The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a housewife in my 40s living with my two sons. I’m annoyed with my husband, who lives away from home because of work, over his lack of understanding toward my two cats. Whenever he comes home on weekends, we get into fights because he complains about my cats. He said he can’t stand them shedding all over the bedding, and grumbles that the hairs stick to his clothes whenever he lies down.
I’m always telling him to use tape to get rid of the hair, but he hisses there must be mites in the fur and that I should keep the house clean for the sake of our children’s health. I clean whenever I can, but once a week or so is all I can manage — never mind trying to do it every day.
To begin with, I can’t stand how he whinges on and on about the cat hair.
He says sarcastic things like “Oh, my throat feels off these days. Must be those cat hairs.”
Isn’t there a way to get him to accept my pets?
Dear Ms. J:
I have a cat, too, which is allowed to live freely at home. But there’s one place that’s off limits: the bedroom. It’s because I started suffering from asthma as soon as I started keeping the cat.
A doctor told me that keeping a cat at home could be triggering allergic reactions, which could lead to asthma. In fact, I learned there are similar cases among adults.
But that didn’t mean I was going to abandon my cat, so I made my own rules: I remove its shedding with tape as soon as I spot it, and vacuum around the house as much as I can muster. I even bought a cordless one for frequent cleaning. To stay healthy, I figured such practices were inevitable.
I think your husband has every reason to say what he says.
Once you get asthma, you always have to carry around medication to help you breathe. Not to mention the challenge of frequent hospital visits.
Your husband might be lucky enough to not end up that way, but you should always be aware that keeping pets at home poses a certain risk.
In fact, given how you take your husband’s complaints about his throat as sarcasm, the one that needs to show understanding here might actually be you.
The cat hairs appear to have unearthed the real relationship issue here — a lack of mutual communication and care. I mean, why did you start keeping two cats, not just one, when you knew your husband doesn’t care all that much about pets?
Plus, your cats probably don’t appreciate being the cause of arguments whenever the weekend comes around.
Hazuki Saisho, writer