Could Your Cat Be Ruining Your Relationship?

Cat sitting with couple
With time — and some helpful treats — your cat is likely to warm up to your sweetheart. 

Do you have a blossoming romance that your cat seems intent on nipping in the bud? Don’t worry; your favorite feline probably isn’t sabotaging your new relationship on purpose — but there are some ways that make it seem like she is.

Your Cat Just Doesn’t Seem to Like Your Significant Other

Your cat is giving your new sweetheart the cold shoulder, but it's not necessarily a reason to kick your partner to the curb. Cats like to investigate and determine how they feel about people in their own sweet time. Of course, this behavior may be off-putting to your partner, who might begin to dislike your cat as a result — causing stress in your relationship.

Talk with your partner about what’s going on, relationship expert and author  Andrea Syrtash urges. Syrtash advises you should keep the conversation light but make sure your feelings are heard. That advice goes both ways. You need to listen to your partner’s feelings about the cat, too.

“Partnership is meeting in the middle to find a solution for both. That’s never going to work if someone feels resentful and disrespected,” she says.

Help your cat associate your significant other with good things, like treats or playtime. And don’t push them on each other too quickly.

Your Cat Pees on Your Partner’s Things

If your cat pees on your significant other’s shoes, jacket or other items lying around, does it mean your cat hates your partner? No, Daniel Quagliozzi, of Go, Cat, Go Cat Behavior Consulting in San Francisco, says.  

Anytime your cat pees outside the litterbox you should talk with your vet to make sure it isn't a medical problem or case of litterbox aversion. But there may also be another reason. “Cats need everything to smell somewhat familiar,” Quagliozzi says. Some cats rub their cheeks or flank pheromones to deposit their smell on items. And sometimes anxious cats feel the need to spray on things in order to mark their territory with their scent.

If your sweetheart's items are unfamiliar to your cat, your kitty just might be inducting the items into the home, so she’s more comfortable with their presence. To combat this problem, be diligent about keeping your partner’s items out of your cat’s reach.

Cat staring at human in bed
If your partner isn't a fan of being woken up in the wee hours of the morning, consider feeding your cat before bedtime, so she isn't hungry at the crack of dawn.

Your Cat Wakes You Up Early

You may be used to your cat waking you up at the crack of dawn hungry for breakfast — but a partner who isn’t accustomed to furry alarm clocks won’t love being awoken that early. Consider feeding your cat before bedtime, so she isn't hungry in the morning. You can also try putting food puzzles out, so your cat will have some food and entertainment ready when she does wake up. 

Also, Quagliozzi notes, play with your cat as much as you can, especially before bedtime, so your cat is tired. This also helps with any rambunctious middle-of-the-night antics that may keep you and your partner awake.

Your Cat’s Litterbox Smells

Nothing says romance like a smelly litterbox, does it? A home that smells like “cat” can put a damper on a relationship. To avoid this issue, make sure you keep the litterbox spotless and remove urine and feces daily. Change the litter completely and wash out the box every few weeks in order to keep odors at bay. In fact, you should be keeping that litterbox as clean as possible regardless of your relationship status! It is good for you and your cat. 

Your Cat Makes Your Partner Sneeze

Cat allergies range from mild to severe. If you’ve fallen for someone who breaks out in hives at the sight of your cat, this could be a big challenge for your future together.

If your significant other has mild allergies and is willing to take steps to manage them, great! But, Dr. Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and author specializing in relationships, points out, this is something to consider and possibly discuss at the beginning of a relationship before things progress. “If you love your animals deeply and you know you’d never get rid of them, you need to bring this up in the early stages of dating,” she advises.

It can be frustrating when you and your partner aren't on the same page about your cat. “But you first have to give them the benefit of the doubt,” Syrtash advises. “Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that your new partner’s disrespectful. This person may not realize what your cat means to you and may not understand the pet connection.”

Every relationship has challenges. But if you and your partner are willing to meet with your kitty in the middle, chances are you all can live happily ever after.

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