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Need advice--Neat freak bf & very sheddy fat cat

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks in advance for the help.

I have a bf who's a great guy, and we've been going pretty strong for half a year or so. No problems with anything, and we see a lot of each other, despite busy schedules on both ends.

The one thing we really have friction over is that he is really a pretty bad neat freak. He has to wear certain clothes out of the house, certain clothes when he lounges around the house (like on the sofa), & a different set to bed. Otherwise, he's not as neurotic or OCD as I may be making him out to be, and is a great guy. But he never grew up with animals. You can tell it bothers him to see me pick up my cat and then cuddle her, just because of the cat hair & the fact that she may have been in the litterbox several hours ago. I have 2 cats and always have been a real animal person; I wouldn't want to give them up. I started locking them out of the bedroom just to at least have some control over the hair issue; plus I don't really like having them track litter in our sleeping area either, but I do miss cuddling with the big furballs at night.

So the issue is not so much with the younger cat, who is pretty clean. The bigger cat is adorable, but I must admit that she is not the cleanest cat, mostly because she is overweight and can't lick herself in "all the right places". I do what I can--I adopted her fat, so I'm putting her on a diet, I wash her occasionally when she gets pretty dirty (& she tolerates that very well), and even wipe her behind with wet naps every so often (embarrassing, huh?). She is not horribly smelly, but there is a scent, and I can tell it does bother my bf if I pick her up at all, but she is a very needy lap cat and wants attention all the time. If we are on the couch, she will climb on us even if we block her, and try to go to sleep on top of us.

The other issue is that she seems to shed more than ordinary cats (certainly more than the young one). I know that sometimes this is a deficiency in their diet, and try to give her fish oil supplements for good hair & skin growth, but she still seems to shed a lot. Add to the fact that she can't properly groom herself, and it causes hair to go everywhere. I am constantly cleaning the floor & using lint rollers; I also brush her twice daily; but she still continues.

Any advice on other things I can do? I realize the problem is half my boyfriend's neurotic germaphobia, & half my cat's issues.... but I'd like to keep both around, and there are thoughts of possibly living together in the future. The bf is a good guy and doesn't hate the cats, he just isn't used to that sort of lifestyle. We get along in all other respects and have a great relationship. And the two cats are 2 of the best I've ever had, gentle demeanors & very sweet, loving animals.
post #2 of 11
Something has to give...dump the boyfriend before it's too late!
post #3 of 11
Wow, an animal lover and a neat freak/germaphobe. I didnt know that was a possible couple combination!
I would think compromise. He needs to realize that they are animals, and have to be looked after, they cant clean up after themselves. You make a special effort to keep the house clean and stuff, which it sounds like you are already doing.

I know it is usually not this easy, but if he cant accept the responsiblities that come with animals, I would say drop him.
It is going to stress you out and wear you out, trying to keep everything up to his clean standards. When anyone moves in with anyone, lifestyle changes are usually a given. You have to adapt to each other.
And you said "you wouldnt want to give them up"? I hope and pray that you would never ever give up your animals for any person.
Remember, "Love me, Love my cats/dogs/etc".

There is someone out there that will love you, not be paranoid and disguisted about the 'cat hair', and will actually help you take care of your animals. And will love them as much as you do. Maybe it is him, maybe he just needs time.
If I saw ANYONE give me an icky look, or acted bothered when I picked up one of my animals, they would probably be asked to leave and not invited back.

Have you taken her to the vet to have a checkup. Maybe she has allergies, or there is something else wrong?
Also, if you kitty has a lot of hair on her rear, you can take her to have it cut or you can do it yourself. Sara has long hair around her butt, that we have to cut. If we dont, it can make for a messy litterbox experience.

I have woken up in the morning and had dust tracks across my shirt and sheets(they were dark blue) from the cats using the litterbox then getting on the bed. No big deal. We have to vacuum almost daily. We have a lint/hair roller in almost every room of the house. There are a couple of rags on the floor where we cleaned up puke. There are stains from the animals getting into things then getting on the carpet.
Our house is not nasty, we have six animals, but we are constantly cleaning up after them.

He needs to realize it is a job all in itself. He is gunna have cat hair on his clothes, there is going to be litter on the floor, spilled water, broken lamps, turned over drinks, spilled food, hairballs, stains, strange noises in the night. He will still be alive even after all that, I promise!
Life's messy, clean it up.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks mferr, for a more thoughtful answer. I will try clipping the hair around that area. As I mentioned previously, giving up either is not an option I am looking into, but if forced to choose, I would end up putting one of the cats up for adoption. The "forced to choose" part is not his demand at all. It is partly me, too. I have had cats before and care for them a great deal, but never had 2 at the same time. I like the idea of them in our sleeping area less and less for my own reasons, especially since this is the first home I've owned, and I care more about how I keep it.

And yes, I do realize that whole "men may come and go, but animals will always love you unconditionally" sort of thing. But it is hard to find someone that is perfect for you in all other respects (& I consider myself pretty picky)... just this one issue comes up. I used to be the kind of person who would look a little disapprovingly at people who gave their pet up after years of loyal friendship, for a husband or child who ended up being allergic, or had some other issue. But in real life now, I do find that I love this guy and could see a life with him. He is willing to compromise (as am I) and I do think some of it is time. I would never give up the cats if he gave me some sort of ultimatum, because that would have shown me what kind of guy he was... but I think we are just both trying to work on meeting in the middle & working something out. He admits he is extreme with his neatness tendencies. I have told him that if he feels that way with a little cat hair, that having kids (which we have talked about) will be ten times worse.
post #5 of 11
I use the Zoom Groom on my long haired cat and she really likes it and it helps a lot with the cleanliness/hair issue. It's not very expensive, and I think they really like the way it feels.
post #6 of 11
I don't have any advice to add regarding the shedding... but has your boyfriend looked into getting some therapy? If he knows that his reaction to the cats is excessive but cannot help himself, maybe some therapy would help.
post #7 of 11
Well my cats were here long before the boyfriend and if he didn't like it then
post #8 of 11
Sounds like you are trying to work out a good compromise and that's wonderful. Good men are hard to find and if you love him and he loves you, I'm sure you'll find a way to make your situation work, especially since he already admits he is a bit compulsive.

Bijou loves to be vacuumed (central vac which isn't as loud as a normal carpet vacuum).

Have you been successful in getting the kitty to reduce weight? Perhaps once he/she has lost enough weight, they will be more fastidious about their cleanliness.

You are certainly taking your relationships (with bf and kitties) seriously and I hope it all works out very well for you.
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by Yosemite
You are certainly taking your relationships (with bf and kitties) seriously and I hope it all works out very well for you.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Heh, thanks, glad you could understand. In theory, we animal loving people would love to just say "I can't understand how some people are LIKE that", but in reality, a great deal of the world is like that. It is usually not from them being bad people, but rather just not having exposure to animals and not understanding more about them. I used to have a roommate that was scared to death of all dogs, even little ones, because her sister had gotten bitten by a yorkie when she was young, and she thought their rambunctiousness was always a reflection of aggressiveness. As she got to know them better, she got over that to some degree. I think that's the case with many people. I never thought I'd end up with a non "animal person"... as I said, he's not an animal hater, but you know who is really into them and who isn't... but he has many more good qualities than bad ones, so I'm patient with him, and I hope he is likewise with me & my kitties.

I think I do make him sound worse than he is; he isn't "disgusted" by seeing me cuddle with them, just the cat hair thing puts him off. He likes playing with the younger cat and does help me take care of them if I should go away for the weekend. He has his quirks, but doesn't everyone? I don't think they are extreme enough that he has a psychiatric problem such as obsessive compulsive disorder or phobia; because ironically, I am actually a psychiatry resident; this is my profession, so I'm keen to these kinds of things. People are right that this may come to a head and become more of a serious source of friction if we move in together in the future, which is why I'm making considerations of everything now.

I myself love my animals (former vet tech), but I have to balance them with the rest of my life also. I had never planned on getting 2 cats; I put up an ad looking for an older cat to adopt, and the fat one in question stole my heart, she was just what I was looking for. But the old owner said she was leaving for overseas the next weekend, and if I didn't end up taking both, she might have to take the younger one to a shelter (which was a kill shelter, the no kill shelter in our area had no more room). And so I ended up with 2, which was a little more than I bargained for in my 1 BDRM condo. But they are here now, not really preceding my bf by much more than a month (so it's not like a "I've had them my whole life and only known the guy for a little while" kind of situation). They are spoiled to death, with an automatic Litter-Robot litterbox, full use of a protected balcony, cat towers, cat toys, cat fountains & everything they could wish for all over the place. I like their company, but there are other things I'd like in my life, like a relatively clean house & maybe a family with the right guy someday. So it's a trade-off, like everything else in life.

PS: I am just starting on the weight loss issue; I don't think she's lost much weight yet, but we'll see. I will try more wet foods & more brushing (including with the zoom groom that someone else recommended).
post #11 of 11
The zoon groom is great - just be forewarned - it gets so much hair off - that in the beginning it will seem like it is everywhere! It works that well.
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