Husband wants cat-lover to get rid of pets

Dear Maggie,

My husband and I get along wonderfully except for one area where we disagree. I love cats, and I have four of them.

He hates cats and wants me to get rid of them. We fight about it constantly. He says they stink up the house, leave hair everywhere, and heís embarrassed to have people over. I say they use their litter boxes, which I clean daily, so itís not as bad as heís making it out to be. And besides, theyíre my pets and I love them.

How do we solve this?


Dear Cat-lady,

This is a doosie, but itís really not so far different from anything else couples really, really disagree on. It seems like you canít both have what you want, but I think you can.

Okay, he wants a home that doesnít smell of cat odor, where he can sit on the sofa and not get up covered in cat hair. You want a home with the animals you love that make you happy.

The first thing is for both of you to try to see it from the other personís point of view. For you, I have to tell you, Iíve never been inside a house with more than one cat and not been able to tell by the smell that cats were present. No matter how much you clean, four cats is going to leave a distinct scent. And the hairs ó well, thatís an ongoing problem too.

For him, I have to say that some people really canít be happy without a pet, and there are cat people, and there are dog people, and you, his bride, are a cat person. If he wants you to be happy, heís not going to be able to see that happen without a kitty in the house.

So how can you both have what you want? Well, is it possible to have both pets, and the odor-free, relatively hair-free home? It is. Iíve seen it done. Iíve been in homes with pets that had no odor and were spotlessly clean. The tricks?

Limit yourself to one cat. And make it a female.

Make it a cat that loves to spend time outdoors and isnít a 24/7 couch potato. (If you live where thatís possible, of course.) Make it a short haired breed. Brush her coat daily. Be adamant about cleaning the litter box and locate in an out of the way place where itís not going to be in your husbandís path. Use Fresh Step kitty litter, (smells great) and those scented litter box liners. Be sure to have her spayed. Keep her clean and groomed. Donít overfeed.

Try your best to train her to stay off the furniture.

Have a constant supply of those sticky-lint rollers on hand, to pick up the cat hairs. Another thing that works for getting them off the furniture is to use long strips of masking tape.

It seems to me that if you can get your husband to sit down and talk with you about this, and if you offer to bend a little ó giving up all but one cat ó that he will bend too, giving up his insistence on zero cats.

One, clean, well behaved cat would be, it seems, a perfect compromise.

And if that he wonít budge, well then you have to ask yourself who youíd rather have living with you, and make your decision based on that. =)

Good luck!


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