How A New Pet Affects Your Relationship; Next Level Adulting.

How A New Pet Affects Your Relationship; Next Level Adulting.

Welcome to adulting stage 2. So you have a significant other and want to take your life together to that next level ehh? After seconds of arduous debating, you decide it’s time to start looking for a pet. A few hours later you come home with your first cat/dog/child. Wow, that was fast! No really; that is usually how it happens. In the case of my fiance and I, we adopted a kitten. We were both completely ready to have a cute little buddy waiting for us to come home every day, but what were not fully prepared for were all of the responsibilities. Oh right, time to adult. We are kind of in charge of another life now, and raising a mini-furry-child is not without its hardships.

Who’s going to clean up that vomit?

Look, no one wants to clean up disgusting messes but, if you are in charge of another living thing you’ll have to get used to sorting out who’s going to clean up some occasional vomit. You may be fine with sleeping on the couch, but let me advise that saying “finder’s keeper’s” is not an acceptable response when your wife tells you she found a cat-cident (yes I just combine cat and accident. Yes you may make this word part of your vernacular). There are loads of messy chores that will simply need to get done as well. Many of them not things you can schedule, like these kind of cat-cidents. Dealing with them in a positive manner with your partner is paramount.

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My fiance and I have found it best to simply take care of the issue immediately, a-la out of sight, out of mind. If we’re both home, she’ll get the disinfectant, gloves and any other tools out and I’ll handle the ‘dirty work’. If you are grossed out by these things, allow me to introduce a lovely book to you, “Everybody Poops”. Moving on.

Relax, you can plan for this!

There are plenty of responsibilities you will be able to plan around. We’ve found that planning is key to avoiding arguments! Our bengal kitten, just like whichever pet you decide on, will need to eat, eventually, I think. So, who’s going to feed him? My fiance and I have worked out a schedule mostly based on the times we arrive home from work. We decided from day one that we do not want our cat waking us up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning for his meal. So, instead of feeding him before we go to work, we feed him as soon as we get home. If one of us is working late, the other just makes sure Monkey (yes, that is the cat’s name) has his meal. We use a bit of a mix of “free feed” and “scheduled feeding” technics for our cat because that is what fits our lifestyle. Monkey usually has a bit of dry food left out for him to snack on, and only receives his prefered wet food at the feeding time. Pro tip, before giving your cat his/her meal, have him/her respond to some type of command such as “sit” or “lay down.”

For some of our other routine tasks such as cleaning the cat box or lint rolling the couches for fur clean up, we resort to the trusty ol’ calendar. These are essentially weekly tasks so it’s pretty easy to alternate. If you are of the twenty first century you can easily setup google weekly reminders! Now your phone can bing at you until you’ve completed your task, saving you the hassle of having to point to a paper calendar and overly excitedly proclaiming ‘your turn!’ (disclaimer, this may or may not get you punched/slapped/violently tickled by your spouse).

It’s all worth it.

My fiance and I have found that the good times are that much better with our Monkey around. He’s always there for us! If my spouse and I have a fight, Monkey is right there to meow at us and tell us get over it and play with him instead of waste time being upset. He’s the happy little guy eagerly waiting for us at the door, wagging his tail and excitedly rolling around as soon as we walk in. He makes each day just a little bit brighter for us. The extra chores and added adulting are far beyond worth it to have him in our lives, and there is no doubt your experience will be similar!

One Comment

  1. Personally I’ve found that the chores and maintenance are not problems at all. What IS a problem is making sure both people understand what having a cat means, and that if you have a cat, there are certain concessions you have to make.

    For example, your SO needs to understand you can’t tell your cat not to go on the coffee table, AND the couch, AND the big TV stand in the corner, AND the end table, AND the window sill…you need to give your cat an “up place” to hang out, otherwise there will be behavioral problems. If that clashes with your interior decorating plans, well…then you shouldn’t have adopted a cat. You’re responsible.

    Also, having a cat means you’re gonna have to move certain plants, or put them in a different room. Having a cat means you have to accept your windows are going to have little paw marks on them, and not hold it against your cat that you have to clean your windows more often. Having a cat means there’s going to be hair, even if you have a short-haired cat, and even if you brush him or her daily. Adopting a kitten means your new little boy or girl is going to want to be in the bedroom with you at night — and if you adopt a kitten, you are adopting a BABY who misses his mom and should not be locked out. There’s a reason why he’s crying on the other side of the door.

    Having a cat means you’re adopting a *sentient* *individual* and the phrase “it’s just a cat” does not exist for you. Having a cat means you’ve taken on the responsibility of parenting an animal with emotional intelligence on par with a 4-year-old, and that no, she doesn’t “take care of herself,” and yes, she needs regular play time, attention and love.

    I think these things apply universally for couples who are looking to adopt a cat, and especially for couples moving in together when one of them has a cat. To repurpose that Spice Girls song: “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my cat…I know it won’t be easy, he’s a little brat! If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give…kitty isn’t easy, but that’s the way it is!”

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