Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cat-hater

A while ago, I started dipping my toe in the online dating waters again. I wasn't very serious about it, but I did have one date last month and another last night. And, actually, another one tonight. Three dates, three guys. The first two, I’ll never see again. As for tonight, who knows?

I don’t write to guys very often (lazy), but yesterday, I saw one who inspired me. We had a lot in common, he was nice looking and it seemed like a no-brainer. I wrote him a quick note and later that same night, I got this response:

Jamy,

Thank you for your message and compliments about my profile; yours is pretty interesting, too.

This probably sounds a little odd, but it's also a lot honest: I strongly dislike cats and don't date women who own cats. I've tried it a few times in the past, and it became an issue sooner or later. I usually avoid even meeting women with cats, because it seems best to avoid getting attached, etc.

You seem nice and sweet, so I didn't want to leave you hanging with no reply.

Good luck to you...

-Jim

I read it quickly and thought he must be allergic to cats. Then I took a second look. I realized why it bothered me: he wasn't allergic, rather, the very presence of a cat was a deal breaker. I found this so odd that I wrote back:

Jim,

Thanks for responding. I have to ask--why is it you dislike cats so intensely? Are you allergic? Did a cat do you wrong? Do you have male friends with cats? Or is it a more fatal woman+cat combo that is the kiss of death?

~jamy

I mentioned this to a friend at work this morning and she was highly amused. She said, “You’re going to hear from him. He has to answer those questions.” I didn’t think I’d hear from him, but sure enough, she was right:

Jamy,

About cats...I've never liked them. I'm not allergic, and I've never had a traumatic incident with them. I grew up in a very pro-dog family, so dogs became 'normal' and 'right' for me. Even now, I find cats to be a little aloof and weird--and not always open to listening if you try to shoo them away, etc.

I think I have 1 or 2 male friends who like/own cats, but most are pet-less.

I love women with dogs, without dogs, and without cats...Just not with cats, because I don't like cats--one of the reasons I have 'Dislikes Cats' under Pets on my profile. In fact, the first two things I check about women on here are their Smoking and Pets "details".

Pets are just one of those things that influence our choices in the dating world, I guess.

Good luck to you...

-Jim

Ok. REALLY? This is what he thinks? That the kinds of pets one has influences your decisions about who to date? I mean, a severe cat allergy and a person committed always to having cats, that’s a problem. Someone with a fear of a dogs because they were attacked as a child probably shouldn’t hook up with a dog breeder. But, c’mon. He didn't care if I liked dogs, if I were a big time cat lover, or if I was always going to have a cat, all of which would seem to mediate the fact that a cat lives with me.

It’s very clear to me that I don’t want to go out with this guy. He is NUTS. We may not know why I’m single, but it’s pretty clear why he is.

(As an aside, Curt (last bf) was moderately allergic to cats, but he liked my cat, never had a problem coming over and never complained—even when I could tell that he was suffering. Shoot, after we broke up he said he missed Tabitha (the cat) before he said he missed me! Anyway.)

I did write to the old cat-hater again, but this time I don’t expect a response. I just couldn’t resist.

Jim--

Ok, I'm sorry to beat this into the ground, but let me tell you about my history with pets. When I was growing up, we always had dogs. The dogs always ended up being mine--I did the walking, playing, etc. I didn't have pets after I moved away from home, for obvious reasons. I didn't get a dog because I'm not home enough and I live in the city, no yard, etc. I have a cat not out of love of cats but because this cat was going to the pound unless someone took her in, so I volunteered. Someday, I'd like to have a dog.

While I don't think I'd get another cat, I do love my cat and of course, she has standing.

~jamy
Thus ends the tale of the man who hates cats enough to use them as a dating screening mechanism.

Grateful for: not being completely insane.

11 comments:

  1. That guy might simply be considering his online dates as an eventual path to marriage and there is absolutely no reason for anyone to take his dislike of cats personally. He just doesn't want to eventually be stuck living with a cat. That's it. He'd rather meet and fall in love with someone who isn't going to make him have a cat. I don't think there is anything unreasonable about his attitude and he was thoughtful and considerate enough to explain to you his feelings on the subject, seemingly with the hope that you would not take it personally.

    I'm not really a cat person, although I've always sort of liked other people's cats. I never much enjoyed living in houses where there were cats though. If my husband had said to me "Let's get married and we WILL have cats whether you like it or not because it's unreasonable for you to not like them" I probably would have thought more than twice about it. But he didn't say that, and before I knew it, we had a cat. We've had four cats during the past twenty years and I've loved them all. Did I get converted? I'm not sure I did.

    Here's what I don't like about cats:
    Cat hair all over your clothes.
    A kitchen that reeks of smelly canned cat food.
    They meow at all hours when they want something.
    Disgusting litter box smell.
    Litter tracked all over the place.
    The vile smell of fresh cat shit.
    Litterbox dust on your clothes.
    Unknown potential amounts of cat excrement everywhere the cat walks after using the litterbox.
    Interrupted sleep due to cat walking across and/or grooming in the middle of the night.
    Cat hair/cat butt hair near your mouth and nose while you are trying to sleep.
    Reduced sexual activity due to cat sleeping between your heads and the cat lover not wanting to disturb the cat's comfort.
    Reduced sexual activity due to cat tolerator being grossed out by having to sleep with a cat because it's very mean to not let the cat sleep with you.

    In spite of the above list, I really did love and still miss all of my cats. They are truly irreplaceable - unless my husband wants a divorce that is! I'm kidding, but I totally get where that guy is coming from. It was really nice of him to take the time to describe his lifestyle choice to you. He probably realizes how difficult it is for a true cat lover to understand his preferences.

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  2. Cyndy--my point is that he didn't bother to find out if I have a life long commitment to owning a cat (I don't). No, he just made his decision about ME based on a few other women he dated who had cats. That seems like a crazy way to decide who to date. Not liking cats is perfectly reasonable. Rejecting ME because YOU don't like cats is absurd. (And most of the problems you have with cats are non-issues with my cat.)

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  3. That is absolutely hilarious! My husband loves cats and dogs (and horses, rabbits, birds, squirrels, etc.) but I'm allergic to both. His dog died while we were friends but before we were dating, and his ex-wife got custody of their cats, so I never met them. He would love so much to have a cat now, but I try to gently remind him that if he'd prefer a cat to a wife, he's free to file for divorce. My allergy is also somewhat of a convenient excuse, since I think I'm also allergic to responsibility for another living creature, and I hate the smell of cats, cat food, cat litter, and the appearance of cat hair on my clothing. So he makes do with getting his pet fix anytime we're visiting friends with pets, and he even tends to pet animals he comes across on a daily basis being walked. I worry one day he'll get bit, but I actually love that sweet loving part of his personality that seems to apply to all creatures, including those that leave me gasping for air within a day if I'm very medicated, or within a few hours if I'm not medicated. But if I die before him, my bro already has orders to give him a cat immediately after my funeral (that's assuming he hasn't acquired one already during the funeral-planning process!). Just consider yourself lucky for not having wasted time on this one before you discovered how neurotic he is!

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  4. I'm going to agree with Cyndy here. His original email was kind of random, but I thought it was very nice that he followed up. Sure, he could be discounting the love of his life based on a cat, but that's up to him to work out. I just don't understand why you needed to respond to his second message. Why the need to explain yourself all of the time? You don't know each other, it's not as though you went out and liked him and then he told you this, and really, what did you prove other than the fact that you are willing to engage a complete stranger over a cat. He may find that absurd...

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  5. Through some very unfortunate circumstances, my last boyfriend ended up having to move back in with his parents for a bit.

    They had 5 dogs that I got to see, but I suspect that there were more as I swore I could hear them behind every door.

    Two of these dogs were giant-elephant variety dogs. Now, I absolutely hate dogs and I'm terrified of big ones. Going to his house always meant some awkward interaction with the dogs and I couldn't stand it.

    Now, I wouldn't break up with him over it (although, we have broken up now...) if I had a choice before hand? Yep. I'd avoid guys living with dogs. I just couldn't be comfortable in the house.

    To each his own, I suppose...

    On another note, I very much enjoyed reading through your blog. :)

    Lorraine.

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  6. Anon10:29--Cat food/litter really doesn't need to smell. If you scoop the litter box every day, it doesn't smell. Dry food is inoffensive. Cat hair, though, is unavoidable. ;)

    Anon10:31--it's my life, and I get to explain myself. I didn't expect him to respond to my last message and he hasn't. I feel fine.

    Lorraine: Fear of dogs/cats makes a lot of sense to me and I can understand why one would avoid the animals in that case. Thanks for reading!

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  7. If you're one of a few options he has and he's deciding not communicate because of the cat thing, then fine - you're right. But if he's got 10 or 15 options (and he isn't trying to go out with all of them in a really busy weekend) he's got to use some method or whittling them down. Maybe 1 or 2 he really likes and is going to communicate with regardless of whether they have cats. Maybe another 5 or 7 he's moderately interested in, can't really see a big difference between in deciding who to exchange email with, and decides he'll skip the ones that have cats. What, you'd prefer he use hair color? Or that he carefully weight the details of your profile vs the other 4 or 6 candidates and decide you are just enough more interesting than the others that he should pick you? Funny that you said "We may not know why I am single but its pretty clear why he is" when it's exactly the opposite. He's probably got a bunch of options, realizes the randomness already built in to trying to meet someone on the internet, and isn't fixating on any particular person, while you seem to be getting worked up over something that is in fact fairly minor and not unreasonable when taken in context. I think most people who read the email exchange you reproduced would conclude you are the nuttier one and the bigger 'bad date' risk.

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  8. Anon5:52--Yowsa. You sure told me! I am INDEED completely undateable and nuts. THANK THE LORD you do not have to date me! How did you know that the cat-hater had so many dating options? That makes perfect sense, even though you haven't seen his profile (or mine!). It's true, though, now that he has rejected me, I'm going to give up on dating and reconcile myself to being a sad, lonely, cat-lady.

    /sarcasm off

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  9. I must admit when I met my future husband (we met online), I neglected to tell him I had a cat. Honestly, I worried he would look at me as one of those women with cats who can't get a date. I was stupid to think that way. I, too, saved my cat which was a stray though I love cats. I had dogs growing up but for whatever reason, every home I've gone to with dogs tends to smell too doggy! Plus cats are independent (even though mine is pretty needy) and don't need to be walked when it's cold, rainy or snowing. In any case, my husband happened to be allergic to lots of animals was not allergic to my cat! Yup, it was definitely a match between us. He said it was the only cat he's encountered which hasn't made him sneeze, cough, etc like other dogs and cats. I think that guy was a lunatic regarding his explanation of why he doesn't date women with cats. It will be a very sad day for him indeed when the one woman he finds he want to have a relationship with owns not one but two cats! ;)

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  10. I broke up with my gf after living in a house with her and a cat for 11 months, and i can say i pretty much did everything you could do to avoid being annoyed of the cat, even made holes in doors to keep them closed and the cat passes thru, didnt help and i couldnt take it, in the end it was the cat or me, she chose the cat...

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  11. Your vitriolic vilification amuses me. Truly a double standard. He stated twice that he "strongly disliked" cats, and yet you chose to call him a "cat hater" repeatedly in bitterness and spite without warrant. You mere blogging about it elevates it to a public level outside of sharing it with your friends, and yet you revel in your vitriolic vilification of him. Tisk, tisk! Yes, I just tisked you thrice, and threw in a third for good measure. Did you catch it?

    Even your friend warned you of the implied ramifications in your pursuing the matter further, and the irony lies therein. He was genuine and sincere in his first email, and even humored you with a reply after clearly stating he wasn't interested. Which was very gentlemanly given the fact that most people don't show the same respect and courtesy to tell someone they're not interested after being contacted via online dating.

    Despite how absurd you find his reasoning to be; it was not nearly as trite, banal, and malicious as your wanton need to chastise him for the choices he makes when dating women on this blog.

    I could challenge and debate you further, but alas it's one side and I don't feel like being contentious anymore.

    -Some guy in CST

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