About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

Problems With Pets

As you may have guessed from my comments, I don’t love my boyfriend’s dog. And, as owning two cats and no bedroom door (in my soon-to-be given up Flagstaff apartment) may suggest, I had more of my fair share of problems dating. However, pets are a very complicated issue. Here, my totally biased analysis of the pros and cons of having pets (or dating someone who does).

Pro: Pets are Good for Your Health and Character

Tons and tons of studies show that people with pets live longer and are healthier while alive. Additionally, pets improve people’s emotional states. Not to mention the fact that pet overpopulation is a huge problem in this country and I think that opening up your home to a rescue animal is a major testament to someone’s character. I’ve had pets since I was in college, and to be completely honest, I think that there’s something wrong with people who don’t like animals. I don’t trust them. I’m not saying that everyone has to have pets all the time–if someone says, “I can’t have an animal right now because _____, but as soon as that changes I plan to adopt a ______,” then I’m fine with it. But someone who doesn’t want pets at all? I think there’s something emotionally and psychologically wrong with that. I know that many people disagree, but there’s my two cents.

Con: Pets are Natural Cockblockers

As noted in Lance’s latest blog entry as well as some of the comments that follow, pets are natural cockblockers. Most pets, especially dogs, are very needy (cats are often this way, too, though not as frequently as dogs). They get separation anxiety. They need to be walked twice a day so it’s hard to do overnights. One of my cats has diabetes and has to be given an insulin shot twice a day. They sleep in the bed. They sit in your lap. They stare at you while you are having sex or making out. They whine or cry if you try to put them outside or shut them in a different room.

puppy.jpg

(How could you say no to this face?)

They are cuter than you and the other person plays with them instead of…you. They are expensive. They put a kink in travel plans. I get it, I really do.

Pro: Pets are an Awesome Screening Tool

However, someone’s willingness to put up with all the aforementioned cockblocking is a pretty good indicator of how compassionate they are and how willing they are to inconvenience themselves on behalf of another. That means that, if they decide to engage in a LTR and things go well, they are likely to be as completely devoted to you as they are to their pets. If you (and they) are interested in having children, they are likely to be fantastic parents because they’ve been practicing cleaning up the emissions from both ends of animals for year as well as engaged in potty training and rule setting. Whether someone likes your pets or is willing to eventually share that responsibility says similar things about them.

kitten-toilet.jpg

(Help! I need you to take care of me!)

When I was dating, every time a guy said “I’m allergic to cats,” I heard “I’m a selfish compassionless chode who doesn’t even have the balls to tell you that I’m selfish and compassionless.” I think most people who say they’re allergic are simply lying. However, even if you are allergic, there are tons and tons of options to alleviate allergies. I remember one guy that I dated for about two and a half months. To his credit, it was obvious that he was allergic. However, I remember he said to me, “I’m going to feel really bad when you have to get rid of your cats.” I said, “Why would I do that?” He gave the allergy claim and when I listed just a few of the things that could be done (after we got serious–who has this conversation after 2.5 months anyway?!) he said he wasn’t willing to do them and followed it up with, “I can’t see us breaking up over cats.

Oh, I could…

Con: Most People Exacerbate Their Pets’ Natural Cockblocking Abilities by being Shitty Owners

However, the flip side to the whole “pets as screening tool” thing is that if a person is a bad pet owner then it really counts against them. Many pet owners aren’t willing to create “rules, boundaries, and limitations,” as Cesar Millan from The National Geographic Channel’s The Dog Whisperer constantly reminds us. Such people are either going to let you walk all over them, or alternatively, not listen to anything you say because they are busy letting their pets walk all over them. If you suggest that the animal be put away or have negative consequences when it misbehaves, they think you’re being unreasonable and they’re being cruel. Many pet owners can’t see or don’t admit that the animal’s behavior is misbehaving, claiming that “it’s just his personality” or “isn’t it cute when she does that?” You’re cast as the bad guy for your observation, and it gets even more sensitive if the person perceives it as an implied criticism of them (which, basically, it is).

Conclusion

There’s really not much to conclude except that pet ownership is really no different from any other major issue that affects our daily lives–religious affiliation, political leanings, on and on and on. You just have to figure out where you’re going to draw that line in the sand and stick to your guns. I’m not suggesting that anyone attack a person that they don’t agree with. However, you should figure out what you and the other person can and can’t compromise on. If your bottom lines are so different that it’s always going to be an issue, then you have to respect it (rather than fight it unsuccessfully for years) and let the other person go.  What do you think?  It’s been such a sticking point for me for so many years, I’m always curious about other people’s perspectives.

  • Lilly

    Great write-up. I really like the analogies, too.

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    This is a brilliant post. I’m glad having Fluffy and Spike stick their snouts up my nuts led to this…at least it led to something (and that something certainly wasn’t me getting any nooky).

    On another note, I’m mildly allergic to cats, but I fixed that by…get ready for it…adopting a cat!! Honey, you may recall this, but after I spend about 48 hours around a new cat I get acclimated and there’s zero issues. I don’t even have to take drugs.

    The cool thing about my cat is that she’s indoor/outdoor. If I’m getting my schwerve on inside da house, I just let her out.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    One of my ex-roommies was also allergic to cats when she moved in with me, and she ended up building up a tolerance and adopting three of them. People who use it as an excuse are just wussy.

    Honey’s last blog post..Problems With Pets

  • http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk NML

    I am cracking up laughing because this post is spot on the money! We have a friend with a little dog and she is so frickin territorial of her mistress, she only has to sniff men walking by their apartment building before going berserk. She can cockblock from fifty paces!

    NML’s last blog post..Are we dating our fathers? That familiar ‘daddy feeling?

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    Nice post! Pet owners tend to be compassionate, I agree. A few points:

    1) I’m SUPER allergic to cats. I’m not a chode. (Some say I’m a good dad). It’s unfortunate all cat-hair-sneezing guys might get lumped into the choad category.

    2) Being a good pet owner can indeed lead to being a good parent, and being a parent can be an easier job. Pets keep being needy, and need you to clean up their pee and poop. Kids grow up. ‘Nuff said.

    3) Having a pet stare at me while I have sex is a good thing. It implies I’m actually getting some! (hang on, an ex-girlfriend just texted me… )

    dadshouse’s last blog post..How to Start Dating a Single Dad

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    There are some guys out there who are genuinely allergic–I did date one. However, they are a very small minority of people who claim to be allergic, and there are many, many things that can be done to alleviate allergies. My dating bitterness got the best of me in my post, I guess. Who knew it was still so close to the surface after 2 years?

    Honey’s last blog post..Problems With Pets

  • Jonsi

    As someone with horrible cat and dog allergies, this is an issue for me. It’s difficult to date. I don’t lie. I get REALLY sick. Other options? The compromise that sometimes work is I take medications — a given — but the cats and dogs have to stay out of the bedroom. That’s not a compromise most pet owners would be willing to make. I can’t SLEEP in an allergen even with medication. I’m too miserable. If it came down to cohabitating and marriage, the pets would probably need to go. I do get that sick. I fully understand pets are family, you can’t just give them away to good homes, it’s difficult, but some people really do get ill. And for those people, dating sucks ass.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Jonsi, how horrible for you, both because it makes dating hard and because pets are absolutely wonderful and it must be tough to know you are missing out on something that great. Here, some suggestions on ways to deal with pet allergies (perhaps you’ve tried most or all of these, but I had not heard of many of them when I did the research):

    1. Ban the pet from the bedroom. As you say, many pet owners may not be willing to make this sacrifice, but I was, and I bet at least some people are.
    2. Bathe the animal (professionally or at home) on a regular basis (say, every six weeks). I know a woman who bathes her cats every week.
    3. Vacuum and dust twice weekly with a high-quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
    4. Get a HEPA filter/air purifier.
    5. Install filters in your air conditioning/heating systems.
    6. Live in a home with tile and/or wood, rather than carpeting.
    7. Wet mop all linoleum and hard wood floors very regularly.
    8. Use blinds rather than curtains.
    9. Apply Allerpet, a spray available from veterinarians which can be directly applied to the pets’ fur and which neutralizes the allergen.
    10. Put your pet on Acepromazine. Acepromazine is an animal tranquilizer, available only by prescription from a veterinarian. The amount given for allergies is such a small dosage that there are no tranquilizing effects, but a chemical change does take place in the cat’s saliva (which is what people react to in cat allergies). About 75 percent of those using this formula report at least some improvement, and about half say their allergies improve dramatically.
    11. Limit the furniture the pet is allowed on.
    12. Buy bags of zeolite: Zeolite has a positive charge and a honeycomb structure, so when used in conjunction with a good HEPA air filter, it can cut down on airborne cat dander.
    13. Spray tannic acid: A 3 percent tannic acid solution sprayed on carpets, upholstery and bedding (NOT THE CAT) kills many allergens and is not toxic.

    Also, regarding treatments that you can take, pills are not your only option:

    1. Allergy medications are available as pills, nose sprays, and eye drops.
    2. Allergy shots can also be used to decrease the allergic response; they are given weekly for several months and then monthly after that. The full series of allergy shots may take 3 – 4 years to complete, but it may not take that long for you to be more comfortable. Cat-related allergies are particularly responsive to allergy shots.

    Honey’s last blog post..Problems With Pets

  • http://carahurley.blogspot.com Cara

    Great article. I have a cat and I refuse to ban him from my bed for anyone!

    As for those who have cat allergies, well my previous room mate had a bad allergy but grew tolerant to it after a year of living in the same house as my cat.

    And nowadays even people like Dadshouse who are severely allergic to cats can OWN a special type of cat.

    The Allerca GD cat was the world’s first scientifically proven hypoallergenic cat. Allerca, the American based company selectively bred these cats to not produce glycoprotein Fel D 1, the allergen known to cause suffering to humans.

    Several years on, Allerca has sold these cats into many households around the US, and in May 2007 shipped the first Allerca GD kitten internationally. Despite the $9’950 price tag for UK & Ireland customers, and slightly less for US customers, the demand is so huge that Allerca have announced a two year waiting list, and will stop taking orders for one full year starting from August 31st 2007.

    Cara’s last blog post..Am I THAT bad a blogger

  • http://soundeklin.com victor marlette

    I love my cat, but here’s a big drawback you didn’t mention. Cats know computer key commands!

    Who knew?

    My cat ambled into the office one day, jumped up on the desk, and quickly and accurately hit a VERY unusual rare key command I had never even heard of, whereupon, my computer screen turned COMPLETELY SIDEWAYS. Took me about a half hour to google the issue and figure out what she had done. The strange part is, it was a 3 key operation. I could hardly hit that key command MYSELF, it was like a game of twister on the keyboard and required BOTH HANDS, and yet, she did it in a matter of seconds with a yawn and a grin. Grrr.

  • sherri

    Hi…
    I know this was years ago, but if you’re interested in telling you story on a nationally syndicated tv show..please contact me.
    sherri.sneed@therickilakeshow.com

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