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This is long but I need some advice.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
As many of you know I am recently married. He is a wonderful, wonderful man but there is one thing about him that I really don't know what to do about and need your advice. Keep in mind that I am not leaving/divorcing him over this. I have known him for a very long time and we lived together before we got married so I know for sure this is my only issue with him. Here it goes........

He has animal issues, it's much worse with the cats than the dogs. Here are "his" rules for the cats. They are to be kept in the pet room during all unsupervised times, if they get out and he is too busy to supervise them he puts them back in the room. When they are out they are absolutely not allowed in the bedroom or the kitchen and they are not allowed to get up on anything but the dining room chairs.

Here are his reasons for doing this. He doesn't want to live in a home that is covered in animal fur so no bedroom, no kitchen and no furniture (except the dining room chairs,). He doesn't want them knocking things over and breaking things so no jumping up on things - this rule stems from the fireplace. He keeps his trophies on there and the girls would jump up and knock his trophies over, one of them got bent. All these rules also go for the dogs.

So the only time the cats get out of the damn room is when the dogs are out with us in the evenings. Patches and Buttons really don't like being around them too much so they don't really venture out of the room (so the only way I get to spend time with them is to go into the room). Toonces will on occasion because she likes the dogs but when she gets annoyed by them she goes back in. Lately, since it's been cool out (i.e. no mosquitos, they aren't on heartworm preventative yet) I've been putting them out on our enclosed patio (on occasion mosquitos have found a way into the screened in patio) so they can get some fresh air and another place to be. I like being able to do this but it still seperates them from me and these are very needy cats for my affection.

It was bad enough when we moved into the house and he made the "no pets in the bedroom" rule. This was really the time I cherised with my purr babies because as I got into bed they would come in with me and we would play for a little bit and then settle in for the night. Toonces slept on the pillow with me, Patches at my side under the covers and Buttons on the floor next to me or on the bed somewhere.

Well, I have tried so many ways to persuade him. I've explained to him how we can train the cats so they can be out and not get on the fireplace, on the couch, or in the kitchen. You all know what I'm talking about: citrus sprays, jar of marbles, NO, etc. I even volunteered to vacuum everyday. All he says is that those things wont work! I've tried telling him how much this is tearing me apart inside because these are my children that I have had to hand raise and hand care for. We've gotten into some arguments over this. I've pointed out to him that this situation with the animals has in no way been a compromise. That I am the one who has been made to compromise to all his "rules" that he hasn't given any at all on this matter. He just comes back with, "I'm not going to live in a house where the animals can do whatever they please."

Okay you can see how unhappy this is making me, it's actually starting to cause problems with my depression - I need my babies! Well, things are getting worse - it's starting to affect their health and behavior. Toonces it getting very stressed about being kept in the room and is pulling out the fur at the base of her tail. Buttons is acting out behaviorally by pooping in other places besides the litter box. My girls are still affectionate with me when they get to see me, it's almost like they are starved for my attention.

Here are the options I have tought of: couples counseling. Maybe through some counseling we can fix this. I don't know if this is just an animal thing of his but I have a feeling if we don't do some kind of counseling, in the years to come it's not going to be like this with just the animals. Cat trees, one for the pet room and one for the living room (so they can be out when the dogs are but have a sanctuary that they enjoy, plus I can just walk over there every so often and give them some lovin). The other option is trying to find new and loving homes for my babies. It is tearing me appart inside to see this affecting my babies health and behavior. I know it would make me an emotional wreck for weeks but I do feel it would be in their best interest.

Please don't flame me, I just really need some advice and support. I know I haven't been the best member about that but you don't realize how much I really care about so many of you even though I don't always say something. Like when Donna's little baby died, my heart was wrenching for her and When Cat's Opie was in so much trouble and the times Tigger has come on and discussed her parents and job. Sometimes I just can't find the right words. I know I could say I'm so sorry for you and that I'm here, but sometimes that just doesn't seem to be enough.

Thank you so much for listening to me now and listening to me in my previous "issue" post.
post #2 of 25
I am so sorry to hear about your problem and I think that couples counceling sound like a wonderful thing if he is willing - is he?

I think he needs to fully comprehend and accept you and your babies needs and also see the negative impact his "rules" have on you, Patches, Buttons and your relationship with him.

Unfortunately I do not think they are just animal issues but control issues - I saw that with my grandparents.

Finding new homes for our babies would just reinforce his level of control and make you absolutely misserable. Ask yourself if you could you look at him / feel the same about him as before if this situation would come to be. Personally I would be very resentful.

Counceling would be wonderful and if he agrees to go I think it could work wonders in all aspects of your relationship.

I wish you all the best and we are always here to listen !!!!!!!
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for your response Helen. I too have started to fear if this may be the start of a "control" issue but still have my doubts as it's only surfaced with the animals. He could just be one of those people that can't stand hair - the man can't even stand people hair. If one of my hairs is on him he has to get it off or if one of my hairs get in what I'm cooking and is served to him and he finds it, he gets really grossed out (this hardly ever happens by the way). I could understand if it was a complete strangers hair but mine?!?! He literally will stop eating! Well I still don't want to take the chance that this is a control issue and will be looking into counseling. I haven't asked him if he is willing to go but I think he would. We had to have several sessions with a priest before we married in the Catholic church and he was willing to do so, he was a little aprehensive but willing.
post #4 of 25
I certainly feel for you. I agree that it's no compromise on his part. A compromise would be giving you the opportunity to train them to stay off things, while vacuuming every day and seeing if the results are live-able. It sounds like you are the one doing all the compromising.

Now what to do about that. Counciling sounds like an excellent place to start. And I agree that it's a control issue that more than likely will manifest itself in other areas.

I wouldn't be able to see my cats so upset either. And I really feel for them being 'contained' in one room. Especially since they aren't used to it. They are probably so confused and bewildered by what is going on.

I hope your husband is willing to work through this issue with you. Especially since it's affecting your mental health.
post #5 of 25
I also agree with airprincess's statement:

".....that it's a control issue that more than likely will manifest itself in other areas."

and to nipp it in the butt as early as possible through counceling is definately the way to go. I am also proud of you that you are openly confronting the problem and not ignoring it - THAT TAKES A LOT OF STRENGTH!!!!!!!!!!!

In the mean time have you tried the old and true method of getting your needs met by letting him think it's his idea? OK maybe not fair play but.......

Chin up and plent of XOXOXOXOXO to your babies.
post #6 of 25
So far it has only surfaced with the animals, but think about the ego boost for him! He knows you love the animals like your own children. If you are willing to abandon them for him, in his mind you must love him more!
My guess is you will find this will surface in other areas as you go on, in fact if you look back, it may have already shown up, and you just didn't care enough about those things to notice at the time. Counseling is recommended whenever one or both members in a relationship are not happy and are not understood. And I agree, please do this soon! It will be easier now than later.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
You know what's odd about this whole thing? I've told him that I am going to look into finding them homes because of his "rules" and he tells me not to because he knows how sad it would make me. Well I'm going to go to my insurance provider website right now and find some people I can contact.
post #8 of 25
how sad it made you, he would not be making you follow his "rules". Besides, if you give up your babies, he loses some leverage. In other words, he loses the ego-stroke of knowing on a daily basis that you will do what HE wants, and not the other way around.
This is just a theory.
post #9 of 25

Actually not so odd - it's reverse psychology.
It's the thing I wanted you to try on him. ".....the old and true method of getting your needs met by letting him think it's his idea?".....and he won't be the bad guy!
post #10 of 25

Was this not a problem when you were living together before getting married?


You have the cats isolated in some kind of pet room? With the dogs? What if you decorate the room for the convenience of the cats? You know, build in some ledges and shelves they can climb on, get a few different cat trees, a comfy chair or love seat so you can visit them, etc. If they are members of your family and they are going to be confined to a small space, then shouldn't it be as comfortable for them as possible? Maybe you could add a reading light and your books or magazines or a tv, so that you could stay with your babies longer.

I agree that it's a control issue, and that you need to do something to take back control for yourself. It's affecting the cats, it's affecting you, pretty soon it will affect your relationship. It's hard to stand up for yourself, and it takes energy and effort, but in the long run it will be worth it to go through dealing with it now.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Actually, it started when we moved into the house which was a couple of months before we got married. I had some discussions with him before we got married and I thought it might change but it's not.

Actually, I've really thought about that. The room is fairly small, here's what's in there right now: space saver computer desk, small dresser with tv on top, treadmill, two deck cat cozy, dog crate, and litter boxes (in the closes, door left open). You know now that my mind is going I'm thinking of all sorts of things I can do to make the room more "caty" and to their liking (like finding different places for some of these things and adding a cat tree and window shelf and hubby and I have been talking about how ratty the recliner is looking, we could give it to the cats). It will take some $$$$$ but tax returns are next month.

I'm not dismissing counseling. In fact how wierd is this......

I printed out the list of people on my insurance for mental health and there is a lady named Sabra!!!!! and she is on Post Oak Blvd. which is the street that I work on. Could this be a sign??????
post #12 of 25
This made me so sad to read this. Loving each other in a committed relationship is always give and take and compromises. I see very little evidence that he is willing to compromise what he feels is the way these cats should behave in his house. Counciling would be wonderful, but many men do not think they need counciling and will not go. I hope your husband is at least willing to talk about it.

He is asking the impossible of these cats, he is asking them to not be what they are intended by nature to be, which are adventurers and climbers. To confine them into one room means you must give them stimulation in that room, such as sunlion suggests. We have a cat track in our cat room, where the cats climb up a post and then they have a rail that runs along the top of the ceiling and they get their exercise this way but climbing up and down and running amuck above our heads. You can make tunnels for them to go in out of pvc pipe, bring in boulders for them to climb on, cardboard boxes to hide in, that sort of thing. Good luck with this control issue. I wish you both the best, but if you give in now to his demands, look for the possibility that next time it will be a bigger issue he will have you choose sides on.
post #13 of 25
First, I would like to thank you for all your kind words when it came down to my parents & job!

Second, I think your idea of couple's counseling is a good idea! It can't hurt. I think that this is the beginning to a controlling man, but that is my opinion. Is there any way you can convince him that it is wrong that you have to keep them in a "pet" room? I think that is wrong on his part. And the fur ...... there are vacuums! What does he say when you tell him how much it hurts you to see your babies in a closed in room? I really don't think it is right of him to tell you what to do with your animals ..... Honestly, I would start letting them out slowly. See if he is willing...... Maybe, he will come to realize it isn't so bad? Can he move his trophies and breakables? Part of being married, is negotiating.
post #14 of 25
I agree that counseling might help and that it does seem to be a bit of a control issue for him.

But, I also wonder if he isn't a little obsessive-compulsive. Does he have a lot of rules and insist on orderliness and neatness? Does everything have to be perfect all of the time and does he become upset when things are different from the way they are "supposed" to be?

If so, he might have some psychological problems that are getting in the way of his being able to be okay with a little cat hair or being flexible enough to try to train the cats. Hmmmmmm. I wonder.
post #15 of 25
Good point lotsocats!
post #16 of 25
Possibly I'm gonna get clipped for this,but sfell said something which I would like to point out. Now sfell this is not particular to you and I'm not trying to be condescending or's just a generalized statement that is heard too often.

"I thought it would change." This is almost a Mantra with people in a bad relationship. Or it's companion phrase "I can change him/her". Physically abused wives/girlfriends keep going back to their abusive relationships,even dragging small children with them spouting the same lines...over and over. In it's extreme forms women will allow their children to be physically assaulted,molested or even killed and still return to that same partner or someone exactly like him...or worse. It makes me angry and sad all at the same time.

Sfell,I'm not saying your husband is like this. I do hope the councelling will work for you. But you really need to ask yourself that if councelling does not resolve the problem..will he be like this when children come along? Can you live with that? Again,I pray that the issue will work out but please do not blind yourself.
post #17 of 25
Sabra, I really can sympathize with you here, beleive me. I have went through the exact same thing with my husband and the cats.
When we first moved to the farm, a couple years ago, I was so excited, because I could have cats and dogs there, but my husband was dead set against having any of them in the house at all!!

He said pretty much the same things your husband did, and also said that he didn't want to live in a house that smelled like cat urine, etc, and we argued back and forth for a very long time about this.

What finally broke his little "control" thing he had going on, was when one of my kittens (Merlin) got very sik and almost died, I brought him inside and REFUSED to put him out until he was healthy again, and he made me keep Merlin in a small room, just like your cats are, but then I would bring Merlin out every evening, and the funniest thing happened. My husband got very attached to him, and now Merlin is a year and 4 months old, and he is inside more than he is out. He does go out some, he would hate it if he couldn't go out at all. Now we also have the grey cat, Sabrina in the house most of the time, and my orange kitten, Milo, too.
I never dreamed this would happen, so there is hope for you!!!
I don't know that I have any real good advice, other than don't back down, and don't give in. Otherwise it will be something else the next time that he expects you to give up just because he prefers it that way.
Please let us know what you decide, and how it goes. I will be thinking about you.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

You bring up a very good point. My previous step mother, who I am very close to, thought she could change my father when they married. Well they are no longer married and it is her that taught me she you can't change a man (person). They only way they can change is if they want to and you can't make them want to.

Now let me clarify what I meant by "I thought it would change" - I thought that the animals might make him want to change. I thought maybe if he is around them long enough he might become a real softie and want them around like I do (maybe a fatherly nurturing instinct might kick in with them). Well that hasn't happened and I've starting to worry that it won't. You are right on the nose about kids too because that is exactly what I thought - if he's this way about pets what about kids. That's why I want to do counseling.


He's not really a "neat freak" but he has systems for the way he does some things and he's a bit obsessive about them. They mostly relate to grooming, expecially his whole system of getting up and taking a shower. I could give you a step by step detail of how he does this.


I have already talked to him on the phone just now at work. I brought all of this to his attention and I think there might be some light but I've got to go (it's quitin time !!!). We're supposed to talk some more about it tonight when I get home. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow! Thanks everybody!!!
post #19 of 25

Good luck with your dilemma. I hope things turn out for the better. I had an issue with someone who was VERY controlling. It was either their way or no way. I finally wised up one day and realized that what the problem was and eliminated it. I haven't looked back since!
I know this is not an option for you and wish you alot of luck in working it out.
post #20 of 25
I agree with the others who said this is the beginning of a control issue that will get worse with time if you don't seek counseling. When you eventually have children, these control issues could start involving them and affecting their mental health and self esteem. In addition to the control issue, I was just wondering if your husband might be a perfectionist who also sets high standards for others???
post #21 of 25
Given the personal grooming habits, I'm leaning toward OCD. Or at least something toward that end of the spectrum of behavior.
post #22 of 25
SOOOOOOOOOOOO how did it go last night????? I was thinking about you and crossed my fingers.
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well we've talked and I think he is finally starting to understand. I told him how this whole situation made me feel and how it wasn't fair for him to not compromise on anything with the animals. He didn't say much but he did say it was fine with him that I want to have the cats out more often. So here is what's going to happen.

In the mornings, once the dogs are put in their kennel as usual, instead of me getting ready in my bedroom and our bathroom I'm going to get ready in the spare bathroom and the cats will be let out to be with me in there while I shower and get ready. They always loved doing this with me and it was a morning ritual before we moved into the house. I'm really looking forward to this, I've been missing getting to do this with them.

Hubby gets home from work while I'm getting ready in the morning so when I go off and he gets goes to bed the cats will go back in the room. Once he is up and ready around 3:00 he will put the kitties out on the patio and the dogs will be inside with him. I get home around 6:15 and we will eat dinner and spend time with the dogs and then we will put the dogs on the patio or in their kennel and bring the cats inside and WE will play and spend some time with them. Then we will let the dogs back in/out for a while and let the cats do as they please (which means they will probably retreat to the room but we are going to get a cat tree and put it in the living room so they can go to the tree instead of the room). The cats are getting better with the dogs, it's just been a very slow process. Toonces has always been okay with them. Buttons used to hide from them like Patches does but now Buttons will actually come about and let them come near her, but she let's them know when she's had enough!

I am also going to do some re-decorating in the pet room to make it more cat friendly for when they are in the room.

Well, what do ya think? I think it's a positive step in the right direction but I'm not ruling out counceling. I casually mentioned it to him, he wasn't thrilled about counceling but he didn't reject it either. I'm going to go ahead and start for myself because of my depression (it doesn't just stem from this whole situation, it involves a lot of personal issues I am battling in myself that have nothing to do with him). I think once I start going and talking with someone they can give me tips on how I can get him to come in. My husband is a very personal person and has trouble talking to anybody about anything private (even me) so it's going to take babysteps to get him to warm up to the idea. I know he will since he didn't flat out reject the idea when I suggested it but I could see his reserve.

Well I gotta get caught up on all these other threads. Thank you guys so much for your support, it really means a lot to me.
post #24 of 25
That sure sounds like a good start.

I didn't realize you were working different shifts. That can be really hard with no down time together.

Good for you for getting counselling for yourself. Even if he doesn't go in, sometimes it's good to be able to talk about that stuff without having to worry about what someone else thinks. I go to therapy off and on to deal with hubby's depression, because I have issues with it that I can't discuss with him - either it makes things worse for him or he doesn't understand my point of view. But if I see someone, I feel heard and I get to blow off steam so the rest of my life goes more smoothly. And the once or twice hubby came with me ("It would be really beneficial for me if you could come to this session, honey"), he also got a lot out of it. Though if you asked him, he'd say it was a complete waste of time.

Good for you for making some changes that will make you happier. And good for you for not leting yourself become a door mat.
post #25 of 25
It sounds like he is making an effort to compromise, so that is really good news! I hope it works out for you!
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