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My Wife or My Cat? Mental health issue

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi. My first post here. I try to discuss this with my wife but I feel I may be unnecessarily guilting her so I figured I'd try to seek advice from somewhere. Googling "cat forum" got me here.

I love my cats very much. I love my wife very much. My wife loves my cats very much. Everyone loves everyone... no question there.

One of my cats simply panics when someone comes to the door... or when the vacuum cleaner is going... or when it rains... or when something moves... or doesn't move. She's a freak. Its kind of funny really. But the thing is, she also has a history of urinal tract problems and one vet told us it could be because of stress.

Ok, back up. We bought a house a few months ago that's too big for us and the entire downstairs is empty - no furniture, nothing... not even using it for storage. French doors that are easy to push open are the way in. Through the main room down there, there is a small unfinished room - no windows, dark, cool. For whatever reason, this is the spot our cat goes when she's scared. She also just seems to go there to chill quite often. For all intents and purposes - its her spot.

For reasons I can't explain - my wife has a real (I think irrational) problem with her going down there. She's quick to say its the cat hair, but I don't get it - we don't use the space anyway and she's just as hairy upstairs. Granted, I'm not the one that does the vacuuming (dishes, lawn, and bathrooms are my jobs).

We went on a 2 week holiday recently, and before we went she insisted I find a way to barricade it. We put a bunch of weights blocking it - over 50lbs - and "tested" it by ringing the doorbell, and the cat made her way through it... and I'm sure it wasn't comfortable on the way through. I told her I'd figure something out but it would have to wait until after the vacation... I was stalling.

Now we're back. She brought it up again. I've tried saying I think its best for her health that we just let her have her spot and deal with it. My wife gets guilted really easy so I don't want to push it unless I'm more convinced I'm right. And maybe I'm not.

So what do you say? Do I do as my wife says and block the doors (install surface bolts), or do I insist we allow our cat, who obviously has nerve issues and chronic urinary problems, to simply have the spot she's chosen that - for the foreseeable future anyway - we aren't even using.

Or do I compromise - let her have the spot but shave her

Thanks.

- Steven
post #2 of 16
Welcome to TCS.

I am inclined to agree with you, if there is absolutely nothing in there and your cat feels safe, why not let her have that room?
Depending on the size I guess its and extra room your wife has to clean so I understand where she's coming from.

Are there any toileting issues, when she uses the spare room/space or is it simply the fur?

50lb is quite a bit of weight but if a cat is determined, they can do anything.

Neko really wanted outside one day, but we didn't want to let him out incase he ran away since we were introducing Ryu. Anyway he's a big boy, yet he squeezed through a gap like 1/3 the size of his body. I've also seen him open a draw until theres a 2-3inch gap and he can get in there.
Its different from the weight thing but when they are determined they are determined.
post #3 of 16
Hello Steven and thanks for coming to the cat site!

You should talk to your wife and try to find out the real real real reason why she doesn't feel right about the cat down there. Is it that she's afraid that the cat will get into something? Is she afraid the cat will get out? Is she afraid that the cat will soil the floor? Is she afraid that she'll have to clean it more if the cat is there? Is she afraid it will smell of cat?

Try to find out these reasons and see if you can compromise. You help her, while you both help your cat.

Your cat is a nervous cat. I have one too. Your cat is doing a pretty normal thing by seeking a safe place to be low key. You can help your cat feel better by using Feliway spray and diffusers upstairs. That could be your compromse. You both 'tolerate' kitty going downstairs, but you both work together to make upstairs more appealing.

Feliway is a pheromone (sp) or friendly scent that relaxes cats. Hope this can get others started on their suggestions.
post #4 of 16
I voted for the cat!! Bless her heart...if she gets that stressed,let her have her hidey hole!! As long as there's a litter box downstairs,what's the harm?
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
I voted for the cat!! Bless her heart...if she gets that stressed,let her have her hidey hole!! As long as there's a litter box downstairs,what's the harm?
I agree! I have kitty who has this problem and she more or less stay in her own room, with a nice big cat tree by a window and all the extras she needs and seems much happier that way! Other wise she is scared and stressed over anything. good luck in whatever the choice is! Oh and Welcome
post #6 of 16
Going way out on a limb here, and if I'm wrong, please just ignore this, but... could it be that because the room is dark, etc. that your wife is actually a little nervous about it herself? Not for the cat, but herself? Only won't admit to it, but is using the cat as a reason to barricade it, or not have to go in there after the cat when necessary? If so, she could get a little help from a therapist, or you could light it up better, put some furniture, books, etc. in there so it doesn't come across as creepy? The cat can always find somewhere else to chill anyway if it no longer likes it once it's been warmed up.
post #7 of 16
I also have a cat who is afraid of everything. She is a feral about 1 yr. old and lived outside for about the 1st. 4 mo. of her life. If anyone comes to the door its under the couch for her. Also thunder, helicopters, any loud noises. She has bonded to me but no one else. I'm just glad she's with me and has a good home. I vote for you.
post #8 of 16
I have a cat that is the same way with the bathroom. I hate having a litterbox in there because then it gets on our feet and stuff when we walk in there, but this cat LOVES being in there. It is hot, dark, and very small but she will happily spend all her time in the bathroom.
post #9 of 16
Hello and Welcome you have come to the right place everyone here is so great.
I agree that there may be some issues that she hasn't talked to you about you know her best... or simply she just doesn't want the kitty in this room for whatever reason . If the room is not being used and you guys don't intend to use anytime soon why not let the kitty stay in there it feels safe and I don't remember reading that the kitty is doing any harm to the room.

Wish you luck hope all works out .
post #10 of 16
Hi and welcome to TCS!

OK - so I have the same problem with my husband and Penguina! I voted for the cat in my house and I vote for the cat in your house, too!

Penguina is a super "fraidy cat" and wants to live in our bedroom, especially when there is anything unusual going on in our house. She also runs away from my husband a lot. He said that all of the added cat hair around our room gets on his clothes... WHATEVER!!!! We have a cleaning lady weekly. I think David hates that I am inclined to "baby" the cat and the cat does not care too much about him.

Whatever, the situation, I adopted my Penguina and that is how she is. She seems to enjoy life more if she spends the majority of it in our room...

I let her do it...

Maybe you can take over the "care" of that room? Would you be willing?

Also, Congrats on your new house!!!!!
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renovia View Post

Feliway is a pheromone (sp) or friendly scent that relaxes cats. Hope this can get others started on their suggestions.
I want to use this for Penguina, but when I tried it it made our other cat a bit crazy. She started attacking my feet and stuff - can it "overwork" a non-skiddish cat???
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
Going way out on a limb here, and if I'm wrong, please just ignore this, but... could it be that because the room is dark, etc. that your wife is actually a little nervous about it herself? Not for the cat, but herself? Only won't admit to it, but is using the cat as a reason to barricade it, or not have to go in there after the cat when necessary? If so, she could get a little help from a therapist, or you could light it up better, put some furniture, books, etc. in there so it doesn't come across as creepy? The cat can always find somewhere else to chill anyway if it no longer likes it once it's been warmed up.

I was thinking the same thing, maybe your wife feels creepy when she has to go down there to vacume. Sounds like a lame excuse, she is just using the cat for an excuse. How old is the house? Who lived in it before? Maybe I just watch too much of 'Most Haunted'.
post #13 of 16
Hi s_mack!

I agree that you should find out why your wife has an issue with the cat going down there. Trying to keep the cat from its safe spot will cause the cat to be more stressed, resulting in health problems, more vet bills, and possibly even more cleaning.

My proposal? Turn the room into cat-land, put a tree down there, some cardboard boxes for hiding, scratch posts, maybe a couple old pillows or towels for sleeping. Then, add that room to your half of the chores so she never has to even look at the room and has nothing to worry about. From what you've said, everyone should be happy with this, unless there is something your wife hasn't shared like that she is upset the cat wants to be alone...

Oh, and this board has a tendency of the cat ALWAYS coming first, as you're seeing in your poll. But in my opinion it should, since we've taken them in and they don't get much say in the matter. Our issues (money, allergies, etc) aren't their fault. Your wife's opinions and feelings about this certainly matter as well, and it's important to convince her that she wants whats best for your cat, too.
post #14 of 16
Hello, Glad you found the Cat Site! Hope we can help...

We gave our cats their own room, and when they get scared, that is the place that they go. If your cat feels safer in that room then she should have the room. You & your wife should be able to come to an agreement with this. Theres no need to be worried about the cat hair, that comes with the cat. We have 6 cats and there is always hair around, doesn't make a difference where they are. We both take turns vacuuming it up...

If you are not using the room, let the cat have it, your cat seems to be happiest down there. You wife shouldn't worry, just do whatever makes your cat happy and hopefully your wife should be happy too?

Please Update us on your situation when you have the chance

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
Going way out on a limb here, and if I'm wrong, please just ignore this, but... could it be that because the room is dark, etc. that your wife is actually a little nervous about it herself? Not for the cat, but herself? Only won't admit to it, but is using the cat as a reason to barricade it, or not have to go in there after the cat when necessary? If so, she could get a little help from a therapist, or you could light it up better, put some furniture, books, etc. in there so it doesn't come across as creepy? The cat can always find somewhere else to chill anyway if it no longer likes it once it's been warmed up.
I have to agree... there has to be some "real" reason she doesn't want the cat in there. The hair is just and excuse for something else because as you pointed out, the cat has the same hair regardless of what room she's in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
I have a cat that is the same way with the bathroom. I hate having a litterbox in there because then it gets on our feet and stuff when we walk in there, but this cat LOVES being in there. It is hot, dark, and very small but she will happily spend all her time in the bathroom.
I have a cat that's afraid of everything too and his safe place is our 1/2 bath-laundry room. Yes, walking through cat litter to do laundry is a big pain in the butt, but this is the room he was put into when we moved and it's his safe spot and I would never think of taking that away from him.

Now, take into account that you vet has even said that stress may be contributing to UTI's I'd do everything in my power to keep kitty happy.
post #16 of 16
If your wife's reason for not wanting the cat to have downstairs is because of the cat's hair, then why don't you take charge in cleaning the cat's room? If you guys have a litter box downstairs, then you could clean that too.
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