Pet Parenting
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Surprising Ways My Cats Are Adjusting to My New Boyfriend

I assumed Phoebe would be too friendly while Cosmo would be a bit jealous. I was wrong.

Angie Bailey  |  Sep 21st 2016


Earlier this year I wrote about my and my cat Cosmo’s adjustment to living in our new apartment after my husband and I separated. You’ll be glad to know he’s now a full-fledged city cat, comfortable with all the new sounds that come along with living in an urban neighborhood apartment building. Phoebe joined us in June, and she adjusted almost immediately. This wasn’t a surprise because she’s queen of the castle everywhere she goes … she just acquired a new castle.

A few months ago, a new change rolled around for my cats and me, and his name is Chris. That’s right — Angie got a new boyfriend, and he spent a fair amount of time in our apartment.

The new couple! It's OK -- I know we're ridiculously cute.

The new couple! It’s okay — I know we’re ridiculously cute.

Being in a new relationship was huge for me because I was married for 25 years. I’d never even dated as an adult, much less navigated the choppy waters of online dating sites. Chris and I connected right away and have since enjoyed lots of laughter, great conversation, and fun outings.

When I first began posting pics of us on Facebook, the main questions my friends asked were:

“But is he a cat person?”

“What do your cats think?”

“Does Cosmo like him?”

They were clear that if he didn’t pass the cat test, he should be tossed out on his ear because that’d be a major deal-breaker. I didn’t argue. I knew it was true.

The good news? He is indeed a cat person who has even lived with felines. He passed the first qualifying round — the next step was finding out whether he’d like my cats, and — most importantly — would Cosmo and Phoebe give their paw-print stamps of approval?

chris-cosmo-snuggle-over

Cosmo: “Snuggle time is over.”

Chris is gentle and has a compassionate vibe, so I predicated that both cats would like him, but Cosmo would be more cautious because I’m his favorite person in the whole world. Those of you who regularly read my posts here and elsewhere know Cosmo and I have an incredibly tight bond. He’s basically my boyfriend, and I was a little worried he wouldn’t take too kindly to the new man on the premises.

chris-cosmo-couch

Cosmo turns the corner and goes one-on-one with the boyfriend snuggle.

When Chris started coming over, he allowed the cats to approach him instead of making the first move. Smart guy. He wasn’t pushy, and I was eager to observe my cats’ reactions. Oddly enough, Cosmo was first to attempt a connection. It started with my kitty wedging his way between us whenever we were close together. It didn’t matter how much room was available — he made room. And then he purred. I’m not sure whether he was making sure Chris knew I was his, or he simply wanted to share a snuggle. Whatever the case, I thought the purring was a positive sign. Soon, Cosmo felt comfortable sharing up-close-and-personal space with Chris alone.

chris-cosmo-phoebe

Phoebe observes from a distance.

Phoebe, on the other hand, is still trying to figure out the whole situation. She’s not acting unfriendly — she’s just not all up in his business like she sometimes is with my female friends. A few times she has taken a place in his lap and purred, but her behavior is a little more reserved than usual. Maybe she takes longer to warm up to men? I have no idea. Her best human friend is my son Ben, who recently left for college, so it’s not strictly a thing about males. But to be fair, Phoebe has been around for most of Ben’s life.

In general, I’m pretty surprised at how all this “new boyfriend in our apartment” situation has gone down with my cats. I thought for sure Cosmo would be the standoffish one, jealous and cautious about anyone who seemed especially close to me. I assumed Phoebe would be her usual loudmouth, “everybody belongs to me” self. I have to say I  feel relieved over Cosmo’s approval because he and I are especially close, and the boyfriend introduction could have gone all kinds of wrong. Because Phoebe is friendly but not overly in his face, I’d say she just needs a little more time to get to know him before she officially counts him as one of her servants.

cosmo-hands

Cheesy pic of us co-petting Cosmo. Shut up — it’s cute.

Overall, I’m pleased with my cats’ approval of the boyfriend because I adore him. And he’s glad as well because he knows who really runs the show around here. Spoiler alert: It’s not me.

Have you introduced a new boyfriend or girlfriend to your cats? What was the reaction? Tell us in the comments!