Q. My husband and I keep busy with full-time careers. We travel together about once or twice a month for weekend trips.
I work from home mostly and my husband works at an office. I get lonely and want a pet. Because of our schedules, a dog doesn't seem like the right choice. I'd like a cat, which would work great, but my husband hate cats.
My question is: why does my husband hate cats? How is this even possible? It's not even reasonable to "hate" an entire species of animal. I'm so pet-starved that I'm naming the box elder bugs that come into our house.
A. Dear Pet-starved,
More times than I would like to admit, I have been labeled a "Cat Hater". (Please don't stop reading here.)
But it isn't the case. I just don't want a cat or cats in my life (Please don't stop reading here either). It's not just cats. I don't want pets, or a pet (If you have started reading this, please don't stop reading here either). I understand this a dangerous path to tread publicly. Your husband may understand what it's like to live the life of someone who doesn't like having pets around and has been ridiculed and scoffed at for saying so.
When I was a kid, I heard this terrible story about a neighborhood boy who buried a cat up to its neck, then ran over its head with a lawn mower. I would say that boy hates cats. And himself. And likely most everything.
Someone who doesn't want a cat in their life may simply not want to deal with; The smell of cat food, the sound of cat food being spooned out of a can, the dust that rises into ones nostrils while pouring dry cat food, the smell of a litter box, the cleaning of a litter box, the sight of a litter box, the couch/chair/curtains and so on used as a scratching post, the sight of a scratching post + cat bed + elevated cat house, the thought of administering eye drops into infected eyes while you are out of town, cat hair on everything, constant vacuuming and tape rolling of clothes and furniture, the sight of cat anus peering out from under lifted tail, feline diarrhea on the bed or pillow or anywhere in the home, sharing a bed with a cat (or any pet), conversations interrupted by "Oh how cute... Look, (as the cat creeps slowly across the... I don't know... the television stand or windowsill. Some cute cat activity) isn't it adorable?" Cat dander, the cat jumping on the kitchen counter (even though they "know" they aren't "supposed to") while food is being prepared- or at any time really, getting a cat sitter whenever the two of you want to go out of town, knowing that while you are out of town you are thinking about the cat and wondering if it's missing you, watching you talk to it like it's a person and maybe the only person that really listens or even cares about your problems, hearing you talk to your friends about how you know what they are going through with their kids because the two of you have a cat, trips to marts and stores with "Pet" in the title, wrapping gifts purchased for the cat from said stores for Christmas and feline birthdays, cat calendars, family photos with the cat in a sweater, trips to the cat doctor (If I were writing about dogs this is where I would use the word "Dogtor") and bills paid to the cat doctor.
It may just be me but I don't think any of that registers on the cat hater scale. There are a number of life adjustments that must be made in order to keep a pet in the home, and to some the benefits simply don't out weigh the inconveniences. And I think that should be okay. I know I have a handful of friends who have no interest in having children for any number of reasons, but that does not make them baby haters.
So I would urge you to ease up on your husband and look at it from his side for a bit. Maybe ask yourself, what would you do if the situation were reversed? Perhaps he was the one home alone, day in and day out. How would you feel if he wanted to get a stripper to keep around the house? You know, just for companionship and something to cuddle up with when was all by his lonesome. (Supposing cats are to lonely girls what strippers are to lonely boys.)
Lastly, you may be able to use this cat issue to get something else you want. For instance, if you have to do with out the cat, then he has to get rid of his game console, or motorcycle rebuild project that has been taking up your dinning parlor for the past 18 months, or start giving you weekly back rubs and intently listen to your stories, hopes and dreams. Then you can curl up on the couch together, rub him behind the ears while you watch Wheel of Fortune and every so often say "You are such a good boy." Really, this arrangement could keep both of you happy for quite some time.
Hope that helps,