AskMe lets down an asker. June 9, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

A woman writes in to ask for help on training a cat, and is instead told to get a divorce.

I scrolled through that mess, and I still don't know how she could train a cat (though I know that two weeks is way too short a time, which I guess is useful). I do know that apparently the asker is a pet-abuser and/or has been living with a cold-hearted monster who engages in emotional abuse though. So, thanks for that. Seriously, people, we can do so much better than this.
posted by kingjoeshmoe to MetaFilter-Related at 6:36 PM (186 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

as i learned myself the hard way - if you ask a question that invites people to pull apart your home life, they will.

i mean, if she had said - i need my cat to stop crying and i do mean now - it would have been a different thread.

but - my husband is ok with killing a cat so he can catch his zzzz's - well, there's strong evidence all over metafilter as to why this might not be the best place to get sympathy for that position.
posted by nadawi at 6:40 PM on June 9, 2009


Yeah that thread is a mess. It was a weird question and it sort of got weirder as the OP gave more information. Read one way the husband is an insensitive cat killer. Read another way she's had a year to find a place for the cat and he's at the "last straw" stage. We've been pruning it as we've been seeing really crappy comments. That said, it's a pretty bizarre question which I wish had been written with more details and a little less OMG.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:41 PM on June 9, 2009


At least he didn't want to declaw the thing.

The biggest bombshell in that thread, though, is this:

grapefruitmoon: The fan never actually made her shut up, but honest to Dog, once we got the white noise machine, something about the cat changed and she hasn't been a consistent dick (in the middle of the night at least) since.

Holy shit, grapefruitmoon's cat is no longer a dick. We are through the looking glass, people.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:43 PM on June 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


Question looked odd for me due to the repeated intervention of the OP, usually a sign of shenanigans.

That said, she doused a cat in the shower and wants to put an electric shock collar on it to try and make it shut up? I've no problem with aversion to that, even if it may be ranty and over-emotional.
posted by fire&wings at 6:46 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


No longer a consistent dick.

I hope I never have to choose between an annoying cat and an inconsistent dick.
posted by qvantamon at 6:49 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dousing the cat with an electric shock collar on would save her marriage.
posted by gman at 6:51 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: No longer a consistent dick in the middle of the night.
posted by The World Famous at 6:53 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The obvious answer is to shell out $5 and get her husband a MeFi account. That way, he can stay up all night writing long rants about the way that other people told a stranger to DTMFA while she cuddles her cat. Save the shock collar for raising children.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:55 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a bizarre, Cheney-esque premise. Cat-waterboarding in the shower? Electric dog collars? "Isn't it better to torture a cat so that it may have the chance to live, rather than just kill it now?" Jesus Christ.
posted by gatorae at 6:56 PM on June 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


A woman writes in to ask for help on training a cat, and is instead told to get a divorce.

Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In theaters Christmas 2009.
posted by DU at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2009 [43 favorites]


I wonder what kind of person you must be to suggest that a marriage is expendable but a cat cannot be parted with?
posted by OmieWise at 7:00 PM on June 9, 2009 [24 favorites]


But she didn't use the collar. She was asking! Asking, as in, doesn't know the answer.

Clearly, she's apparently clueless about cat training. But to me (also clueless), it doesn't seem like a shock collar for a cat is any worse than one for a dog. A simple, "no, that is a bad idea, here's what would work instead" would be a lot more useful, wouldn't it?
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 7:00 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder what kind of person you must be to suggest that a marriage is expendable but a cat cannot be parted with?

People are frequently bigger arseholes than cats.
posted by rodgerd at 7:13 PM on June 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


People's arseholes are frequently bigger than cats.
posted by gman at 7:19 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


you can also masturbate with kittens. apparently.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:19 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


EARPLUGS ARE DANGEROUS
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:20 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait until you find out the husband is Choire Sicha.
posted by geoff. at 7:24 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


People's arseholes are frequently bigger than cats.

That missing apostrophe makes my statement incorrect. *I hope.
posted by gman at 7:26 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I wonder what kind of person you must be to suggest that a marriage is expendable but a cat cannot be parted with?

Yeah but flipped around it says "I wonder what kind of person you have to be to tell someone they have to kill their beloved housepet to stay in a relationship with you."

I'm aware that's (hopefully) not what the OPs hubby is saying, but probably someone knows people (as I have) who have creepy control issues that start leaking out in weird ways. With the lack of info and the extra OMG it was unclear what sort of situation the OP was in.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:33 PM on June 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


buried in there are a few good answers--those gently telling her to find a new home for the cat, and the white noise suggestion. too many people are hating on the husband, though. he was pretty patient ... i would have given kitty 3 months.
posted by lester at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by DU A woman writes in to ask for help on training a cat, and is instead told to get a divorce. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In theaters Christmas 2009.

Possible titles:

You've Got Male

Creepless in Seattle

When Harry Met Fluffy
posted by mattdidthat at 7:41 PM on June 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


AskMe lets down an asker.





.
posted by hermitosis at 7:43 PM on June 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Possible titles:

No Cats Aloud
posted by hermitosis at 7:44 PM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


posted by gman People's arseholes are frequently bigger than cats.

New Internet meme: Catse.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:46 PM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wonder what kind of person you must be to suggest that a marriage is expendable but a cat cannot be parted with?

It's funny how no one was saying that -- it is the manner and timing of the parting that are the issue.
posted by advil at 7:47 PM on June 9, 2009


I wonder what kind of person you must be to suggest that a marriage is expendable but a cat cannot be parted with?

If I remember correctly, in one of the first gay divorces in the US, one of the major disagreements in the divorce proceedings was over who gets the kitties.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:49 PM on June 9, 2009


People's arseholes are frequently bigger than cats.

That missing apostrophe makes my statement incorrect. *I hope.


well, i *was* wondering how you discovered that you can fit a cat inside a human arsehole.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


That post was made with 100% kitty-skin crafted OMG!
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:58 PM on June 9, 2009


lester writes 'too many people are hating on the husband, though.'

I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if there was some evidence that he'd tried to resolve the problem proactively. There was no mention of anything he had done (as in earplugs, a boneheadedly obvious solution), just lots of desperate attempts at "cat training" by the OP before he finally Put His Foot Down. There's just nothing there to make him a sympathetic character in this story.

Overall I think AskMe handled things fine, given that this is the internet and We Will Brook No Threat To Cats. If this was /b/ they'd have already found him and gotten him fired from his job.
posted by mullingitover at 7:59 PM on June 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


People's arseholes are frequently bigger than cats.

How many cats will die while that hypothesis is tested???
posted by educatedslacker at 8:03 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like my cats.

I'm also a very heavy sleeper.

But I've noticed recently that my cats pay attention to see exactly when I wake up in the mornings, and then hop up on the bed and start purring and looking for attention.

Now I'm curious if I've accidentally trained them well, or if I just have awesome genius cats.

Either way I win, really.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:04 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not the greatest scenario in the world for someone who is sleep deprived, frustrated and with control issues: "Hi honey, I've been ignoring your needs for a year, but I got a white noise machine that's going to run all night and here's your earplugs. I'm not going to sleep with you, but play with Fluffy instead. It's just going to take more time". Somehow I'm not thinking that's going over so well, even if it is the 'best' of the advice on the thread.
posted by kch at 8:06 PM on June 9, 2009


Yeah but flipped around it says "I wonder what kind of person you have to be to tell someone they have to kill their beloved housepet to stay in a relationship with you."

I say with no snark: the kind who hasn't gotten a good night of sleep in a year.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:06 PM on June 9, 2009 [18 favorites]


I once got rid of a cat for my SO.

I met the cat about a month before my SO and I started dating. She was just outside my apartment the day after I had decided to get a cat, and she wanted in my apartment so desperately, so I took her in. She was a beautiful cat, probably about six months old. I got her spayed, got her her shots, and we lived our life together.

Unfortunately, it was a very unhealthy relationship between this cat and me. My boyfriend didn't like her from the start (first time he spent the night, we learned that the chair he had casually thrown his jacket was my cat's secret pee spot, and, while my boyfriend was trying to sleep, she came up and bit, HARD, on his toes), but I did everything I could to get along with her. It did no good. She could be sweet and loving, but she only ever wanted to be touched for a few seconds. She'd go from loving purrbutt to Evil Attacker With Knives For Claws in about half a second, with no indication. I spent about a year and half with my arms covered in really awful scratches. She didn't like other people, she'd get into anything that was left out, and she was constantly, constantly irritated.

The problem was, she had been an outside cat and my apartment just wasn't enough space and entertainment for her. I couldn't make her an outdoor cat, and she couldn't live happily in the type of lifestyle I could offer her. She was bored and frustrated all the time, and I was upset and hurt that she wouldn't accept my love. I would always make excuses for her, when my boyfriend would complain about her behavior, but I just couldn't change her behavior.

It was when my SO moved in that I started to think about getting rid of her. Seeing the extent to which she hated him made me realize just how much this dynamic was bad for everyone involved. The real kicker was when we watched an episode of "Scrubs" in which a character is called "Slagathor." Slagathor! We laughed -- it was the perfect name for this cat! So we changed what I had previously named her (which had never stuck, anyway) to Slagathor.

I dawned on me: if you and your cat have such a bad relationship that you think the best name for her is Slagathor, it's probably not a good situation.

So I worked to get Ol' Slaggy a new home. I posted ads on Craigslist. I got one really weird response and then one really good response. A guy on the other side of town had a giant, two story house where Slagathor would have all the room to roam around in and explore. It would be a much better environment for her. Every once in a while I feel pangs of guilt for having failed so much at giving her the right environment to make her a happy cat.... But, in the end, I tried my best to do right by her, and I hope she's still doing okay.

When we got rid of Slagathor, my SO was ecstatic. He was giddy and happy as a clam -- it was everything he ever wanted to be rid of that cat! She was gone gone gone, and he was free of her! It hurt me a little when I realized the full extent to which he had hated my poor li'l unhappy kitty, but I could understand his point of view.

My boyfriend had always wanted rid of that cat, and he was happy as anything to see her go. It's completely understandable to want your spouse's pet gone when you and the pet cannot stand each other... But, here's the thing: my SO never ever ever pressured me to get rid of her. He understood that this was my cat, a part of my life, and he had no right to tell me what to do with her. Even when he moved in and my home became his, he still respected the fact that I had the right to my own pet -- he could have refused to move in because of her but he certainly couldn't mandate that I get rid of her. Because he doesn't control me, because he doesn't get to dictate what happens to the entities I love. He's far more important to me than Slagathor ever was, and I am happier with him and without Slagathor than I was with Slagathor and without him.. But, all the same, that was my decision, not his.

It's a matter of respect, really. It seems like a vital part of a relationship that both partners respect those things and entities that are a beloved part of the other's life.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:07 PM on June 9, 2009 [28 favorites]


...Huh.

Ya know, I don't think I ever want to write that much about a stupid ol' cat again.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:09 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


That question was basically the recipe for the shitstorm.

Take one mean or tired husband, add one helpless animal. Mix in one wife who ignored situation. Boil until the situation explodes.

Could she have gotten better answers? Yes, especially if she'd have looked for help or suggestions to rehome that cat a few months ago. As it stands the situation is a little too OMG to get many helpful responses.
posted by 26.2 at 8:11 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, she could have. But she didn't. And she's asking for help now.
posted by litterateur at 8:13 PM on June 9, 2009


I was that husband at one point, in terms of totally out of my mind from being tired. We lived in a tiny studio, the cat and I absolutely (and to this day) adored each other but I was working 16 hours days 6 days a week for about 6 months and the cat, god love him, just wanted his best buddy to pay with him...at night.

It nearly drove me psychotic and the wife and I had to have a really thick conversation about what to do, because I was literally losing my mind and at that point I needed out no matter what and she had been sleeping pretty decently for that time and hadn't really understood how bad it had become.

We figured that the night time behavior was because he was just so f'n bored without someone to play with, and as I mentioned in the thread it was really a coin toss on whether we got rid of the first cat or brought in a second.

We opted for option 2, and brought home a kitten with more energy than the first cat and thankfully it worked out, because we were looking to line up friends who would be willing to take one or both of them in, and it wasn't looking good.

I can understand where the OP's husband is coming from, when you're mentally worn out from not getting enough sleep, for whatever reason, you need to know that at some point in the future something will change to let you change the patterns, and that may mean removing the thing you think is preventing your sleep, however harsh it seems.
posted by iamabot at 8:33 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah I found it a little unreal when the cat was compared to a child, like the husband would throw out a crying baby the way he would give up a pet. I realize some people regard their pets like they are children, but they are not in fact human beings.
posted by whoaali at 8:34 PM on June 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if there was some evidence that he'd tried to resolve the problem proactively.

Who asked you to judge him?
posted by grouse at 8:45 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


NPR + Jerry Springer = ________
posted by not_on_display at 8:49 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I hope I never have to choose between an annoying cat and an inconsistent dick.

Then don't get married. WACKETY SCHMACKETY DOOOOOOO...

Also, sleep deprivation drives people to extremes. Even a little interrupted sleep every single goddamn night will make you think very dark thoughts and entertain less than humane solutions to your problem because you just. Want. Sleep. Ask any parent with a newborn baby.

You don't even want to know some of the revenge fantasies I've enjoyed against my next-door neighbors, who have cost me a not-inconsiderable amount of sleep and peace. You would think me a shallow shitheel and a monster. So cut these two some slack. They're not inhuman, either one of them. They're confused and clueless and both desperate for a happy ending.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:55 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


whoaali: Agreed. That was a little weird to read. Better think twice the next time your husband orders steak. The next thing he could be eating IS YOU.
posted by ODiV at 9:03 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look on the bright side people, now we have a new component to the should-I-circumcise-my-cat meme, prolonging its shelf-life. Ooh! Ooh! Let me go first!

This question went over as well as "should I let my husband circumcise my cat?"
posted by Kattullus at 9:05 PM on June 9, 2009


Also, "My cats always have a full bowel." is a seriously awesome typo. Nominated for best sentence of thread.
posted by ODiV at 9:10 PM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


This kind of reminds me of that Misandry on Ask Metafilter thread from a while back.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:15 PM on June 9, 2009


Also, "My cats always have a full bowel."...

Now THAT's a recipe for a shitstorm.
posted by qvantamon at 9:15 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't believe someone would think their cat was more important than their spouse's well being. Talk about some fucked priorities.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:28 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I mean, seriously. Sleep is pretty fucking essential. Cats? Not so much.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:31 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


And earplugs? Totally uncomfortable. I have a hard time being awake with them in my ears for more than an hour. Sleeping with them in? Yeah. Right.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:33 PM on June 9, 2009


UbuRoivas writes "i *was* wondering how you discovered that you can fit a cat inside a human arsehole."

I assumed they'd were there when Richard Gere visited a cat shelter.
posted by Mitheral at 9:40 PM on June 9, 2009


Well, in her husband's defense, he did put up with the annoying bastard for a YEAR.

That said, she asked a crowd of cat lovers if she should torture or sentence her cat to death to appease her husband. How did you expect them to answer?
posted by graventy at 9:49 PM on June 9, 2009


Great. In two years there's going to be a meme about rectally inserted cats as the next big thrill and before you know it it will be all over the cable news shows, there will be police bulletins released in Comic Sans and someone will be trying to write legislation to ban the alleged practice.

Next up: I have a barracuda. In my pants.
posted by loquacious at 9:53 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder what kind of person you must be to suggest that a marriage is expendable but a cat cannot be parted with?

Oh, I don't know, I can imagine some scenarios. If I were to walk in the house and found the husband dipping the cat in boiling water, or slicing off bits or something, I'd definitely pick the cat. Not that he would do that, just sayin'.

That thread was a shitstorm because the OP kept moving the target. First the husband is an unfeeling bastard for demanding the cat get the lethal injection, then when people are upset OP chimes in to say she is in fact the unfeeling bastard for ignoring her husband's sleep deprivation FOR A YEAR. Christ, which is it? Then she chimes in again and it sounds like the cat is just begging to be fed more. I can't figure out if OP is disingenuous, drunk, or dimwitted.
posted by JenMarie at 9:54 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sincerely hope that all the people hating on the husband are strict vegetarians.

But of course, cows are big, dumb, ugly, and they smell. Totally okay to kill them and eat them, as long as somebody else does it.

But not my pooofy widdle biddie snookie wookums. Totally more important than my spouse.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:55 PM on June 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


Dear Askme, my boyfriend wa*
DUMP THE MOTHERFUCKING ASSHOLE
posted by Damn That Television at 10:08 PM on June 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


When people on AskMe go out of their way to convince someone describing an incident of consensual sex that she was raped, cat-based marital diagnosis is hardly egregious.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:10 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


My cat has a tendency to get upset when I go to sleep. Sometimes he starts crying once I turn the lights off and crawl into bed, and if I ignore him his cries get louder and more plaintive. And throughout the night he'll intermittently cry and jump up on the bed by me, trying to wake me up. Usually speaking to him softly and giving him some affection quiets him down, but if I don't wake up as a result of his efforts, he'll start running as fast as he can and jumping up on his scratching post/perch (in my bedroom) until I finally wake up and reassure him. But that's just it; he wants some reassurance. I've noticed that if I play with him and tire him out about an hour before bed time, he's more likely to doze through my going to sleep. And stroking, kissing, and talking to him for a few minutes before lights out helps tremendously as well. Still, it's rare for me to sleep through the night w/o being woken up by him at least once.

I used to just chalk it up to having a spoiled brat, but I've noticed that if I ignore him and pretend to keep sleeping while he's meowing on the bed next to me, he'll tiptoe up to me and almost touch his nose to mine where he can feel my breath against his face. Then he usually slips away quietly. So now I think he's just checking to see if I'm still alive (or if it's ok to start eating Daddy).

As for this couple's "training methods" and the husband's ultimatum, they shouldn't have becomne cat owners to begin with and I think the only solution is finding the kitty a more tolerant family of humans.
posted by Devils Slide at 10:28 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Clarification: sometimes feeling my breath against his face calms him down but in other instances it's not enough and he'll start running and jumping around.
posted by Devils Slide at 10:31 PM on June 9, 2009


They're confused and clueless and both desperate for a happy ending.

It's unfortunate that they've pretty much eliminated that as a possibility. If they rehome or euthanize the cat, she is going to resent it. When she looks around the studio for the cat, she's going to be sad and disappointed. If they keep the cat, she's going to feel guilty every time it makes a peep. He's going to be pissed and resentful when the cat meows.

Tossing out the ultimatum and time line escalated this to a no win situation. They aren't working together to solve the problem. Considering that they adopted the cat together and they live in a studio apartment, why is she the only one who's supposed to fix the problem? If it's been keeping him up for a year, what has he done to help resolve it?
posted by 26.2 at 10:48 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, I like to think I'm a pretty decent guy, mostly. But there are two things in my life that turn me into a raving homicidal lunatic:

- Chronic lack of sleep from trying to raise infant twins
- Chronic lack of sleep from my wife's snoring problem

In both cases, my wife and I worked together to make things somewhat easier on me, and that's not really the point of this comment -- the point is that lack of sleep can turn an otherwise normal person into a psychopath, and if my wife and I had not worked together to make things somewhat easier on me, I probably would have drawn some stupid lines in the sand that were completely inappropriate.

Anyway, I'm going to go comment in the thread. Wheeeeeee!
posted by davejay at 10:53 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, dumping the guy would have been my suggestion too. The cat sure isn't going to change.
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's hope they never have kids.
posted by Artw at 10:58 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah I found it a little unreal when the cat was compared to a child, like the husband would throw out a crying baby the way he would give up a pet. I realize some people regard their pets like they are children, but they are not in fact human beings.

Absolutely, but they're complex beings with emotions and feelings and when you take one into your home you should keep that in mind and expect (if not the worst case, at least bad) scenarios as to how your pet owning experience will be and prepare yourself accordingly. As their human you're responsible for their well being, happiness (to some extent), and behavior.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:01 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


JenMarie: That thread was a shitstorm because the OP kept moving the target.

Agreed. It was textbook stuff: “I need to know how to x because my husband is going nuts and forcing me to.” Then she'd turn around: “…but I really can't figure out how to do x—it's confusing and weird! What the hell?” Then back again: “…and my husband says I only have two weeks of ultimatum left!”

If she was fishing, she'd-a caught a WHALE.
posted by koeselitz at 11:04 PM on June 9, 2009


Perhaps some of the people who advised the OP to keep the cat and dump the husband really do think that cats are more important than people. I'm a soppy, sentimental cat lover, although I generally think that marriage is more important than the privilege of cleaning litter boxes and being covered in cat fur.

But when I looked at the original question, flags shot up. 1) It appears that the OP is married to a controlling man: "Compromise with my husband is unlikely if not impossible"; the inflexible schedule for fixing the problem; the implication that the husband does not mind if the cat is killed. 2) Then there's the apparent (at least from the early part of the thread) callousness of the husband to his wife's feelings or the cat's well-being (some of this is mitigated later in the thread). Animal abuse is often correlated to spousal abuse (one source).

Add to this that the OP is young -- her profile states she is 19 -- and presumably had a difficult home life since she indicates in another post that she is emancipated, which I gather is an American term for a person of an age who would normally be living with his/her parents, but who, for some reason, is living independently. That suggests she may be somewhat socially isolated, or at least reluctant to get help from her family. She's been trying to upgrade basic education credentials, and was, perhaps is, working at a fast-food restaurant, which suggests she has few financial resources of her own. In short, the OP seems vulnerable.

Putting it altogether, surely I'm not the only person who wondered if the issue with the cat is perhaps a prequel to the OP being physically abused by her husband.

As the thread continues and the OP adds information, perhaps I've beanzed the whole situation. In any event, I didn't feel sure enough of my hunches to advise the OP one way or another. But I've got a bad feeling about this.
posted by angiep at 11:05 PM on June 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


It would have been a lot easier if she wasn't being manipulative and playing the victim. A question like “I have a huge problem. I can't get my cat to be quiet while I'm asleep, and it's really bothering my husband and me. What do I do?” would have flown perfectly without a hitch.
posted by koeselitz at 11:07 PM on June 9, 2009


angiep: Putting it altogether, surely I'm not the only person who wondered if the issue with the cat is perhaps a prequel to the OP being physically abused by her husband…As the thread continues and the OP adds information, perhaps I've beanzed the whole situation…

Yeah, you're not the only one, but you're the only one who's said so out loud; you have preposterously little evidence for this position. I know my wife has said much worse things about our dog (whom she loves a good deal more than I do, she being very much an animal person) when that dog has pissed on a neighbor's rug or taken a crap on a showroom floor. Everything in the post was routine stuff that didn't even begin to indicate abuse, although my mind went there, too.

As far as animal abuse, well, the poster is the one sticking the cat in the shower.
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 PM on June 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I sincerely hope that all the people hating on the husband are strict vegetarians.

Yes, because it would be just bizarre if we treated companion animals and food animals differently.

Troll harder.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:13 PM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


It would have been a lot easier if she wasn't being manipulative and playing the victim.

You know, she's 19. Which one of us had our shit together emotionally at 19? Because, personally, I was a good 15 or 16 years from being anywhere near the same area code as Shit-Together-Emotionallyville when I was that age.
posted by scody at 11:30 PM on June 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


Putting it altogether, surely I'm not the only person who wondered if the issue with the cat is perhaps a prequel to the OP being physically abused by her husband.

I think you're way overreacting.

What you're apparently missing is that the light-sleeping husband has been complaining steadily for a year about his problems sleeping because of the cat, and the OP ignored him because she didn't perceive the issue since she's a heavy sleeper. In her own words, the ultimatum to get rid of the cat was what finally got through to her, when nothing else would. That's not about callous control, that's about increasingly desperate attempts to get his partner's attention.

I'm not sure why that thread got so much attention, except insofar as every contentious thread seems to be more about the various respondents' axes that need grinding. The OP wasn't remarkably clear, but she did a fine job adding detail. The husband has been sleeping badly since the cat arrived, because of the cat, and the wife didn't take the problem seriously because she didn't perceive it herself. A minor problem has become a crisis for being left far too long, and now they're struggling to deal with it. See? No one's a monster, an incubating wife-beater, a cat-murderer, or a cat-fanatic elevating her fluffy over her marriage. Just normal people dealing with normal problems. But with the way we handle such questions, it's a wonder anyone bothers with us.
posted by fatbird at 11:45 PM on June 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


My beloved dog likes to step on my back in the middle of the night to get me to move so she can take up more of the bed. She likes to make this immensely passive-aggressive noise when the air conditioning is not cold enough, or is too cold. She will stand by the bed and carebear stare at me when she decides it is time for me to wake up.

I would totally stick her in the shower to make her stop doing these things, but she's too big to easily get a grip on when I'm sleep deprived. aside from the fact it wouldn't work at all and would probably traumatize her into being even more obnoxious every morning at four AM.

If the poor man has been besieged at night by a wailing banshee cat for a year and has not snapped, he's got good impulse control. The wee fluffykins is safe enough. The fact that that specific factoid was left out of the original question makes me think that the OP intended for us to sympathize with her, although probably not to the extent of advising she get a divorce.

Sometimes AskMe is like Dear Abby on acid.
posted by winna at 11:47 PM on June 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Add to this that the OP is young -- her profile states she is 19 -- and presumably had a difficult home life since she indicates in another post that she is emancipated, which I gather is an American term for a person of an age who would normally be living with his/her parents, but who, for some reason, is living independently. That suggests she may be somewhat socially isolated, or at least reluctant to get help from her family. She's been trying to upgrade basic education credentials, and was, perhaps is, working at a fast-food restaurant, which suggests she has few financial resources of her own. In short, the OP seems vulnerable.

Okay, now I feel bad for calling her dimwitted upthread. Her youth explains a lot, both about her communication shortfalls and her feeling of panic in the situation. I agree that there is the possibility she is married to a controlling ass, but there is also the possibility she is married to someone at the end of his rope with the sleep deprivation, possibly complicated by other difficulties in their living situation and relationship. There's just no way to know, given what I perceive to be an unreliable narrator.
posted by JenMarie at 11:48 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Putting it altogether, surely I'm not the only person who wondered if the issue with the cat is perhaps a prequel to the OP being physically abused by her husband.

Exactly. There's a lot more going on here than a dispute over a pet. The way I see it, the guy is a fucking bully and she seems to think that's OK. "Compromise is impossible", like that's just a law of nature or something. Whether there's physical abuse or not, this is not a healthy relationship she's describing.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:55 PM on June 9, 2009


Exactly. There's a lot more going on here than a dispute over a pet. The way I see it, the guy is a fucking bully and she seems to think that's OK.

Oh please. My girlfriend is a light sleeper, and I know exactly how much my snoring makes her suffer the next day. If the husband has been tolerating this for a year, then he's guilty of understating the problem and not communicating its urgency early enough; he's not a bully, he's the opposite.

Another pertinent detail has dribbled out of that thread: The reason there's a crisis is that the OP doesn't want to give the cat to the SPCA because she thinks the cages are too small. Fluffy's life isn't in any danger. The husband isn't a cat murdering psychopath. He's a guy at the end of a year of pseudo-insomnia.
posted by fatbird at 12:06 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Several people have suggested the husband needs to compromise. Not snarking, honest question: What would a compromise look like in this situation? More time? It's been a year. Ear plugs don't work. They are living in a bachelor so they can't lock the cat away and I'm guessing they can't afford a larger place.

The only thing I can think of, and maybe someone has mentioned it in that monster thread, is tranquilizers. The OP doesn't respond to that suggestion if it's been made.
posted by Mitheral at 12:14 AM on June 10, 2009


Putting it altogether, surely I'm not the only person who wondered if the issue with the cat is perhaps a prequel to the OP being physically abused by her husband.

This reminds me of a mock trial I did when I was interning at a law firm. It's a training exercise to make us better lawyers. We have a fake case where we need to argue about whether some poor shmoe committed suicide or had some terrible accident with his hunting rifle. The facts are built to make either scenario equally plausible, and its up to the two sides to convince our jury (temps hired for the day) that our side is right.

So both sides put on our case. Mine says, clearly it's an accident. Here's the evidence that the gun was faulty, and he thought he fixed it. Here's the evidence he was planning to go hunting that day, and was ready to go. The other side says, here's the evidence of suicide. He was depressed. He owed lots of money, and he had this insurance policy that would pay out.

You know what our mock jury came back with? Neither. It was murder! There was a lot more going on to this case. There could've been a conspiracy! Why didn't either side check for fingerprints? Why didn't we do some of that fancy shit they see on that CSI show on the tv?

Yeah. Sometimes, people look for lots more excitement than there is. It can't be that someone is having a cat training issue. We're really seeing a window into her abusive relationship with her evil husband! Why didn't the poster tell us why compromise was impossible? Why didn't she tell is if she'd tried couples therapy? Why was the husband's first response to send the cat to a shelter that will KILL THE CAT???!!!?111!!

Why didn't people focus on the question, is my question. Not every death is a murder. Not every ultimatum is given by an abusive partner. Not every decision to place a cat in a shelter is synonymous with killing the cat. Sometimes when deciding what kind of help someone needs, you can, you know, go by the help they asked for.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 12:24 AM on June 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


You know what our mock jury came back with? Neither. It was murder!
Simpletons - it's far more likely that his head exploded due to microwaves from cell phone towers and when he slumped forward dead, a loose bullet lying about got lodged in the wound. Death by misadventure.
posted by Abiezer at 12:48 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I note that none of those people who are suggesting that the cat's continued existance is primary here are offering a home to the cat themselves.

Presumably, that's because they regard the cat's life as less important than the poster getting her own way in this matter?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:01 AM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I'd take the cat, but I'm not in Indiana.

Also, I'm a strict carnivore, and I try to be very disciplined about always killing small furry creatures when I get the chance. I'd hate to let one cute little kitten start a whole backslide into kindness and compassion; I don't know how other people feel, but I just think it's so obnoxious meeting hypocrites who are too clueless or lazy to make sure that their lifestyle squares with their ethical beliefs and eating habits, don't you?
posted by koeselitz at 1:13 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel so bad for the asker. She loves her cat, and she loves her husband. Choosing between them should be simple - I mean, how can you choose an annoying cat over a marriage? But it's not that simple, never that simple. Askme answers always seem to start with the most bare-bones response, and it takes the entire thread for the response to really flesh out the emotional blood and guts that go along with it. It's an ugly process, but sometimes it's necessary to get to the right answer for the right reasons.

She has to make a hard decision, a crappy decision, the right decision, which is to get rid of the animal. But that wasn't her question, exactly. She's looking for a way to keep her precious cat - and I cannot blame her - along with a happy husband. I hope I'm never in such a predicament.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:15 AM on June 10, 2009


kingjoeshmoe: Why didn't people focus on the question, is my question.

Isn't that obvious? Mefites are predictable, if nothing else, about the things that rile us up; the question would have gotten the same response if it were about anything else.

My husband says my godawful ugly lamp has got to go or else he's throwing it in the trash himself. Do you know how I can find another one that better matches my decor?

I really like science fiction television shows. My husband is always stealing the remote and joking that women don't know how to pick shows to watch. Anyway, what good science fiction shows do you think I should watch?

I really love beans, heaping beans by the big, steaming plateful. In fact, my husband says that if I make beans again he'll leave me and/or kill my dear beloved pet. What are some good recipes for plates of beans?
posted by koeselitz at 1:27 AM on June 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Its insane the amount of backlash that's directed towards the husband. We have no idea what has transpired over the past year. We have vague information about him that she chose to give us, it's not even until a few follow ups that she shows that she may be at fault for part of the situation. It is strange what blanks people on ask.mefi choose to fill in on their own, clouding the situation to fit their personal opinion.. and in the end it is almost never helpful.
posted by mattsweaters at 1:27 AM on June 10, 2009


I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if there was some evidence that he'd tried to resolve the problem proactively.

To be fair, apparently he'd been suffering from year-long sleep deprivation.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:36 AM on June 10, 2009


If you do a bit of Googling on them, like others seem to have done, the most pertinent info seems to be:

1. They're newlyweds.
2. They're terribly young, to boot.

This would probably account for quite a few of the red flags here:

1. Lack of real communication over past year about problem with cat
2. Husband's idea that an ultimatum was the best way to resolve said issue
3. Wife's awful attempts at disciplining the cat

Of course, the rest of us, being mainly 22+ and oh so mature, would not stand for such an ultimatum. We would also probably not stick our pets in the shower in the middle of the night, or ignore pleas from our spouses to help them resolve a sleep issue that went on for months. However - I didn't have that wisdom or maturity at 19. Did anyone? Give the girl, and her husband, a break.
posted by HopperFan at 1:45 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Replace the word "child" with the word "cat" and no one here would have a problem.
posted by a non e mouse at 2:24 AM on June 10, 2009


Or vice versa.
posted by a non e mouse at 2:25 AM on June 10, 2009


Replace the word "child" with the word "cat" and no one here would have a problem.

As far as I know transforming cats into human children is beyond the capabilities of existing technology.
posted by onya at 2:31 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Things AskMe traditionally does not do well: Cats.

Perhaps cats are secretly running AskMe through a series of sock puppets manipulated to further the Feline Agenda.

My own cat would like y'all to know that she went above and beyond the call of duty to wake me at 545 despite the fact that I don't have to be at work until 10 this morning. She must have sensed that her dickishness was being called into question and she needed to ramp it up a notch to maintain her dignity.

I beg of you. Please, just accept that my cat is still a dick so that I can sleep.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:29 AM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know people do it all the time, but 19 is incredibly young to be married in the first place. At that age people are terrible at coming to compromises and working things out-- you're just barely starting to figure out who you are.

And yes, ultimatums aren't a nice thing, but maybe he's really had it. If I was with a girl whose big goofy dog kept pissing on my bed and stealing food off my plate for a year and the problem wasn't being resolved, it would come to a point where it would be the dog or me- and I know that if I was four years younger I would be even less willing to deal with something like that screwing with my quality of life.

Teenage relationships are generally on shaky ground anyway and can break up at any point- just because they've got a piece of paper making them husband and wife doesn't really make it much different. If it was a husband and wife of 30 years, breaking up over a cat would be a whole nother kettle of fish.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:09 AM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I doubt that my partner's fish could piss me off so much that I'd boil them.
posted by gman at 4:20 AM on June 10, 2009


Perhaps cats are secretly running AskMe through a series of sock puppets manipulated to further the Feline Agenda.

Shit, she's onto us - switch to Plan B!
posted by the Cabal at 4:28 AM on June 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Uh guys the googling/stalking of these people is wildly inappropiate. Do it to satisfy your curiosity, sure, but I really don't think we need to share our findings here. She asked a question - she's not a self-linker, and I don't think the cat has been abused, just mistreated due to ignorance.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:42 AM on June 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh man, the bunnies started stomping around 3 am this morning and woke my wife and I up. At first, I thought it was a large leak or something, drip-drip-dropping downstairs. My wife thought it was either burglars or ghosts (or maybe burglar ghosts, which are ghosts that steal, or even ghost burglars, who steal ghosts).

Anyways, once I ascertained that it wasn't a thousand dollar problem with the roof or Jacob Marley come to swipe my Xbox, I went downstairs to the living room where the bunnies live, pulled over a laptop, and showed them this thread.

Whether they were scared of being kicked out of the house in two weeks or as fascinated by AskMe trainwrecks as their owners, I don't know, but they did quiet down for the rest of the night.

So that question wasn't all bad.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:56 AM on June 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


switch to Plan B!

Was that the one where we all sleep for 18 hours a day, stretch our claws on the couch legs and catch and eat houseflies?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:00 AM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Funny thing is I have a friend who just broke up with someone he was really into over her dog. She was really into telling him the dogs feelings about things. Not that that was the problem, but when he asked if the dog could sleep outside of the bedroom she told him how the dog really needed to be close to her. He also hinted that somehow she used the dog as some kind of emotional holdover from her past marriage. Giving the dog her ex-husbands last name when the guy didn't want anything to do with it was kind of a tip-off.
He told me once when she had to call a tow truck driver to pick her up she kept insisting the dog would feel odd about being back in the car rather than in the cab. I think the driver gave her a blank stare and flatly said the dog is not coming into the cab.

I'm all for having an emotional investment in your animal. They can be the best of friends and give you tons of happiness, but the pets-equal-children-people need to scale it back a little sometimes.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:20 AM on June 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I've had cats all my life. I have two small children. I seriously want to strangle one of the two cats we have now. It's not a nice feeling.

Same litter has his brother, same expensive pedigree, same doting, loving upbringing - toys, expensive cat pole / shelters, outdoor play, regular vet checks, high quality food - but there's something severely broken inside his head, because he urinates everywhere, howls in the middle of the night and bites for no reason that we or any professional we know can determine.

He's never been punished, because I know that disciplining cats is like teaching algebra to a bowl of clam chowder. We just try to love him more, and somehow, that makes it feel worse when he decides he's going to find Place Number 1,211 You Didn't Think Of To Pee Inside For No Reason. We've read The Books, we've seen The Vets, we've tried The Techniques - nada. He's not jealous of his brother or his human family. He's not starved for food or attention. He doesn't get too much food or attention. He's just developmentally retarded.

It doesn't make me a horrible person for wishing we'd never got him. It doesn't make me a horrible person for sometimes wishing he'd just run away, or to think that maybe we should just take him to the RSPCA and leave him to an undetermined fate. Sometimes people have just had enough - they don't know what to do, their judgment is impaired after cleaning up the third patch of reeking cat urine after another night without sleep and they make rash decisions because they'll do anything to make it stop.

The only thing keeping this cat alive with us at the moment is that I'm so much of a cat lover I can say things like "maybe he'll only live to be 12 like our last puss...10 years, that's not too long...". But if I were 19 and had been raised to think of cats as animals rather than people, I'd be the husband in question, no doubt. If he ever hurts one of the kids, it could still happen, and I'm a goddamned cat-loving saint. If any of you decided to get all holier-than-thou for placing my human family's welfare above that of a pet, well, you could just go fuck yourself. It'd be a tragedy, and I'd need your sympathy and compassion, not your righteous judgment that solves precisely nothing at all.

You'd think mature people could look at the askers' behaviour as an indicator of their desperation, and offer help accordingly, but it makes us feel so much more superior to play amateur animal psychologist / armchair marriage counsellor. "She used water in a desperate attempt to save her cat! Make her leave her husband, then burn her!" And all of this "ooh, don't have kids then" snark is especially pathetic. For shame, MeFi. No hugs.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:20 AM on June 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


gman: I doubt that my partner's fish could piss me off so much that I'd boil them.

Hell, I wouldn't even know how to boil my wife.
posted by koeselitz at 5:21 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


P.o.B.: I'm all for having an emotional investment in your animal. They can be the best of friends and give you tons of happiness, but the pets-equal-children-people need to scale it back a little sometimes.

The interesting thing I notice about these situations, too, is that, while the humans would never be able to admit it to themselves, animals hate it when we do this to them. It makes their lives miserable. They aren't meant to be children, and when we force them into that role, it puts them on a pretty stupid level.
posted by koeselitz at 5:25 AM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


If I had a cat when I was 19 I would have tried to smoke it.
posted by The Straightener at 5:26 AM on June 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


yeah, i know - it's impossible to decide whether it's best to start with cold water & gradually raise the temperature; or to just throw her into a cauldron of already-boiling water.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:26 AM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah but flipped around it says "I wonder what kind of person you have to be to tell someone they have to kill their beloved housepet to stay in a relationship with you."

I say with no snark: the kind who hasn't gotten a good night of sleep in a year.


Exactly.

The other angle that no one really delved into was how serious this ultimatum was... the OP mentioned that there was 'no chance' for compromise, but we've also established that the OP is 19 and probably not the world's best communicator with her husband. So there's a chance that this ultimatum came at 5:15 AM yesterday morning, when the husband was seriously pissed off and sleep deprived. I've said some pretty mean-spirited things, and cast all sorts of horrible aspersions, at 5:15 AM after a night of no sleep. To date, I have yet to actually march across the street and carry through with my threats of violence against the rowdy neighbors, or find and strangle that damned dog that won't stop barking, because some sleep gives me some perspective and distance to see that my wild early-morning ultimatums are unreasonable. So maybe we could recommend less divorcing, and more talking.
posted by Mayor West at 5:27 AM on June 10, 2009


(i've been smoking pure burmese, as you can probably tell)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:28 AM on June 10, 2009


gman: I doubt that my partner's fish could piss me off so much that I'd boil them.

koeselitz: Hell, I wouldn't even know how to boil my wife.


Apparently you think I'm a grammatically challenged polygamist.
posted by gman at 5:32 AM on June 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


"them" is normally an acceptable substitute for him/her, if the gender of the object is unknown.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:33 AM on June 10, 2009


HA HA!

I WIN AGAIN, GMAN!

YOU WILL NEVER DEFEAT ME!
posted by koeselitz at 5:36 AM on June 10, 2009


Hell, I wouldn't even know how to boil my wife.

It's not that tricky, but depending on your altitude and stovetop's performance you probably just need to experiment a bit. It'll probably work best if your wife and the water are at close to the same room temperature at the start; bring the water to a boil and put her in. As I said, you may have to experiment to find the best amount of time to boil. Running her under cold water when she comes out of the pot may help to peel her more evenly.
posted by Drastic at 5:55 AM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Drastic times call for Drastic measures.
posted by gman at 6:02 AM on June 10, 2009


if your wife's particularly tough, then a slow cooker is recommended.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:02 AM on June 10, 2009


Hell, I wouldn't even know how to boil my wife.

I fine that a broiled wife holds the flavor better, especially marinated in a nice jerk sauce overnight.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:04 AM on June 10, 2009


My wife loves my jerk sauce.
posted by gman at 6:05 AM on June 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


does that work well on a grilled cheese sandwich?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:07 AM on June 10, 2009


(i mean, i wouldn't be sure whether to swallow it or spit it out)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:10 AM on June 10, 2009


/me pops in ...hey! is this the Alphabet thread? ... oh, never mind, sorry!

/me eats a tater tot, walks out

posted by not_on_display at 6:13 AM on June 10, 2009


Was it a HARDCORE tater tot?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:17 AM on June 10, 2009


you eat tots' taters?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:20 AM on June 10, 2009


Alphabet thread?

Best not to, I suppose.

Could be fun though...
posted by Kattullus at 6:27 AM on June 10, 2009


Doubt it.
posted by gman at 6:30 AM on June 10, 2009


eh, what would you know?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:33 AM on June 10, 2009


Fuck you.
posted by gman at 6:37 AM on June 10, 2009


go & grill your own gruyere, gman.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:38 AM on June 10, 2009


happily.
posted by gman at 6:40 AM on June 10, 2009


I have shit to do, man!
posted by gman at 6:41 AM on June 10, 2009


I'd say the asker let down AskMe, but that's just me.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:43 AM on June 10, 2009


Same litter has his brother, same expensive pedigree, same doting, loving upbringing - toys, expensive cat pole / shelters, outdoor play, regular vet checks, high quality food - but there's something severely broken inside his head, because he urinates everywhere, howls in the middle of the night and bites for no reason that we or any professional we know can determine.

We had 3 relatively good cats. Then gradually, over the space of about 12 months (starting when our oldest was a toddler, but I don't know if that's related), we had 1 good cat and 2 bad cats. Then we decided to stop being over-protective and let them outside. We now have 3 good cats again.
posted by DU at 6:43 AM on June 10, 2009


jebus, as if we want to hear about your digestive habits!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:43 AM on June 10, 2009


kristus, what a non-sequitur!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:44 AM on June 10, 2009


I am eager to hear other opinions about the training of cats. It is a shame that some among us have chosen to start some illegal "game", creating noise that drowns out fruitful discussion.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:47 AM on June 10, 2009


Let's watch Schaffer the Darklord (just audio) and David Bowie, each doing their own "Cat People".
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:48 AM on June 10, 2009


maybe.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 AM on June 10, 2009


no.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:50 AM on June 10, 2009


ok, i changed my mind.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:50 AM on June 10, 2009


Puck you, sir.
posted by gman at 7:12 AM on June 10, 2009


Quality of AskMe your answers matters.
posted by Maisie at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2009


Quality of your AskMe answers matters, as they say in English.
posted by Maisie at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2009


Really guys, we need to think of the poor soaked cat.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:18 AM on June 10, 2009


So, I was surprised that Ft Wayne has studio apartments
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:21 AM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


As far as I know transforming cats into human children is beyond the capabilities of existing technology.

Actually, advances in short frock miniaturization tech has indeed made it possible.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:21 AM on June 10, 2009


Touchy subject, I suppose.
posted by modernnomad at 7:35 AM on June 10, 2009


Cat sweater technology has made numerous advances as well. Though as far as I know science is still working on a formula for pants.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:43 AM on June 10, 2009


MetaFilter's DTMFA reflex + Will someone please think of the cats? tendencies = telling someone their husband is horrible and should be divorced for being anti-cat
posted by ignignokt at 7:47 AM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Until you've walked in the askers shoes, you can't really assess the situation
posted by TedW at 7:53 AM on June 10, 2009


Very true.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2009


The OP said her cat wakes her husband early in the morning, 4-6 hours after going to bed. That's annoying, but calling it sleep deprivation is a pretty big exaggeration. It's nothing like what you'd experience as brand new parents, or if your spouse snored very loudly all night, or if you had bad insomnia, etc. It's more like what you'd experience if you have to go to school or work in the morning, went to bed a little later than you should, and owned an alarm clock. You'd want to change it, but it wouldn't excuse unreasonable behavior.

And you'd have to be a complete idiot to think that seeing the husband's ultimatum as unreasonable is the same thing as putting animals above people or marriage. Putting your marriage first does not entail just doing everything your husband says no matter how unreasonable or impossible.

What would a compromise look like in this situation?

My suggestion for a compromise was for them both to work together to find a new, no-kill home for the cat, without a particular time limit, but as soon as possible. Doesn't seem so unreasonable to me.
posted by lampoil at 8:01 AM on June 10, 2009


When I was a young boy living in Albania, I had a pet cat with three legs named Minerva. Minerva, of course, was the Roman name for the Greek goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and the inventor of music. As a youth I was obsessed with the fine art of weaving - oh the hours I spent perched over our loom, sending the shuttle skittering back and forth as I painstakingly made a new blanket for the family bed or some other luxury. I would lay awake at night, scheming on ways I might steal a flock of sheep from a neighboring village so that I might get more wool for my passion.

Anyway, this obviously explains why I named the cat, a Christmas gift from my Uncle Berdorf, Minerva - it was my hope that with her at my side my skills at the loom would reach previously unattainable heights - that people would come from all the surrounding villages to watch my hands deftly play across my loom, and that, with Minerva's charity, I might one day make it to the Tirana School of Fine Loom Craftsmanship on a scholarship of some sort, as our family had no means to send me forth.

Unfortunately, my dreams were shattered when the cat, the poor cat, frolicking in the fields beyond our home, stepped on an land mine, some relic of the Graeco-Italian War, and exploded in a vapor cloud of blood and fur.

Oh, how I wept. And that very night, burned the family loom.
posted by kbanas at 8:03 AM on June 10, 2009 [16 favorites]


Hell, I wouldn't even know how to boil my wife.

She'd need butchering first.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:09 AM on June 10, 2009


The OP said her cat wakes her husband early in the morning, 4-6 hours after going to bed. That's annoying, but calling it sleep deprivation is a pretty big exaggeration.

There's a lot of research done on the cumulative effect of sleep debt, that disagrees with you.

In an odd synchronicity, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine was totally spamming the Eurkalert board earlier this week with some relevant info...




Stable marriage is linked with better sleep in women - her sleeping thru the night means she loves him.

conversely, his Poor sleep is associated with lower relationship satisfaction in both women and men.

and if they are 19, Older adults less affected by sleep deprivation than younger adults during cognitive performance, so it's likely us old geezers really don't remember how bad it can be.

Research has shown a Link found between poor sleep quality and increased risk of death.
posted by nomisxid at 8:15 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Xamboni! ... and, oh fuck it heres 2¢, I'm wondering why nobody's made the analogy, "what if the husband in this case were allergic and made the same ultimatum?" Because lack of sleep can hinder me as much as a good allergy anyday.
posted by not_on_display at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


kingjoeshmoe: But to me (also clueless), it doesn't seem like a shock collar for a cat is any worse than one for a dog.

For one thing, the skin on a dog's neck is much thicker than the skin on a cat's neck, especially in the throat area. Vets don't even recommend shock collars for dogs.
posted by desjardins at 8:26 AM on June 10, 2009


"Get a divorce"...yeah, great. Well I'm sure the majority of that comes from the people that have 48 cats in their apartment...and 0 friends. You really gotta check the source of the advice as well on mefi.

I mean there still are "anonymous" people that ask all sorts of questions about their messed up relationship...who do you think those people are? They are us (in the aggregate). So if you do get the "get a divorce because the husband can't accept the cat" advice...understand the source that is doling it out.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:26 AM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Toxoplasmosis at work!
posted by jabberjaw at 8:36 AM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Putting it altogether, surely I'm not the only person who wondered if the issue with the cat is perhaps a prequel to the OP being physically abused by her husband.

You're insane. There's no evidence of spousal abuse or animal abuse. Sacrificing a good night's sleep is a hell of a lot to ask of anybody, especially over an animal. For all you know, the husband may love his wife very much, but after a whole year (!) of waiting and hoping things get better, just finds the current no-sleep situation untenable. Maybe he has a high-stress job and his performance is suffering? Certainly it's not unthinkable, and (from what evidence we have) a lot more likely than making the quantum leap to spousal abuse.

My god, is there anybody who you do not suspect of spousal abuse?

(or perhaps you now suspect me of wifebeating?)
posted by Afroblanco at 8:36 AM on June 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


There's a lot of research done on the cumulative effect of sleep debt, that disagrees with you.

I'm not saying it's the healthiest, but it's what most people deal with for at least some part of their lives and most manage to get through it without threatening to put down their partners' pets. People are implying that he's hardly getting any sleep, and that it excuses his unreasonable ultimatum, when that's not the case.
posted by lampoil at 8:44 AM on June 10, 2009


I have a feeling that a lot of people posting in that thread live alone with their cats. And since when does SPCA automatically equal murder? The cat is housetrained and socialized and there are a lot of no-kill shelters out there. What a bunch of hysterical bullshit.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2009


There's no evidence of spousal abuse or animal abuse.
There's clearly animal abuse; giving a cat a shower for punishment is abusive. And the howling all the time the poster is in the shower makes one just a little curious about how the cat is treated when the poster isn't around.
Spousal abuse of the psychological variety seems to be present, as well, in the form of ultimatums, as well as possible spousal neglect by the poster, if the husband truly had been less forcefully trying to come to terms with the problem for a year.
posted by fish tick at 8:57 AM on June 10, 2009


We've had her for a year, she's now three years old. We have tried ignoring her: I think in part she meows just to entertain herself. We've tried punishing her by spraying her with water (she doesn't mind a little water) and completely dousing her in the shower (she may or may not settle down for one night, but starts the next night, and getting up multiple times a night to douse her is more disturbing than her behavior).

So by your definition, they're both animal abusers. Everything else you mention is pure conjecture.

And the ultimatum? Well, have you thought that maybe he quite literally couldn't take it anymore? That he really would leave if he couldn't start getting some sleep? Really, I feel nothing but sympathy for the guy.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2009


What a bunch of hysterical bullshit.

OMG YOU SAID THE H-WORD! WHY DO HATE WOMEN!?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:05 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love Askme, truly and dearly, but this has not been our finest hour.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:10 AM on June 10, 2009


"Uh guys the googling/stalking of these people is wildly inappropiate. Do it to satisfy your curiosity, sure, but I really don't think we need to share our findings here."

I don't know if you're referring to me, but I didn't "share any findings." She says she's 19 right on her profile, and it's not a big reveal to say they're newlyweds.
posted by HopperFan at 9:12 AM on June 10, 2009


OMG YOU SAID THE H-WORD! WHY DO HATE WOMEN!?

I know this is MeTa and all, but allcaps hyperbolizing positions you don't actually hold that are touchy ones here on the site is not really so much fun.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 AM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know if you're referring to me, but I didn't "share any findings." She says she's 19 right on her profile, and it's not a big reveal to say they're newlyweds.

I wasn't referring to you, but I maintain that the amateur psychological profiling is irrelevant to the AskMe question at hand.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:27 AM on June 10, 2009


You're probably right. I think the framing of the question invited some of the profiling, though.
posted by HopperFan at 9:37 AM on June 10, 2009


I didn't stick around for the thread after reading the first few responses, but didn't anybody suggest that perhaps they should find a one-bedroom apartment where they can close the bedroom door, instead of living in a studio?
posted by jokeefe at 9:38 AM on June 10, 2009


And since when does SPCA automatically equal murder?

Without knowing the particular shelters available we can't really know. Here (google cache of pdf) is one source indicating kill rates ranging from 6% to 53% for a selection of shelters. As someone pointed out in the thread, more cats are euthanized than dogs (though I don't have any hard facts here to pull off the internet, you can find possibly hyperbolistic claims of kill rates as high as 98% for cats at some shelters). My assumption was that if the OP didn't want to send the cat to one of the local shelters, she had done her homework (she was explicit that all the no-kill shelters were full). A later update did indicate that the shelter they got the cat from didn't seem so bad, but returning a cat to a shelter (especially in absence of hard information about the shelter, which she may or may not have) is sort of like flipping a coin.

Also a more general comment, thinking it is kind of crazy to issue a two-week ultimatum with no relenting regardless of what happens to the animal at the end of two weeks does not entail living alone with a cat and no friends. It isn't even the same as thinking cats are more important than marriages. I don't know why so many people seem to want to make this equation here...surprise, surprise, things are more complicated than a simple black and white choice.
posted by advil at 9:42 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


That said, she doused a cat in the shower and wants to put an electric shock collar on it to try and make it shut up?

The machines in the Saw series of films are all about teaching life changing lessons right? She needs to make one for the cat. If it learns its lesson they are ahead, if not, then it will save on a trip to the vet. Win-win. If she videos it, internet fame lies ahead.
posted by biffa at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2009


jokeefe writes "but didn't anybody suggest that perhaps they should find a one-bedroom apartment where they can close the bedroom door, instead of living in a studio?"

Studios tend to be significantly cheaper than 1 bedrooms.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on June 10, 2009


Good lord. I married when I was 18, and we moved into an efficiency, with 2 cats. Looking back, it's a wonder all four of us didn't die horribly. Cut both of these people some fucking slack.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:00 AM on June 10, 2009


You know, there is a lot of hysteria on the thread, but there is also a great deal of helpful advice... so it's not like every single poster just jumped in screaming "DTMFA!" You don't even have to do that much sifting to find that the good advice seems to outweigh the crazy noise; it's just that the craziness stands out so much more.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:21 AM on June 10, 2009


I sorta wonder if this isn't just a brilliant, subtle SEO campaign for feliway.
posted by mullingitover at 11:26 AM on June 10, 2009


I sorta wonder if this isn't just a brilliant, subtle SEO campaign for feliway.

What is feliway, anyway? I keep thinking of Fenway Park for cats whenever I read it. (Says the dog person in the thread.)
posted by scody at 12:22 PM on June 10, 2009


I thought the substance of the advice was fine: insist on more time than two weeks; give up on punishment because cats don't respond to it; try a white-noise machine; while you're doing all of this, look assiduously for a new home for the cat, because the two of you don't seem well-equipped to care for one.

The panic in the answers about killing the puddy-tat matched the OP's tone in asking the question.

I see what this MeTa OP is saying, but sometimes there's no answer that gets the AskMe OP everything she wants: keep this cat, keep her husband happy. If the answer is, "you can't keep a cat from meowing" (and I don't know anything about cats, but that sure seems likely to me), then that's what people are going to say. She said in a follow-up that people "weren't getting it," but I think she's the one who's not getting it: she can't have everything she wants.
posted by palliser at 12:55 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I thought DTMFA stood for Dump The Moronic Feline Already!
posted by wendell at 2:01 PM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I feel like some people who are crying "abuse" have spent too much time playing with their Jump To Conclusions mats.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:25 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


holy crap this thread got crazier than the original. nothing like a metatalk to make a situation worse.
posted by nadawi at 2:44 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is feliway, anyway?

Do you want the local rate, or what they charge in town?
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:56 PM on June 10, 2009


Well, hey, I'm glad to know about the white noise machine, anyway. A month or two ago I did a bunch of searching 'round these parts for ways to get our gang to STFU overnight, with mixed success. And I'll say that being woken up every day at 3 am, and for a while with one cat every 20 minutes from then until about 5:30, can make a person cranky & crazy. Especially if there are two people who can share the crazy.

The original "your cat is just being a dick" did get a good laugh in our house, though.
posted by epersonae at 5:23 PM on June 10, 2009


The original "your cat is just being a dick" did get a good laugh in our house, though.

Y'know, I'm glad she's good for SOMETHING because every single day I look at her and ask - very loudly- "WHY DO I KEEP YOU?!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:57 PM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


How was this letting her down? One of the things I like best about AskMe is when we step outside the stated terms of the question when we believe it's the most appropriate way to help the asker. (Here's a favorite example.) Sure, maybe in this case the tone from some of the commenters could have been better, but fundamentally there were a lot of reasons to think that that the asker would not be best served by looking at this as "If you don't have an answer on how to train a cat in two weeks not to meow at night, you shouldn't be saying anything at all." (Even if you don't think cats are worth inconveniencing people at all, don't you think that the situation presented to us in the initial post-- "My husband has given me two weeks to solve a difficult problem or else he insists that something I love be relegated to probable death"-- is reasonably likely to indicate bigger problems that aren't going to just go away even if we could give her a real answer to her stated question?)

What is feliway, anyway? I keep thinking of Fenway Park for cats whenever I read it.

I don't know either, but every time I read it, I can't help but think of Milliways, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

posted by EmilyClimbs at 10:04 PM on June 10, 2009


I don't know either, but every time I read it, I can't help but think of Milliways, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

I feel exactly the same way!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:07 PM on June 10, 2009


"Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. By mimicking the cat’s natural facial pheromones, Feliway® creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat's local environment. "

It feels wrong, like you're tricking your cat into being happy, but it works.
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:18 PM on June 10, 2009


AskMe: sometimes like Dear Abby. On acid.
posted by ostranenie at 5:31 AM on June 11, 2009


AskMe: sometimes like Dear Abby.

More like Dear Tabby.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:11 AM on June 11, 2009


ok, i'll go kill the cat myself.
posted by snofoam at 2:56 PM on June 11, 2009


From the AskMe thread:

> Instead I got responses on how not only is the cat just quirky but accusing myself or Husband to be sociopaths

lolwut?
posted by ostranenie at 4:47 AM on June 12, 2009


That was one sentence out of an otherwise pretty sane long response from the OP. Admittedly this would have all gone better if she had included the sort of details that were in her follow-up comment in her original question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:47 AM on June 12, 2009


posted by DU A woman writes in to ask for help on training a cat, and is instead told to get a divorce. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In theaters Christmas 2009.

Other possible titles, all but one outside the Ryan/Hanks canon:

How to Train a Cat in Ten Days

Joe vs. Fluffy

You, Me and Fluffy

When a Man Loves a Cat

... This would be a great parlor game. We could go on for days.
posted by brina at 11:40 AM on June 14, 2009


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