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Is my cat ruining our marriage? (long)

Background:
In December 2007 DH and I started dating. At the same time, I was given a rescued cat, Evie, as a gift. She is very skiddish and took almost 6 months just to get used to me alone... Fast forward to 2010- DH and I get married and move in together. I (of course) brought Evie. DH said he was a bit annoyed because he has a small cat allergy. Not their fur or dander- but their spit. But he let me bring her anyway... He has never lived with cats growing up (they had dogs), so he was not used to litter on the floor. I cleaned the litter box out every day or every other day. And I swept the litter every day, so there would be less of it, but if you have a cat, you know they kick litter everywhere! To add to that, since Evie is so skiddish, she would hiss and claw at him when he tried to pet her. I felt awful, and kept assuring him that she would come around. Now, two years later, she is still skiddish. She will let him pet her sometimes, but she usually runs away from him or hisses!
Anyway.. We moved out of our apartment into a nicer condo. For whatever reason, Evie started scratching the doorframes. Not good. DH told me if I didn't get her de-clawed, she would have to go. I am 100% against de-clawing, and she was an adult cat by that time, so it was out of the question anyway. So I bought her some scratching posts and sprayed the doorframes and couches with no-scratch spray about twice a month. She stopped scratching, but the damage was done. DH is pretty annoyed. And THEN a few months ago I switched Evie to a new type of litter. She had a fit and peed on our bed.. DH basically told me to get rid of her. But after seeing how upset I was, he said we could keep her if we locked her out of the bedrooms. I was fine with it. So ever since then, she has only been allowed in the kitchen, living room, and second bathroom, where we kep her litter box.
DH and I are about to buy a house. He said she has to be an outside cat ONLY. She can't come inside at all. He said he has given me and her too many chances... He is worried that she will scratch up the walls at this house or rip up the carpet (she tugged at it a little in our first apartment for about a week when we first moved in). 

I feel awful because (1) She is a rescue and is so scared of everything, I'm worried she will get hit by a car or something, (2) we live in FL and it gets so awfully hot in the summer, I feel like she will bake up out there!, (3) we will be moving around December/January- so, the coldest time of the year, (4) DH wants me to bring her to the new house in a carrier and just put her outside, with no time to get acclimated- we live in a 2nd story condo right now, so she can't get used to grass or trees or bugs or anything. 

Am I being selfish in wanting to keep her inside? I even offered that we let her outside during the day/while we are at work, and then let her inside just at night.

Do you agree with DH that we have had too many chances already? He said "I don't see how you get enjoyment from it since it gives us so much greif. It is such a neusance- yet you constantly put it in between us like it is more important to you than I am. Why do you insist on keeping it?"

I agree with DH- I am annoyed at having this conversation over and over again! Why can't he just realize that just because all he sees is a dumb cat- I see my little baby?

Re: Is my cat ruining our marriage? (long)

  • Honestly? I think your H is being a jerk. He has known this little cat the entire length of your relationship. He knows how much you care for her and what she has been through. I don't understand people who think you can discard an animal like a used pizza box. It's ridiculous. My H and I fight about our younger cat because she is a pain in the ass but he knows I'll never give her up. Tell your husband to get over it. Take care of your cat. OR find a better home for her. Don't put her outside, that's a death sentence.

     

    Yes, put the cat first. Your husband is being absolutely ridiculous.

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  • image bewilderingstar:

    Honestly? I think your H is being a jerk. He has known this little cat the entire length of your relationship. He knows how much you care for her and what she has been through. I don't understand people who think you can discard an animal like a used pizza box. It's ridiculous. My H and I fight about our younger cat because she is a pain in the ass but he knows I'll never give her up. Tell your husband to get over it. Take care of your cat. OR find a better home for her. Don't put her outside, that's a death sentence.

    DH is just annoyed because I seem to always "get my way" when it comes to Evie. For a while I was looking for a new home for her, but the thought of it makes me feel so guilty. She was abandoned once before already, before she was mine. I don't want to put her through that again. I am also just so terrified of putting her outside. She got out once when I first had her and was lost for almost a week. I found her in my neighbor's yard so skinny and matted. Poor thing. And one of my coworker's cat's just died- she was attacked by something while outside. She bled out on the side of the road for who knows how long until my coworker found her. I told DH about that and he was sorry, but stood his ground.

    I just feel bad because I feel like both of us are saying "It's me or the cat."

  • I am so sorry. My DH and I are going through a similar conflict over our dog (a few posts down), but we both love our pets and want what is best for THEM.

    First, no matter what your DH says, you cannot move and just put the cat outside. She will be confused, try to "go home", and you will lose her. Like PP said, a death sentence. There is no safe way to quickly make a cat an outside pet. It must be done very gradually and once they become very used to your home as home.

    Your DH's concerns for the house are legitimate, but he is approaching your discussions about the cat without compromise. If he will have a constructive conversation and listen, perhaps you could offer to introduce the cat to your new home slowly. She will be scared, so this is the best method anyway:

     Put her in one room with her letterbox and water/food and her carrier. Open the carrier, but let her leave it when she is ready. Close her in this room after showing her the box and leave her there while you unload/unpack. This is her space for now. Visit and reassure her with affection that everything is ok. A day or two later, let her explore, and keep a close eye on her. If necessary, return her to her "room" for a while. Make her explorations short at first. Also, preempt any scratching with that chemical spray.

    If you explain your plan to DH, maybe he will be more comfortable with it. I think your cat senses his dislike of her, and that is why she is unfriendly toward him. If you cannot agree, you should respect your DH and look for a kind home for your kitty. If you make it clear that your cat is, in your heart, a part of the family, but that you are willing to give her up for DH, he will hopefully respect you even more! Good luck! 

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  • Thanks emerald. We are hoping to have about a month of renovations and painting to do to the new house, so I was going to try to use this time to get Evie aquainted with it and being outside. The issue is that DH doesn't want her in the new house AT ALL. He doesn't want her to get the "this is my new house" mentality- he wants her to have that attitude towards the backyard.

     

  • Your cat is not ruining your marriage--your husband is being a turd. 

    I agree with part of what a previous poster suggested: when you move, put her in one room and give her time to adjust.  

    I do not, however, agree with the other part of that post, which was giving the cat away. Your husband is being a jerk. Pets are a lifetime commitment, and this isn't even that big a problem in the grand scheme of things. There are TONS of things you can try to fix these issues, and it doesn't sound like you've done very many of them thus far. 

    She sounds incredibly stressed out. Things to try:

    -Put her in one room and give her time (weeks, not days) to adjust to the new house. Introduce her to other parts of the house VERY slowly.
    -Get Feliway (plug-ins or spray). The plug-ins only cover a certain amount of square feet, so you'll likely need more than one. They help relieve stress.
    -There is also rescue remedy (to put in her water) and/or a calming collar that you can buy. 
    -When you switched her litter, did you mix it in with the old and switch it slowly? That's the way to do it in the future, if you didn't. 
    -Have you talked to your vet about the cat's anxiety? There are relatively cheap medications that can be used as a last resort.  

    You were right in not declawing, btw--that is traumatic, especially for an adult cat.

    You also keep saying that your DH says you "have to" do this with her, or she "has to" be an outside cat. She is YOUR cat. Just say no. You need to advocate for her. Tell him you're going to try these things at the new house, and then you'll re-evaluate. Don't let him bully you. I understand that it's hard and frustrating (believe me, I do), but dumping the cat on someone else, or putting her outside where she will very likely die is not the answer. 

    Good luck. Hopefully someone else can chime in with more advice and if none of these things work I can suggest some other things that I've had to try.  

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • image SallySparrow:

    Your cat is not ruining your marriage--your husband is being a turd. 

    I agree with part of what a previous poster suggested: when you move, put her in one room and give her time to adjust.  

    I do not, however, agree with the other part of that post, which was giving the cat away. Your husband is being a jerk. Pets are a lifetime commitment, and this isn't even that big a problem in the grand scheme of things. There are TONS of things you can try to fix these issues, and it doesn't sound like you've done very many of them thus far. 

    She sounds incredibly stressed out. Things to try:

    -Put her in one room and give her time (weeks, not days) to adjust to the new house. Introduce her to other parts of the house VERY slowly.
    -Get Feliway (plug-ins or spray). The plug-ins only cover a certain amount of square feet, so you'll likely need more than one. They help relieve stress.
    -There is also rescue remedy (to put in her water) and/or a calming collar that you can buy. 
    -When you switched her litter, did you mix it in with the old and switch it slowly? That's the way to do it in the future, if you didn't. 
    -Have you talked to your vet about the cat's anxiety? There are relatively cheap medications that can be used as a last resort.  

    You were right in not declawing, btw--that is traumatic, especially for an adult cat.

    You also keep saying that your DH says you "have to" do this with her, or she "has to" be an outside cat. She is YOUR cat. Just say no. You need to advocate for her. Tell him you're going to try these things at the new house, and then you'll re-evaluate. Don't let him bully you. I understand that it's hard and frustrating (believe me, I do), but dumping the cat on someone else, or putting her outside where she will very likely die is not the answer. 

    Good luck. Hopefully someone else can chime in with more advice and if none of these things work I can suggest some other things that I've had to try.  

     

    this.  Your DH knew about your cat before you got married.  It is not fair to the animal to just throw him outside, rehome or declaw him.  From what I read it seemed like the cat was pretty receptive to the training posts... Animals take work and it seems like you are willing to try alternatives.  Tell your DH to get over himself and please don't put the cat outside or rehome him.  You are right, it is a life time commitment and he needs to understand it is a living breathing member of the family and you can't just kick him out for convenience. Please try the tips sallysparrow gave you and hopefully some more cat owners jump in. 

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  • I think he is being unreasonable and selfish.  I have never heard of a cat spit allergy either.  I call BS on that. 

    We have 5 cats and one of them has been peeing outside the box as a result of DS.  She's been to the vet and does not have a UTI.  She's pretty temperamental, and I know it can be irritating, but it's manageable.  Here are some things you can try to help your kitty:

    Try Feliway spray where she scratches.  I am guessing she smells another animal, and is scratching to mark her territory and make herself feel safe.  You mentioned she is skittish, so the scratching could be a way for her to make herself feel safe.

    Feliway also makes diffusers that can help with scratching and using the litter box.  If she pees outside of it, the first thing you should do is rule out a UTI.   Cat Attract litter works well for problem pee-ers.  We have used it in the past.

    I also highly recommend Rescue Remedy.  We recently started using it on our cats because some of them have been showing anxiety symptoms and it is really doing a nice job. I buy these on Amazon; they have the best prices I've seen.

    I suggest any books by Pam Johnson-Bennett.  She is a feline behaviorist and does a great job of explaining cat behaviors.  Yes, it's annoying to have cats scratch furniture and pee outside of the box.  When they do that, they are trying to communicate something to you.

    I'm sorry your husband is acting this way.  I think that he needs to support you and your cat.  It really sounds to me like he is using any excuse he can think of to get rid of the cat because he doesn't like them.  I think that is unfair to you.  I encourage you to stand your ground and do what is best for your kitty. 

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  • No, I think your DH is being unfair.  I am lucky in that DH equally loves our pets, but at the very least I would expect my partner to respect that they are important to me and will always be treated like members of the family.  I'm sure your DH has habits or hobbies you don't love, but you still support because you love him and they are important to him.  Your DH is being an emotional bully and he's doing so motivated by selfishness.  That doesn't sit well with me.

     

    I would strongly suggest getting soft paws to help with the scratching, confining her out of the bedrooms in the new house, and getting a feliway diffuser or a few to help her with her scaredness.

     

    An adult cat who has always been indoors cannot survive outdoors.  Cats have little tiny gps in their brain and moving, then dumping her outside will essentially ensure she gets completely lost and can't find home.  If she isn't hit by a car, lit on fire by a kid, killed by a neighborhood dog  (all things I've seen happen!0

    image "...Saving just one pet won't change the world...but, surely, the world will change for that one pet..."
  • I have to disagree with you all

     We are in a similar situation except it is switched my husband is the one with the cat.  He had it before we met.  She ruins everything in our house, only likes him, and I have a small allergy to her. We have talked about the possibility of giving her to another family.

    Of course I knew he had a cat when we dated.  Would I break up with the love of my life because of something like that?  no.  I have never told him he has to get rid of her or become an outside cat ( I know she would not make it, or wouldn't come back) But it is extremely important to find some sort of compromise. 

    Husband should trump cat.

     If it really bothers him that much maybe look into a family adopting her from you.  I just think you need to look at it from the other side, because nothing feels worse than feeling like your partner is choosing an animal over you.

     

    Anniversary
  • image rwhite0714:

    I have to disagree with you all

     We are in a similar situation except it is switched my husband is the one with the cat.  He had it before we met.  She ruins everything in our house, only likes him, and I have a small allergy to her. We have talked about the possibility of giving her to another family.

    Of course I knew he had a cat when we dated.  Would I break up with the love of my life because of something like that?  no.  I have never told him he has to get rid of her or become an outside cat ( I know she would not make it, or wouldn't come back) But it is extremely important to find some sort of compromise. 

    Husband should trump cat.

     If it really bothers him that much maybe look into a family adopting her from you.  I just think you need to look at it from the other side, because nothing feels worse than feeling like your partner is choosing an animal over you.

     

    This isn't about husband trumping cat or cat trumping husband. You are right in one aspect--it should involve compromise. Her husband telling her that the cat HAS to live outside or HAS to be rehomed is NOT compromise. It's her husband telling her what she HAS to do with HER cat when there are other options that haven't been tried yet. 

    Also, the problem with rehoming a cat that is already anxious is that the cat will be even worse having to start over with another family, no matter how great the family is. One of the worst things you can do is take an anxious cat and, instead of trying to treat it, dump it on someone else. Add to that the fact that there are tons of cats in shelters who are euthanized every day, and that rehoming is taking a home away from one of them, it's ridiculous to suggest that before they've even explored all the options to keep the cat in the home. 

    I can't tell you how many cats I've seen (and I don't even volunteer in rescue regularly) who are dropped off at shelters or posted on Craigslist because a new husband or wife decides they don't like the animal and they don't want to try to work it out. It's disgusting. Thank God DH has been incredibly easy to compromise (there's that word again) with when it comes to our pets. But then again, if he didn't have the compassion to be that way, I probably wouldn't have married him. 


    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I don't think that this cat should just be dumped somewhere or that should be just given to a shelter. We adopted our dog and any pets we will get in the future will be from shelters.

    I am just saying I don't know how old this cat is.  My in-laws just put their cat down that was 26.  If this cat truly makes this man unhappy and frustrated how much longer is he going to have to deal with it?   It's not just a situation where it should be "this is the way it is --cat stays--accept it--the end"  He may be told to deal with it for another 10-15 years. 

    However I do think that if they compromised maybe trying to find a home for the cat would work.  Not just drop it off somewhere.  And he should work on that also.  He should reach out to family members and co-workers, it should not fall onto her to do all of that.  Of course if that is the way they chose to go.

    Anniversary
  • image rwhite0714:


    However I do think that if they compromised maybe trying to find a home for the cat would work.  

     

    How is this a compromise when he wants to get rid of the cat and she doesn't? One person wants to get rid of the cat. One person wants to keep it. Getting rid of the cat is not a compromise between those two. 

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • image rwhite0714:

    I have to disagree with you all

     We are in a similar situation except it is switched my husband is the one with the cat.  He had it before we met.  She ruins everything in our house, only likes him, and I have a small allergy to her. We have talked about the possibility of giving her to another family.

    Of course I knew he had a cat when we dated.  Would I break up with the love of my life because of something like that?  no.  I have never told him he has to get rid of her or become an outside cat ( I know she would not make it, or wouldn't come back) But it is extremely important to find some sort of compromise. 

    Husband should trump cat.

     If it really bothers him that much maybe look into a family adopting her from you.  I just think you need to look at it from the other side, because nothing feels worse than feeling like your partner is choosing an animal over you. 

    Good luck finding a family that will take a cat that ruins everything in your house. Do you know how many cats with NO issues are euthanized in shelters?

    Why would you continue a relationship with someone if you dislike part of the package? And pets that came before your relationship ARE part of the package, and frankly, should "trump" you. He wasn't your husband when you first met him. I would absolutely end things with someone who hated my dog. 

  • image rwhite0714:

    Husband should trump cat.

     If it really bothers him that much maybe look into a family adopting her from you.  I just think you need to look at it from the other side, because nothing feels worse than feeling like your partner is choosing an animal over you.

     

    It isn't a matter of an animal being chosen over you.  The cat was a responsibility that they took on long BEFORE you.  In both situations the partners knew about the cat, who is a part of the spouse, before committing to marriage.  I think it is absolutely absurd that just because one person doesn't like the cat you should "compromise" by making them get rid of it like an old piece of furniture. 

    My DH doesn't like my dogs at all.  He doesn't want the responsibility, the hair, or anything really that comes along with them.  He knows how much I love and care for them and would never in a million years ask me to get rid of them.  They cause messes, have their own issues, etc but it is something I am willing to take on as their owner.  Yes, he has to live through some of the growing pains but he knows it makes me happy.  If he ever asked me to do this he would not be the "love of my life" because he obviously would not respect that they are a part of my family. 

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