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My wife firmly rejects my wish to keep a cat as a pet

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a man in my 40s who runs my own business. My pet cat died, and I want to get another one. However, my wife is strongly against it.

I’m a cat lover, and I’ve had cats since childhood. After getting married, I also took in a stray cat that I found. I loved that cat, but it died last year. As I’ve almost overcome my sadness, I feel like getting another cat.

My wife works alongside me. Probably because of stress from the work, she once even said she’d leave home if I got a cat.

We recently argue with each other much more often, and I’m fed up with it.

I’ve never opposed anything my wife wanted to do, if there was no particular reason. I find the fact that she opposes my wish without a specific reason to be unfair.

I never imagined that the matter of keeping of a cat would cause such a serious rift between us. She gets so harsh, criticizing me for being selfish. Am I really that selfish a person? Although her saying she’d leave home is probably just a threat, I’m at a loss as to whether I should try bringing in a cat against her will.

D, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Mr. D:

It’s probably upsetting for you to hear her say she’d leave home. Regardless of how serious she is about doing this, she can’t help but express her will so forcefully.

First and foremost, she must have been aware you were a cat lover when she married you. However, she now firmly rejects your wish to have another cat.

You think she’s doing this for no reason. In my opinion, the problem lies not in the keeping of a cat, but in your recognition of her feelings.

Doesn’t anything strike you as you look back on your life with her? What do you think she was watching when you were watching your cat? You’ve probably never considered this.

An editor acquaintance of mine has told people in her circle that she would never keep a cat, no matter how lonely she feels. She’s afraid she’d feel less and less like getting married because her feelings of love would be satisfied by the pet.

That makes some sense to me. I can understand how failing to keep an appropriate distance from a pet can impact a person’s romantic relationships.

What is your relationship with your wife like? If your current situation remains unchanged, it would also a pity for your new cat. Setting the pet issue apart, you should lend a more intent ear to your wife. You must remember the well-known proverb: “Hotoke no Kao mo Sando made” (Even Buddha might not have mercy on you unless you mend your ways).

I mean there are limits to her endurance.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from Aug. 30, 2017, issue)Speech

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