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On Moving In With A Non-Animal Owner

Kat Milcke, RVT Jun 2, 2017 5:53:31 PM

Recently, my boyfriend and I have purchased a house together. Hurray, right?! Well, sure. I’m really excited to move in with him and finally not have to discuss if we’re going to spend the night at his place or if I’m going to stay at my apartment. I’m excited to spend all of our evenings together, cooking together, creating a home together.

A list of things I’m not excited about: sorting through my stuff, packing, physically moving all of my stuff that has accumulated in my tiny apartment (who knew you could cram this much stuff into a one bedroom?!). Mostly, though, I’m a little nervous about moving in with him because he’s never lived with cats before, and I happen to have three little monsters.


I say he’s never lived with animals, but he had some budgies when he was younger. For like a year. I’m not sure budgies count in the realm of cuddly pets, but that’s my personal opinion which is mildly (read: majorly) influenced by the fact that I’m terrified of birds. Whenever there’s a bird coming in for an emergency at my clinic, it will always find me, and it will inevitably fly at me. Not even joking, I was in the back getting a sip of water once, and a bird escaped from down the hall and flew right at my face and onto my shoulder. Shocked, terrified, and wildly uncomfortable, I made my way back to the treatment area and promptly returned the bird to the O2 cage. I’m just.. Not a fan. (though that particular bird and I did become close in the overnight shift that followed, particularly because it didn’t bite me when I had to give it injections. I count that as a win.)

But I digress, my fella has never lived with cats before. And he says he likes them, don’t get me wrong. If he didn’t we would have a major problem, given that if I could I would adopt every cat and dog that needs a home and a good snuggle. But one of the first things he told me was that the cats were not to jump on the counters, or on any surfaces that we would be eating at, nor would they be allowed to sleep in the bed with me.


The surfaces I can understand, to a degree. Though this is where the first problem starts - my cats are very much used to having the run of the house. Growing up, my cats were pretty much allowed to do whatever they wanted. Sit on the table? Sure. Jump on the counter? No problem! My dad even has a cat now, Leo (aka Leo the bugger, shithead, that cat), that actually steals food from my dad while he’s cutting up meats (or sometimes even veggies) for dinner. On numerous occasions has he burned his paw by dipping it into a pot, even despite the lid being on. It’s just how I was raised, so that’s how I raised my cats. Though, I’d like to mention that my cats are much better behaved than Leo, they only beg for food, not steal, and only one jumps onto counters. The one that does jump onto counters, Fred, will have to learn to cool it. (or do it when Alex isn’t looking..)

The sleeping in bed with us is something I’m conflicted over. Firstly because I realize that we only have a queen size bed, and I’m not the smallest (I’m in shape - round is a shape!), and Alex is not the shortest person. So three cats on the bed is going to make it more cramped than usual. But I adore sleeping with my cats. There’s nothing that can cure my insomnia like a purring, happy, warm ball of fur that’s sleeping next to me or on my chest. Numerous times when I have woken up from a bad dream, my cats have been there to comfort me, lay on me, cuddle me, and lull me back to sleep. Luckily he’s conceded that we can have a conversation about this further. The plan, however, if he says no to the cats sleeping in the bed is to ‘forget to close the door’. That’ll work, too.


He’s worried about the shedding. Everytime I come to his place I’ve had cat hair on my clothes. It’s just become part of my accessories. No outfit is complete without a little bit of cat hair, right? It wouldn’t be so bad, except that I have black and white cats and an orange tabby, so no color I wear can hide the fuzz. Sure, I can brush them. I’ll likely have to get a furminator of sorts (If anyone has any recommendations for brushes, please send em on over!). But even with brushing, and despite being short hairs, I don’t think I can ensure that they just don’t shed at all. The couch likely won’t be safe from hairs, because one of my cats really enjoys napping on couches. Neither will our bed (you know, when I ‘forget the door open’). But hopefully regular brushing and lint rollers will help the cause.

Lastly, I’m most worried about the fact that he doesn’t know how to love cats. Cats are aloof creatures that have staff, not friends. They want you to pet them on our own terms, and only for a certain amount of time. A second too long and it’s bite city. When they show him their belly, he falls for it every time and inevitably gets smacked. He’s in love with my big girl, Bertha. She’s a rather shy cat, wants a lot of love and affection but only when she feels she knows you enough and she’s ready. It took her two years to comfortably sit in my lap. And all Alex wants to do is love her. So, naturally, every time she’s near him he runs over to her and gives her a bear hug, which of course sends her running. It always breaks my heart a little bit because I know how badly he wants to cuddle her, and I know how badly she just wants to be loved gently!


But alas, it is happening. I’m going to transfer the cats to our house this weekend, and hope that everyone gets along. Which I’m absolutely convinced they will.. I hope. I’ll keep you posted!


All this goes to say that if you have any resources, suggestions, or anecdotes on how to introduce a human not used to cats to cats that aren’t used to humans that don’t understand them, please let me know! Feel free to email me at or leave a comment below!

Extra bonus cat picture: 



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