Post # 1
My Boyfriend or Best Friend and I have been dating for a year and are talking about getting engaged. We both have separate places for the time being.
The problem is, I am super allergic to cats. Coughing, swollen eyes, sneezing, wheezing- the whole enchilada. Everytime I go there I am miserable. No amount of allergy medicine helps. We usually stay at eachother’s place on alternating weekends.
He has two cats that he LOVES dearly and is pretty diligent about cleaning up after them, keeping a clean litter box, etc… But it doesn’t matter, I still have these awful reactions, sometimes they last even after I have left.
I want to have a future with him, and love him very much but there is NO WAY I can live with these cats! Oh, I forgot to mention he has two.
I feel terribly selfish asking, as I know how much they mean to him. I have never actually asked him to get rid of them but if we are planning to get married, I need to let him know I can’t live with the cats.
How should I approach this? Is this a deal breaker?
Post # 3
This is tough. Pets are family to a lot of people. I know that I told my Boyfriend or Best Friend that my cat and I were a packaged deal when we started talking about moving in. You need to have the discussion, but realize he may be unwilling to part with them.
Have you explored allergy shots?
Post # 4
If you move into a new place, I’d get a 2 bedroom, and make one of the rooms the cats’ room. You don’t have to go in there, and the cats won’t come out. Otherwise, it may be a dealbreaker if you’re miserable.
Post # 5
I don’t know how to help you with this. I’ve been to the ER a couple of times because of cat allergies so there is no way I would have dated someone for a whole year who has cats. It honestly won’t work. I don’t know what to tell you except that you should be prepared for the fact that he might, just might, chose his cats over you. I’m sorry.
Post # 6
@angela7122: Does he see how miserable you are when you stay there? I don’t think you’re being selfish at all. I would ask him to when you guys are going to live together, maybe see if his parents can take them or something? Definately tell him now though so he can prepare.
Post # 7
My best friend is allergic to cats. But she fell in love with her boyfriend’s cat. She immediately started getting shots for the allergies. They have been married for over 10 years and have never been without a cat. The shots take years but they do work.
Post # 8
Have you tried going and getting allergy shots? Those work better for a lot of people. Also if you moved to a place that had hardwood floors taht would help a ton because the cat hair/dander would be soo much easier to clean up. I would not ask him to get rid of his pets, they are family.
Post # 9
Have you spoken with a doctor about allergy treatments? OTC medications aren’t always the best for non-flower/plant allergies.
Your boyfriend’s cats are almost like kids or siblings to him, so I’d make every attempt to be able to co-exist with them. If you go straight from “I am allergic to them” to “get rid of them” then there’s a good chance he will pick the cats over you, and if not, he’ll still end up sad, bitter and resentful. So do not force him to choose.
Also see if you can move into a house instead of an apartment; even a small house, as long as there’s an “upstairs” and “downstairs” it is much easier to cordon off a territory that’s mostly for you, and one that’s mostly for the cats, so that you can share the same roof but not be constantly having allergic reactions.
Post # 10
I’m allergic to cats and get allergy shots. I own 1 cat and have no issues. I’d explore allergy shots, they do help. Also agree with @redheadem who suggests a 2 br place with a no cat bedroom. I would be prepared to deal with the fact that he picks his cats over you especially since he takes such good care of them, they are probably like his kids. If I asked my bf to get rid of his dog, he’d tell me to hit the road because that dog is his baby and my cat is mine so I understand.
Post # 11
@angela7122: If you two are planning on getting engaged, and are thinking about a future together, I do not think it is wrong to ask him to get rid of his cats. It’s not selfish at all! You are a human, and they are cats. If they are making you sick, your health should be the priority. I have animals, and if I found out they were making SO feel terrible, they would be gone in a second. I love them, but I love him more.
In my opinion, and it may be harsh, if you have tried all other possibilities (Rx medicines, allergy shots), and he refuses to give them up; than he needs to go. A person who you are going to be with forever should put your needs first.
ETA: I just wanted to add that I’m basing this on your allergies being severe. Many allergies become worse with time. Allergies can be trivial, but oftentimes even a cat allergy can warrant a trip to the ER. If you just get itchy eyes, I would say deal with it. If you are having swelling of the face etc. than refer to what i’ve said earlier in my post 🙂
Post # 12
Oh, this is tough. I love my cat so much, I don’t think I’d take very well to being told that I had to give him up. I can’t even imagine.
If he’s anything like me, then the ONLY option (involving giving up the cats) would be if they could go to someone he already knows, so he could still see them. Otherwise, it might be a dealbreaker. I would never be able to drop my boy off at the shelter and never see him again. I know that sounds harsh towards the allergic human, but honestly… If I were super allergic, I’d try not to get too involved without having a talk about it first.
I do recommend you try some other allergy management things, as previous bees have already mentioned. They can go a long way.
Post # 13
I think it will not go over well if you ask him to get rid of his cats. I have two cats, and Darling Husband proclaimed his allergies early on. His don’t sound as bad as yours – but over the years, his have gone away. Allergy shots might be worth looking in to. If he had told me I had to get rid of my cats before we’d move in together, I would have been really angry, and we’d have had to work out a different solution. My girls have been with me through a quite a bit, and they’re not inconveniences to be disposed of.
I appreciate that you see how hard this would be for him. It would be worth looking in to alternatives that make both you and him happy.
Post # 14
I absolutely love my pets…but I love my husband more, and if he had allergic reactions like you are describing and had seen a doctor/no medication worked, I would find them new homes. My love for my husband > my love for my pets. He would do the same for me. OP, go see an actual allergist (my dad is on shots for cat allergies and comes and stays with us all the time without problems– we have three cats). If it doesn’t work, be honest with your Boyfriend or Best Friend. He should be willing to put your well being first.
ETA: I completely disagree with PP that said to just lock the cats in their own room 24/7. That is NO way for two animals to live and is not fair at all.
Post # 15
@CEtoSAHM: Agreed re: not locking up the cats. I think it’s reasonable to keep a couple rooms cat-free (bedroom especially), or even an entire level if your home is big enough, but not to keep the cats locked in one room for the rest of their lives.
Post # 16
I don’t think you should ask your boyfriend to get rid of his cats. I think you should ask him how he forsees handling the cat situation if you do get married and/or live together. “Babe, I’m so excited about everything we’ve talked about in our future together. When we get there, how do you think we should handle my allergies to cats?”
And see what he says. That will guide the rest of the conversation. Go “How do we handle this together” rather than “You need to do this really tough thing.”
You might end up at the same conclusion but it will be hopefully much more of a joint decision that he feels good about.
It might be a few steps – going to see an allergist together first, trying out a test treatment, if that doesn’t work or would be unsustainable long-term, then talking about re-homing the cats. I think that would be fair.