“I like you. But if the cats don’t approve or object in any way, I’m afraid that’s the end of things.”
Yes, I used those exact words before my now-husband came over to meet the minions for the first time. The phrase – or one like it – appeared in conversations with other dates, most of who never made it to the critical introduction. (And, frankly, anyone weirded out by the possibility of having judgment rendered by four felines wouldn’t have lasted long in my company, so I don’t view them as losses) I’m sure plenty of other people with furkids do the same. The cats and dogs in our lives mean the world to us – usually more than some human interloper.
And we like to think the feelings get reciprocated. So it’s a shocker when that intruder comes in and takes over.
My Husband and the Cats: Day 1
I thought I was in the clear. My husband wasn’t anti-pet or anything (he would have failed date #1). But he’d established himself as a dog person. Oh, sure, greyhounds are basically cats in dog form – Juniper’s proof of that – but HE didn’t recognize that fact. His experience with felines was minimal. And while he indulged my warning, I could see that he was confident he could wiggle around the “cat detection system.”
(And, I won’t lie: Anyone willing to feed me AND clean the mess afterward earned bonus points)
I don’t think either of us expected the cats to fall head-over-heels for him. Once they passed whiskers over him to check for any other pet smells (had to make sure he didn’t already belong to another cat or dog), they piled onto his lap and demanded attention.
Took a whopping FIVE MINUTES!
All I could do was stare at the little traitors. Here I was, counting on them to give me SOME idea of what to do about this guy, and they up and LOVED him! What kind of help was that?
(Okay, so maybe it was a sign. I just wasn’t prepared for the sign)
Although my husband made one slip-up with Firefly that night. See, my little tabby gentleman – apple of my eye – has been Mommy’s Boy since the day he was born under my bed. His place has always been snuggled at my side. And my husband (foolishly) decided to usurp that spot.
Ironic? You bet. Because since the relationship’s continued? That fuzzy traitor has migrated to DADDY’s side.
Turning a Dog Person into a Cat Person
Well, not much I could do after that. The cats had spoken. And that removed the last big obstacle I had ready for the guy. But integrating a dog person into a cat-run household isn’t a picnic. Anyone who’s never shared – well, EVERYTHING with felines before is bound to get frustrated those first few days. Weeks.
Explaining (repeatedly) that cats go EVERYWHERE takes patience. So do the lectures on closed doors (they don’t work), cat hair (learn to love it), and personal space (doesn’t exist).
Tonks was in the worst of her kitten antics, and she’d decided the cords of his workstation were her new playground. I’d come home to lengthy complaints (and an “innocent” fuzzy face).
It took patience – on everyone’s part – to figure out how to integrate everyone into a cohesive unit.
And three years later? We’re still getting through some of the kinks.
Firefly likes to sit on my husband’s lap (or keyboard) while he’s working. My desk is large enough to accommodate a cat and typing, but my husband? Not so much. And he’s working on adapting his typing position to allow the stripey feline’s assistance.
Then there’s Tonks and her newfound love for shoulders. She can jump straight to my husband’s shoulder from the floor (or, of course, a chair). Then she’ll drape herself there. No biggie – when her claws are trimmed. Cute, definitely.
If he’s ready for her to do it.
Love Your Husband, Love Your Cats
But the takeaway? It HAS been three years. I didn’t chase away that cute guy who took me to Barnes & Noble for our first date. (Seriously, my fellow book nerds – these people exist!) Even if he gave me a strange look when I told him my cats would need to approve of him if our relationship had any hope of continuing.
Maybe he WAS humoring me that first visit. But he’s come to love the trio as much as I do. And there’s no question they adore him. Maybe a touch more than they love ME!
It’s one of those serendipitous stories you hear but don’t believe. Honestly, I’d dismiss it if someone mentioned it in my hearing. It comes off as too perfect.
But I get to look around and witness the truth each day.
So if you have furkids that mean the world to YOU, don’t compromise. The sense they have about someone matters. And when they tell you, “Yup, this is a good human,” you need to listen.
Even if it means they’ll turn around and decide they love that future husband (or wife) more than you.