I love cats. I am an unashamed cat lady. However, my partner has not always been on board, and owning cats is a joint project by necessity.
If you’re like me, you’ve always been totally convinced that only a cat (or better yet, several cats) would make your life complete. However, when I was persuading my other half to consider getting a cat, he was not 100% on board. He’d always been more of a dog person.
Notice I used the past tense there.
I was a determined future cat mom, though, and I knew what I had to do:
- Find out what specifically he objected to about cats
- Figure out why his objections didn’t apply to cats
- Pick out the cats
- Make him fall in love with our future cats
Step 1: the objections.
There were a heck of a lot of objections.
“Cats are too small to cuddle. Cats aren’t loyal like dogs. Cats aren’t as affectionate as dogs. Cats don’t like to go for walks.” — My partner, two years ago.
Basically, it sounded like what he wanted was a dog and not a cat. Not rocket science, so far. It seemed like trying to persuade him otherwise might be a waste of time.
So I knew I had two ways to go about this. I could convince him that cats had their own set of unique charms (for example, how many times has a dog been able to sit in your lap purring? Not many).
I could find a cat that was like a dog. I put on my research hat and started to dig.
Step 2: the exceptions.
For several reasons, the time wasn’t right for us to adopt from a shelter (mostly because shelters insisted on indoor/outdoor access, and I didn’t feel comfortable potentially letting cats out close to a busy road). So instead, I looked at breeds.
Time and time again, one breed stood out to me.
This type of cat was big (averaging 15–25 lbs).
This type of cat was loyal — forming strong bonds with one or two people, choosing to spend lots of time with (or on top of) that person, waiting by the door for them to come home, and jumping on them at random.
This type of cat was affectionate: a big fan of cuddles, belly rubs, pets, scratches. This cat responded well to verbal praise.
This type of cat loved being taken for walks.
As a bonus, it was claimed they even loved water, as an extra dog-feature.
It seemed to good to be true, but everything I read about them said the same thing.
Known as the gentle giant or the dog of the cat world, this breed was the Maine Coon.
Step 3: the contenders.
We live in northern England, in a town called York. I didn’t expect to find many Maine Coon breeders around — but I was in luck. Because of how popular it was, there were actually six different breeders within driving range.
I narrowed down the list and eventually chose a couple who’d just had kittens. They seemed incredibly friendly on the phone, and she was happy to let us visit when the kittens were six weeks old.
Six weeks old!
They were only two weeks old now.
I had a deadline: four weeks to convince the love of my life that we needed cats.
Step 4. Make him fall in love with our (future) cats.
I started small. Started talking about how nice it would be to have some company around the house when one of us was away. Started sending him pictures and videos of cute cat stories. Asked Carol (our to-be cat supplier) to send me some kitten pictures in advance.
Then I (casually) mentioned I’d heard of a cat breed the other day.
As if I hadn’t spent all my free time looking at this stuff. I’m cunning.
Maine Coons, they were called. Huge cats. Fluffy as could be. Loving and clever pets.
He pretended not to be interested, but I could tell he was keen by the way he craned his neck to look at the cat pictures on my laptop.
I sprinkled in some purloined kitten pictures into the mix of the cat pics I was sending him. I showed him how happy other couples were who had cats. I played video clips of Maine coons playing fetch, of chirping at their owners, at doing great big belly rolls.
Slowly, he started to talk about how cute they were. He began to think of cat names, in the event that we ever got a cat. And finally, he agreed — cats would make our life better. And you know what, some of those Maine Coons would be just perfect for us.
I dropped the bomb: I’d been speaking to a breeder and she had kittens and they were ready to go visit right now! Perfect timing.
Long story short, meet Astrid and Chumbo:
And we lived happily ever after.
The takeaway, if you’re looking to convince your significant other to look at getting pets is to listen to their reasoning. Hear their concerns, speak to them about options, and make sure you’re not just steamrollering them on the way to pet ownership. With cats, it was important that we both be on board to become cat parents, and I knew I needed to find the right solution for both of us, not just me.
Now, he’s a happy cat dad who can’t imagine there was ever a time he was skeptical. Our cats love him and love spending time with us. For anyone out there who’s reading this, there’s always hope — you just need to find the right answer/cat.