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What to Do When Cats Cause Relationship Problems: Best Tips & Tricks

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

couple sitting on sofa wit cat

What to Do When Cats Cause Relationship Problems: Best Tips & Tricks

Animals can be such a rewarding component of your life. Their personalities, loving nature, and ability to bond will make you feel like your house is completely empty if you don’t have a furry friend. But what exactly happens when your kitty companion and significant other don’t get along?

Although we suggest kicking out your current significant other and keeping your cat, sometimes the solution isn’t that simple. But hopefully, you can take some tips in this article and apply it to your current situation.

cat paw divider

How Cats Can Impact Relationships

Several things can conflict with another person. After all, we can’t always expect other people to love our pets as much as we do. Cats can cause relationship problems in several different regards.

Even though this topic can be pretty extensive and certainly not a one-size-fits-all for every situation, we wanted to give some tips. Navigating these situations can be hard for anyone, especially people who really just hate cats. Is there a cure for that?

Before we get into solutions, let’s point out some problems our partners might have with our purring soulmates.

What to Do When Cats Cause Relationship Problems

1. Allergies

Allergies to cats are a real thing and are extremely common. It’s estimated that 10 to 20% of people are allergic to cats globally 1. So, if you’re a cat lover, you might have a pretty good chance of running into a partner who has trouble being around this particular species.

Understandably, your partner might not want to interact with your cat too much because it genuinely makes them miserable.

Cats have a protein in their saliva and dander that causes the allergic reaction in humans. Because your cats are such avid groomers, constantly cleaning their coats and spreading this protein, it can cause major reactions for people who are sensitive to it.

Allergies to cats can range from mild to severe. Some people simply can’t be around cats due to the misery it brings. Others can tolerate it, even though it does trigger a reaction. Still, others can have a minimal reaction, permitting you to keep up with good housekeeping.

If you and your partner aren’t yet living together, this situation might spark a little bit of anxiety about the future. If you were already living together, you might find yourself getting into frequent conflict with your partner about your cat.

cat owner sneezing
Image By: Pormezz, Shutterstock

2. Dislike

Unfortunately, many people don’t feel the same way about cats that cat lovers do. A lot of people dislike the species and prefer to live without them. If you meet someone by happenstance, and they feel this way, they might initially make an exception.

Often, when we do things out of obligation, it often turns into resentment later. So, if your partner reluctantly made an exception for your cat, there’s a very good chance that all the fights stem from the fact that they really just genuinely don’t like your cat.

This same idea can extend the other way as well. Cats can be very particular creatures and some of them can have very unusual behavioral habits. Your cat just may not like your partner for whatever reason.

3. Bad Behaviors

When we have cats, we quickly get used to their antics. Many cats have certain behavior quirks that can be difficult for some people to manage, especially if you don’t really like cats very much.

For example, some cats might bite, claw, hiss, or otherwise be difficult to be around because of mood. Often getting these cats fixed at an early age can alleviate many behavioral problems, but not all of them. If you have accepted your cat for who they are, your partner might not have shared that sentiment.

They might be very sick of your cat eliminating outside of the litter box, tearing up the carpet and other fabrics, or yelling in the middle of the night when they have to work in the morning.

cat scratching owner
Image Credit: Anna-Kraynova, Shutterstock

4. Jealousy

As affection really starts to ramp up in your relationship, the strong connection you have with your cat might become problematic for your partner. After all, if you are all snuggled up and cozy on the couch, and your cat comes to you demanding attention, it might make your partner feel second place.

However, we hope that a human being would have more emotional maturity than a cat. So, it’s really in your best interest to speak with your partner rationally about the matter.

5. Aggression

Oddly enough, some cats might be downright aggressive toward your partner. They might hiss when your partner comes near. They could try to attack them if your partner dares try to pet them.

It’s hard to tell sometimes how a cat will react to a new face—especially considering the multitude of different personalities cats can possess. If your cat is a little, well, spirited, you can see how it might be hard for your partner to cope with the backlash.

Luckily, this is very rare and something that likely would subside once the cat gets used to a new person. Your cat might be territorial, scared, and a little unpredictable, but they can come around with tender love and understanding (or maybe they won’t).

aggressive cat
Image Credit: pixbull, Shutterstock

6. Messes

Some people absolutely despise the messes animals can make. Cats are pretty clean and hygienic, but they can create quite a fiasco around the home. They can track litter, pee, or poop outside of their litter box, destroy belongings, and get all fur over fabrics. Some people simply do not like this lifestyle.

And you can’t blame some people. If you are dating someone who is a very clean and tidy person, having a cat around can be a real change of pace. This is something that can be easily managed with routine maintenance.

However, sometimes that only appeases certain folks. If your partner prefers cleanliness over kitty messes, it can be very difficult for them to compromise.


How to Manage Pet-Based Relationship Problems

So, now that we’ve gone through the nitty-gritty of potential problems related to your cat and partner, how do you manage them? We have some ideas.

Suggest a Doctor’s Visit

Many people who have pet allergies can manage them with proper treatment. While some people actually cannot be around cats because of the drastic reaction, others can handle the symptoms related to cats with simple medications—often available over the counter.

Separate When You Can

If your partner or your cat is feeling left out, make sure to distribute the attention so nobody gets jealous! If your partner wants some alone time, there’s nothing wrong with putting your cat in a separate room if they’re particularly invasive. You can find creative ways to spend time with each party instead of always blending the three of you together.

Take time for both individually. Don’t feel guilty about putting your cat aside for a little while to spend one-on-one time with your partner. This will make your partner feel wanted, needed, and feeling like all the focus is on them. It can be just what your relationship needs to feel fulfilled.

sleeping cat
Image Credit: Jim Black, Pixabay

Keep the Home Tidy

Don’t slack on cleaning! If your partner has a problem with the cleanliness of your cat, you can make it a lot less by keeping up with general housework. Make sure to vacuum daily, and don’t forget couches and other fabrics.

Also, remember to clean the litter box, or even invest in a self-cleaning mechanism. That way, it automatically scoops the poop for you, so you don’t have to worry about overpowering smells. If your cat has problems tracking, consider the litter you’re using.

Switch to a low-tracking litter that won’t wind up all over the place, including your counters. The more you keep up with general cleanliness, the happier your partner will be. After all, if they don’t notice any messes, how can they be upset?

Encourage Bonding Time (Just the Two of Them!)

Your partner and your cat need some time to hang out together. Often, part of the problem is that your partner has not developed the same relationship that you have with your cat. These things can take time. After all, your cat and your partner might equally be reluctant to let the other in.

Kitties can be quite particular about who they like and who they don’t. If they’re having a little trouble adjusting to this newcomer, they might need some one-on-one quality time with them to warm up.

Keep in mind that every cat will adjust differently. So, you know your cat better than anyone! It’s your job to come up with a way to help your partner and your cat get to know each other better. Try having your partner play with your cat, feed them, and give them treats.

calico cat having treats
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Mutual Relationship Respect

The bottom line is that your partner should be willing to work with the circumstances and respect the fact that you have a cat. Relationships are a give and take and your partner should be willing to negotiate terms that work for both of you—and your cat!

Since relationships are all about compromise, be willing to speak with your partner about ways that you can accommodate them better while keeping your cat. If your animal seems to be a dealbreaker in the relationship, maybe it’s time you give your boyfriend or girlfriend the boot.

Someone who loves someone else should be completely willing to accept that person, and the baggage that comes along with them. This is true even if they don’t share that bond or close, personal relationship with the animal in question.

If your partner is willing to make your relationship work, you can factor your cat into that equation in almost any circumstance.



So, now you can take away a few things to consider about your situation. Your cat and your significant other can get along or learn to coexist—it might just take a little mediation from you. Remember to include both—and exclude your cat sometimes if your partner wants you to themselves for an hour or two.

Remember, any partner who gives you an ultimatum between them and your cat might not be the best choice anyway. We say stick with the cat!

Featured Image Credit: VAKS Stock Agency, Shutterstock

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