all day every day trying to figure out ways to not end up living in my car. Five years after we married, we moved to a beautiful home, and he insisted that the cats be limited to one room, which doubles as my office.

    It’s a big room, not your standard home office space. Numerous cat trees. Windows to watch the squirrels, lotsa room to run around, and chase one another. (Plus I’m down to four cats.)

    Husband would really prefer we have zero cats, but he knows what they mean to me, and has never once suggested that I get rid of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Barreleh – Glad you’re back. As someone who is not exactly the most organized, I feel your pain, and I think your story is a good example of the kind of compromise people make in healthy relationships.

      So your husband hasn’t softened his position on cats? All it takes is one friendly kitty to claim him as the kitty’s person, and he will switch to the dark side!


      1. Well, he is responsible for one of my cats staying with us. A couple months after we got married, a friend asked if I could trap a kitten that was in her yard (she knew I was with one of the local animal welfare organizations). I trapped the kitten, brought her home, and into the back bedroom away from the rest of the furmily. My plan was to ultimately send her to the place I volunteered, which has a no-kill shelter. For the next 5 weeks or so, she would hide under the furniture every time I came in to feed her and deal with the litter box. Then one day, my husband called me to come upstairs. He was sitting in the room with the kitten on his lap. He then said that a) we should definitely keep her, and b) her name should be Starlin. That was 11 years ago, and the very last time he expressed any interest in my cats. But I still have hope that he might someday join the movement. At the moment I’m typing this, Starlin is chasing a ball across the floor.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I remember you telling me about Starlin for a feature we did some time ago. She’s a special kitty, that’s for sure. I kind of envy you and others who have had the experience of actually rescuing stray cats and giving them the home they’ve never had. Not only is it a good thing every time a homeless cat finds a home, but it seems like that’s a great way to forge a bond, rather than, say, adopting a brat of a cat who was born to indoor parents and has known nothing but indoor comfort and service. You know, hypothetically. I’m not talking about any cat in particular, obviously… 🙂


  6. I will NEVER get rid of a fur kid for ANYONE!!!! They are family and were there first. “IF” you don’t like it .. don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wee herd ’bout this on “THE View” an now red yore post Buddy an Big Buddy an wee say DITCH THE STEWPID BOYFREND! Hee iss sneeky an a lyer an hee iss tryin to take control THE woman…
    BellaSita Mum wuud choose mee efurry time an all who went beefore mee 😉
    **nose rubss** BellaDharma

    Liked by 2 people

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Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.
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