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Dirty Kitty Things

My girlfriend of eight months is so attached to her cat that she takes it with her when she goes to the toilet. She also lets it sleep in the bed and drink out of the bathroom sink. She has cat knickknacky things everywhere, and worse, cat hair everywhere -- on the bed, on counters, on clothes and food. To me, cats are filthy animals that cover themselves with spit, lick their behinds, track used kitty litter all over, and shed hair and dander. I think about our future together, and wonder whether she'd give up a cat to be with me. You may think this sounds unreasonable, but I equate living with a cat to asking a woman to move into a house with a dirt floor.


There are people with cats, and then there are Cat People. People with cats shrug their shoulders when they hear somebody isn’t a fan of the species. Cat People march out to the garage, push aside all the kitty posters and spare toilet seat covers with ears and whiskers, and arm their nukes. Take this Cat Person, for example, who spotted an “I Hate Cats” entry on some guy’s blog, and came out clawing: “I bet your parents never hugged you and the’re divorced. You most likely have no friends and spend your time watching porne on the internet! . . . And by the way, I will pray that your trailor gets burned down and you suffer and die from smallpox!!!!!!!NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU!!!”

To be fair, not every Cat Person is so quick to launch their “I ‘heart’ my BooBoo kitty” warheads. Who knows, maybe your girlfriend would take the time to run spell-check first. Here she is, an adult woman who decorates like she got drunk and went on a spending binge at Hallmark, who seasons her food with cat hair, and who can’t pry herself away from little Poopsy to take a private trip to the john. And here you are, a guy who sees the housecat as the next best thing to an open petri dish of typhus. Yet, somehow, this doesn’t stop you from wondering whether you can have a future together. And maybe you can; most likely, the Hobbesian kind: “Nasty, brutish, and short.”

Hey, wait, don’t all relationships take compromise? Sure they do. But, making “Filthy Animal Seeks Good Home” signs isn’t a compromise; it’s a declaration of war. She clearly sees this cat as her furry, four-legged child. Ever let a mother know you find her child vile and ill-behaved, and only fit to live under the porch? Okay, maybe you were tempted once or twice, as we all are, but came to your senses. In this case, if you just weren’t keen on cats, or you like them, but have allergies, maybe you could stay together by living apart. But, as odious as you find cats, not to mention her relationship with her cat, you two are about as sensibly paired as a Buddhist and a gun nut, or a vegan who mutters “Murderer!” every time his partner takes a bite of steak.

Love has its limitations; among them, its failure to double as turbo Febreze, not only making persistent pet odors go away, but making persistent pets disappear with them. For future reference, while it’s important to figure out what you want in a woman, it’s kind and responsible to figure out what gives you the dry heaves. In other words, you aren’t wrong for being a cat-loathing germ freak, just for taking eight months to determine that the only way you two could live happily ever after is with the intervention of a taxidermist.

Posted by aalkon at August 22, 2006 3:59 AM

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Way to be there with the Hobbes reference, appropriate on at least two levels in the Cat Person discussion. :)

Posted by: Melissa at August 22, 2006 9:26 AM

And it took him eight months to start thinking about this?! No, buddy, she's not going to give up her cat to be with you!!! I know he doesn't understand this but most people with pets grow very attached to them, "love me, love my _____" (fill in your companion animal of choice) This is not going to work so the sooner he moves on, the better. I have a cat (but I'm not a Cat Person)and if some woman gave me that choice, her or the cat, she's gone.

Posted by: pakratt at August 22, 2006 3:33 PM

So... what is so wierd about taking your kitty to the john, letting him drink from the faucet while there and letting him sleep by your head and eat off your plate anyway?

Just askin'...

Posted by: scout at August 22, 2006 10:19 PM

scout, it's worse than it looks. She's a cat lover (kitty knick nacks, etc) and he's abviously a cat hater. He wants her to take down her cross and put on a burka. Amazing how stupid (and arrogant) some people are.


Posted by: Steve at August 25, 2006 8:05 AM

"He wants her to take down her cross and put on a burka."

Pet ownership is equivalent to religion?

"I have a cat (but I'm not a Cat Person)and if some woman gave me that choice, her or the cat, she's gone."

You'd rather have an animal companion than a woman companion?

Posted by: Fred at August 25, 2006 9:43 AM

Well, there are benefits to having a pet versus a girlfriend. For one, the animals don't complain as much. Number two, pet behavior is much easier to predict. You also get to touch when you want to touch, not the other way around (that sounds real creepy when I read it). The animals, from my experience, have just about as much in the way of an engaging personality. Also, your pets don't go crazy on you once a month. If they do you're allowed to hit em, the way it should be.

I hope you all have a sense of humor.

Posted by: Scott at August 25, 2006 2:03 PM

I bet if she had a dog he'd be cool with it. Men don't typically get into cats because cats threaten most men's intelligence. Dog's on the other hand tend to be more meat and potato's intellectually so guys dig em'.

Posted by: john lark at August 25, 2006 2:47 PM

Your average tomcat has a brain the size of an overipe plum. It's going to take a little more than this to threaten my intelligence.

Posted by: Ken at August 27, 2006 8:33 AM

I was raised as a "dog person" but now have cats due to my work schedule. I am not a "cat person" - I have had to explain to more than one relative that I own cats; I do NOT decorate with them!

However, I firmly believe that when you bring a pet into your family it is a committment. If I were to date a guy who hates cats and made me decide between "him and them" - no choice. They stay. They are not disposable, to be kicked out because they are no longer popular. And, anyone who would want me to make that decision is not someone I was meant to be with anyway. Better to find that out sooner rather than later. (for the record, there is no cat hair on my food; I hate it when they try to join me in the bathroom; and I try like heck to keep them off the counters and tables)

Posted by: maxie at August 27, 2006 11:53 AM

>>>You'd rather have an animal companion than a woman companion?

While this comment doesn't precisely apply to me, since I'm a hetero woman, I can say that I would rather have an animal companion than the *wrong* male companion. Now, this woman does sound obsessed with her cat...but the guy writing in sounds obsessed with hating cats. Maybe he's just overreacting to an extreme case (cat hair in food, ew), but, at the heart of it all, he knew from the beginning that he didn't like cats, and is only dealing with all of this now.

Taking in a pet is taking on a commitment. If you become allergic to it, or find a true love that is allergic, or your life changes dramatically, then finding a (good) alternative home for it is acceptable. But giving it up for someone who just doesn't like it? No. If that person can't get that a commitment is important and honor that despite his or her own personal likes or dislikes (I didn't say medical issues or bone-deep fear, just likes or dislikes), then that person is wrong for you. People who say "you'd do X if you loooooved me!" (unless "do X" is along the lines of "be faithful") are to be avoided like the plague. Put it another way: if this were a woman writing in because she was wondering if her boyfriend would give up his beloved dog to be with her, because the dog was messy, would you find her sympathetic? I wouldn't.

I'm not sure this guy is quite that bad - he did just say that he "wondered." But, fer crissakes, there are millions of cat-free single women out there, some with extreme allergies that mean they'll never be able to own cats. Why not go with one of them rather than trying to convert a cat fanatic? Life is too short.

(For the record: I have two cats, both rescue animals; no drinking from fountains, walking on counters or other Too Much behavior, but I wouldn't give them up for a guy just because he didn't like cats. Allergies are another issue.)

Posted by: marion at August 27, 2006 12:52 PM

Marion's right - you've got a pair of opposite obsessives here.

As a man sharing with dogs and cats, I prefer cats. Dogs are too stupid and dependent. Their selling features are devotion, loyalty etc. This is anthropomorphic crap. The last thing I need is some stupid dog staring at me with complete admiration and leader-worship. I'd rather be ignored by a cat any day. Plus cats are more practical in bed (at least while they're not scratching and biting).

Posted by: Norman at August 28, 2006 2:34 AM

What do you have against scratching and biting in bed?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 28, 2006 6:41 AM

I just knew someone would have to say that :-)

Posted by: Norman at August 28, 2006 11:59 AM

Yeah, I'm cheap and easy and so is my humor.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 28, 2006 12:17 PM

Sorry I'm late chiming in on this. Amy is right that asking your girlfriend to give up her cat would be like asking her to give up her child. And it could be a death sentence for the cat. Most full grown cats who end up in shelters don't get adopted, and we put millions of cats to death every year in this country because there aren't enough homes. At least giving up a child wouldn't ensure this kind of fate for it.

Anyway, instead of complaining about the cat, and claiming you are not a "cat person", but best thing you can do is start taking an active role in training the cat. I have had three non "cat person" boyfriends convert when they met my cat. Why? Because cats don't have to be messy, annoying bothers if they're well trained. Maybe you could start brushing the cat. This would cut down on the shedding and might give you some bonding time with the little furball, not to mention, this would probably mean the world to your girlfriend. Also, it's high time everyone start potty training their cat, I'm not kidding!!! (I've done it with two cats. It takes two weeks, tops. And no more litter boxes, ever again). http://www.karawynn.net/mishacat/toilet.html If you don't like that the cat drinks out of the sink, then get a special cat fountain. It plugs in and sits on the floor, and has a pump in it so that the water is constantly moving. Cats love these. There are a zillion little ways that you can help your girlfriend's cat to become a more tolerable companion if you would just stop treating it like the enemy.

And no, I don't care if you're prince charming, you should never ask her to give up the cat. Even if she would choose you over the cat, how could you ask someone you love to make that kind of sacrifice??????

Posted by: Sarah at September 7, 2006 8:46 PM

Guess I'm a tad late, but I'm gonna chime in on this one, too.

I'm a cat person, and I have two cats, both of whom are spoiled and well loved. I've had that "get rid of the cat" boyfriend, and I flat out told him, don't make me choose between you and the cat because you won't like the outcome. My cats are like children to me, but better, because they pretty much take care of themselves, and they can entertain themselves as well as me!

To the non-cat boyfriend, either suck it up and learn to love the cats, or get a new girlfriend. She's going to choose the cats if you give her an ultimatum, so you bettr decide which is worse....not having the girl or not having the cats.

Good luck.

Posted by: Duchess of Austin at October 6, 2006 7:44 AM

Oh god... just a good illustration for the old adage: don't expect a person to change because you'll probably be disappointed (or something like that). I once knew a woman who was a germaphobe - she used to come into the health food store where I worked and buy antibacterial soap by the case. Incongruously, she was into animal rescue, and she had about 10 cats living in her home. Someone asked her about it in relation to her germ phobia, and she said that with cats "it was just different."

I love animals and I've had all kinds of pets, but I'm with you - I think cats are disgusting. Any pet that has a special box to poop and pee in, LOCATED INSIDE A HUMAN'S HOME, is too gross for words. I dated one guy with a cat - actually a pretty cool one, as cats go - never again. His cat used to walk all over the kitchen counter, after stepping in that box of pee and crap. Don't ask her to give up her cat, just move on - it's not worth it.

Posted by: Kate at November 13, 2006 2:23 PM


What a stupid question you ask. Did you get dropped on your head as a child? Any woman (or man for that matter) who would demand you give up a pet or she will leave won't stop with that pet. She will see this or that area you need to improve in, this friend or that family member you need to drop, and before you know it, you no longer have any of the people or things you cherished. You're just a big Ken doll that your woman dresses and treats as she pleases - and with a similar anatomy as that doll, because she's taken that from you, too.

Since the cat never demanded he give up his woman, I think the choice is logical.

Posted by: Lillian at November 30, 2006 12:36 AM

I too think cats are vile, filthy creatures. They shit in a dirty box then walk around on you, your furniture and kitchen counters. I visit my cat-obsessed friends and am hit by a wall of urine-soaked funk that fills the air. Cat vomit stains speckle their carpets. Hair & filth greets you at every turn. Then I leave with a red welts about my body.

Hey! What's this guy's name and number? We could skip the whole match.com thing and meet. Me and you baby - let's make a cat-free happy home where the only scratching & clawing will be done by us. ~wink wink~

Posted by: Bella at March 30, 2007 8:25 AM

No home with or without pets needs to be dirty. The cat is not dirty, its environment is kept that way. No matter how bright the pet might be, typically they are unable to tidy up after themselves. The environment can be changed -- the feelings cannot. The whole gripe sounds like the excuse the dude is looking for to get out of this relationship. Not likely that the cat is the only issue here.

Posted by: KP at May 17, 2007 9:13 AM

No home with or without pets needs to be dirty. The cat is not dirty, its environment is kept that way. Cats, dogs, and infants typically can't pick up after themselves. So this is the cat's fault?

The environment can be changed -- the feelings cannot. The whole gripe sounds like the excuse the dude is looking for to get out of this relationship. Not likely that the cat is the only issue here.

Posted by: KP at May 17, 2007 9:14 AM

Cats are filthy, dirty creatures. They poop in their litterbox, step in the poop, & then crawl all over the house- spending the poop & diseases as they go! Then they shed all over the place, leaving hair in the kitchen and all over food. Cats are also mean & evil. They not only bite people, but they scratch- w/ their infected poopy claws & spread infection. For those who claim that cats are sooo clean.... well pregnant women are not even supposed to clean the litterbox. Why? Because they are filthy creatures that spread disease and are unsafe for people to be around!

Posted by: Toots at May 31, 2007 9:10 AM

And humans are not germ-ridden?!

Posted by: kp at July 3, 2007 1:39 PM

Wish I'd seen this sooner. I'm a cat lover, have two of them, 8 and 12 years old. They sleep with us and the 20 lb. black male spends most of the time on my lap, even when I'm using the computer.
I've discovered that a great way to connect with a lady is to connect with her cat. Perhaps I have a natural affinity for this but it has brough me some great loving on occasion. There is a great pun here, but I'll leave it to your imagination.

Posted by: Jim H. at August 13, 2007 9:58 AM

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