Is Your Cat Causing Relationship Problems? What to Do When Your Cat’s in the Middle

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One of the secrets to relationship success is harmonizing that relationship with the other elements in your life. Whether it be your family, your friends, your work, or your hobbies, life flows best when your significant other is at one with the things that are important to you. As cat owners, we add our feline family members to the list of things we want our partner to care about.

Quick Overview

01

Cats can cause turbulence in relationships if one partner is allergic to cats, is being attacked by the cat, or simply doesn't love cats as much as the other partner.

02

Getting your partner involved in feeding and playing with your cat can resolve jealousy issues and help your cat and partner bond.

03

Even if your partner doesn't love cats as much as you do, they should be compassionate toward your cat and respectful of you and your cat's relationship.

It doesn’t automatically follow that our chosen partner will automatically love our cats as much as we do (although ideally, they would!). They do, however, need to be compassionate toward your cat and respectful of what your fur baby means to you.

What to Do When Cats Cause Conflicts in Relationships

To be compatible, your partner should be content with the role your cat has in your shared life. Sometimes, various factors make it difficult for this to happen, which then causes relationship problems.

1. Your Partner Is Allergic To Your Cat

Your partner’s doctor can advise them about antihistamine medications or allergy desensitization treatments that could help with cat allergies.

Sadly, it is more common to be allergic to cats than dogs and up to 20% of people worldwide have cat allergies. As we all know, cat hair can spread far and wide in alarmingly large volumes, making cohabitation with cats difficult for cat allergy sufferers.

Although the itchy throat, runny nose, and prickly eyes that come with an allergic reaction is usually mild enough not to cause serious harm, it might be enough to make spending time in a cat person’s home less relaxing and put up a barrier to spending time with you in your space.

Solution

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help! If your cat is an indoor cat or is used to having the full run of the house, you might consider limiting their access to some areas of the home, especially the bedroom, to allow your partner some fur-free spaces.

Regular vacuuming and steam cleaning of soft furnishings can help to reduce allergen buildup in the home. Reducing the amount of time your cat spends inside can also help, although it pays to remember the risks that might be present in your neighborhood if you plan to allow your cat outside, especially if they have not previously been an outdoor cat.

Have your partner consult a doctor about potential antihistamine medications or allergy desensitization treatments that might be suitable for them.

Also Read: Cat Love Bites: 5 Reasons Why They Do It & How To Respond

2. Your Cat Is Jealous Or Over-Possessive

Introduce your partner to your cat gradually and positively by including them in mealtimes and playtime.

It is not only human relationships that are susceptible to jealousy. Cats can have behavioral issues around someone new, especially older cats that are more accustomed to their existing ways or rescue cats that have had limited socialization.

Unwanted behavioral issues can take the form of aggression toward your significant other or intense clinginess on the part of your cat.

Although neither behavior is particularly relaxing for your partner, remember that your cat is likely having feelings of insecurity about this new person in your life and is only trying to reestablish their role as your best friend in life.

Solution

Take things slowly. Aim to introduce any new family member to your cat gradually and with lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement. Try to involve your partner in the positive aspects of your cat’s life such as mealtimes and playtime.

As with any other time of stress or change, consider anti-anxiety supplements and foods, as well as pheromone diffusers such as Feliway to take the edge off your cat’s anxiety. Above all, do not reprimand your cat—they are only trying to tell you that they are uncomfortable with the situation and any form of punishment is only going to make the situation worse.

If your attempts to curb behavioral problems are having limited success, talk to your vet or an  animal behaviorist to point you in the right direction.

Also Read: 10 Signs Your Cat Really Does Trust You

3. Your Partner Is Not A Cat Lover

If your partner is compassionate and accepting toward your pet, your cat might just win them over.

Yes, it is possible that when the haze of new relationship bliss settles, it might come to light that your chosen partner is more of a dog person, or just not a cat person. This might seem alien to us as cat owners, but not everyone is made the same way and they might have plenty of other redeeming qualities!

In the same way that a parent might watch their child take their first steps in awe and wonderment, remember that as pet owners we are inclined to be more impressed with our feline family member’s antics than anyone else.

Solution

Try to tone down the cat chat. It is natural for you to dote on your cat, but if your companion is not a cat person, chances are there are only so many cat anecdotes or social media videos they have time for in one day. Reach out to your cat parent friends and cat forums to discuss the ins and outs of your cat’s behavior instead.

Remember, compassion and acceptance from your partner toward your feline family is what is important. Give them a chance to bond with the new cat in their life and leave it to feline charm to win them over!

Also Read: 7 Signs Your Cat Is Not Getting Enough Love

4. Pet Ownership Is Putting Stress On Your Relationship

Cat and dog owners alike know the strain that co-parenting your fur baby can put on a relationship. Our pets can bring endless joy, companionship, and entertainment into our lives, but pet parenting brings with it responsibility, cost, and dirty litter boxes!

Compared to pet-free families, cat owners are less able to be spontaneous as they have to consider their cat’s routine. At times, being a pet parent can be upsetting and expensive, for example when your feline family member is sick.

Solution

Set ground rules for who is responsible for pet parenting chores like feeding, administering medications, and cleaning the litter box. Budget for your cat’s upkeep and well-being and agree whether this is a shared relationship cost or not.

We are not always in control of whether our pets get sick or not, but having a good quality pet insurance can help alleviate stress on human relationships caused by having to fund emergency veterinary care.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Like My Husband More Than Me?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do people break up because of cats?

Yes, it is not uncommon for people to break up because of disagreements over pets. Many pet owners report that they would prefer to break up with a partner instead of re-home their pet.

How do cats affect relationships?

Co-parenting a pet can be an incredibly positive bonding experience for a couple. Behavioral issues can, however, put a strain on human relationships, especially when one partner is less fond of the pet than the other.

Can a cat be too attached to a person?

Cats can sometimes become extremely attached to one of their human family members. Often this is because the cat has been poorly socialized around other people and can cause behavioral issues within a household.

View Sources

Andrew H. Sparks October 2021 Human allergy to cats: A review of the impact on cat

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About Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt (MRCVS) is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.

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