Have you just embarked on a new relationship that your kitty seems intent on destroying before it’s had a chance to blossom? Or maybe you’re in an established relationship and the two of you welcomed a cat into your lives only to have it seemingly make a mission out of coming between you. Either way, while it may feel like it right now, chances are your cat isn’t intentionally setting out to destroy your love life.
In a study of 1,000 pet owners, 32% of men and 41% of women cited bad pet behavior as a relationship deal-breaker, with 31% of respondents overall viewing it as a reflection on the owner. The number of pets someone owns can also be an issue, with 33% of men and 27% of women saying they didn’t want to be around more than three cats.
It’s not all bad news though. In research conducted by the University of Buffalo, findings clearly showed that couples with pets had closer relationships and handled stress better than couples who didn’t. A 2017 study by online dating site Elite Singles found that 57% of those surveyed found singletons with pets more attractive than those without them.
So, what can you and your feline furkid do to find yourself on the right side of these numbers? Let’s take a look at five ways you can stop your cat from destroying your love life.
1. Divvy up the kitty chores
If you and your partner adopted a cat together or one of you inherited the other’s cat when you got together, one of the biggest ways your feline friend can come between you is conflict over cat chores.
Whose turn is it to apply the topical flea treatment? Why should you always be the one to clean out the litter box? How come you’re yet again the one picking up the hairball and scrubbing the stain off the carpet?
To navigate conflict in a healthy way, have a conversation about how you’re both feeling. Start gently, be curious about where your partner is coming from, and avoid words like ‘you’, ‘always’, and ‘never’. See if you can come up with a mutually beneficial solution, where you split the cat chores or take turns doing a week each.
2. Keep your cat out of the bedroom
Nothing will put a dampener on your love life quicker than a curious cat who wants a front-row seat. If your cat has a particularly playful nature, you may even find that they view what you’re up to as a fun game they’d quite like to be a part of.
So, how do you stop them from raining on your love parade? Invest in one of the best cat beds and designate a space in the house where your kitty goes when it’s time to go to sleep. If they’re used to sleeping on the bed, you may find there’s some initial separation anxiety that results in meowing or pawing at the door, but most cats will quickly get used to their new routine.
If you can’t bear the thought of your moggie sleeping outside the bedroom then at the very least, make your bed a no-cat zone. This may take a bit of training if they’ve ruled the roost for some time, so you’ll need a bit of patience and a bag of cat treats to help reinforce positive behavior.
3. Avoid posting too many cat photos
In a recent study of 1,300 women, researchers discovered that heterosexual men who posted photos of themselves posing with their cat on a dating website were viewed as less masculine, more neurotic, and less datable.
It turns out it’s not just men that need to think twice before they post that cat-snap, with 30% of men stating they find images on social media of cats that have been dressed up by their female owners to be creepy. A further 54% find it disturbing when female cat and dog owners give their pet their own social media account.
The lesson for all the proud feline pet parents out there? It may well be that less is more when it comes to those cat photos but if you’ve already mastered cat photography, don’t worry, a few here and there are unlikely to scare people off.
4. Don’t talk about your cat too much
Whether you’re on a first date or in a long-term relationship, try not to let your beloved furkid dominate too much of the conversation. Around 24% of men and 19% of women find it annoying when their date or partner continually talks about their pet.
Believe it or not, humans and cats can enter into codependent relationships in much the same way as humans do with other humans. To avoid this, and ensure you’re not jeopardizing your relationship, share sparingly with your date or partner when it comes to your kitty.
5. Keep things clean
In the United States, as many as 3 in 10 people have an allergic reaction to cats and dogs, with cat allergies being twice as common as dog allergies. While the best strategy is not to have cats, if you already own one and your partner has a mild allergy, there are a few things you can do to make life easier for them.
- Keep cats out of the bedroom and consider using a HEPA air cleaner
- Bare floors are best but if you must have carpet go for one with a low pile and steam clean it regularly
- Wear clean clothes that are free from cat hair when you’re with your partner
- Brush your cat outdoors daily to remove excess fur
- Clean and empty the litter box several times a day and choose a dust-free cat litter
- Wash bed linen in hot water
While these strategies won’t eliminate allergies, they can help reduce exposure and symptoms.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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