What NOT to Say….
So you are dating a wonderful person and you’ve realised that they are full-on pet lovers, but sadly you are not really keen on the four-legged variety. The thoughts flood your mind that they may sleep with their pets or even worst… allow their cat to perch on the kitchen bench! Heavens above! So what should you say, and more importantly, NOT say to a pet lover?
It’s no surprise that many non-pet loving people completely clash with those who adore creatures of all shapes and sizes. There have been countless debates and arguments over what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to owning a pet.
Many cannot imagine life without their adorable furry friends, while others couldn’t think of anything worst. So what happens when love crosses the line and a non-pet lover falls in love with a crazy cat lady?
Firstly, for those who do not own pets, there are some things you need to know about those of us who adore our companion animals:
1. Yes… we know we have cat and dog hair on our pristine, black coat, but we don’t really mind. If it’s an important occasion or if the cat has taken to our black suit during the night (they do this, very frequently, particularly white, long-haired cats), we may be inclined to use a lint roller. No matter how good the lint roller is, chances are one or two white hairs are still in the zones we couldn’t reach, during the frantic last minute roll before we left for/hurried to work. It’s OK…it’s only hair; our heads are full of the stuff.
2. Yes… I hug my dog and cat. Sometimes I even talk to them in a baby voice and may refer to them as my ‘fur babies’. No, I’m not crazy, most of us do it or at least we do when no one is watching.
3. I’m a responsible pet owner. This means that I can’t cancel my dog’s walk to meet you for a quick drink or leave my pet to their own devices for long periods of time. We can meet after the walk or better yet, come on the walk with me. Nothing screams romance to a dog owner than a long walk on the beach, while throwing a drool-soaked ball.
4. Yes… it’s a kitty litter box. Yes… the cat poops in it.
5. I know it’s not particularly nice, but it’s the law to pick up the dog poop and take it with us in this handy, little, blue bag. I will dispose of it in the nearest bin when we find one. And… no my hand didn’t touch the poo… promise.
If you find yourself on a date with a wonderful person, and you are not really a pet-lover, but it is clear from their screen-saver on their smart-phone that they are. This is what should you never say:
• “EWWWW your dog sleeps in the bed with you?” – Let the relationship develop first, before you attempt to raise the hackles of your newfound love.
• “Why do you call your cat snooky-boo-choo… isn’t their name Mazie?” – We all have pet names for our pets… some pets’ have several.
• “I don’t like dogs.” – Everyone likes dogs, if you had a bad experience with a dog, this could be the perfect situation to fall in love with mans’-best-friend all over again.
• “I HATE cats.” – Your cat lover will simply leave the table. Give it time. You may actually discover that the cat hates you also. These types of relationships take time to develop.
• “I’m not really an animal person.” – Give yourself a chance, you might surprise yourself.
• “Man, your dog is really ugly!” – There’s no reason to explain. It’s like calling someone’s child ugly. Even the ugliest dog in the world is beautiful to their owners. It’s just best not to go there.
• “Your cat looks like a rat.” – This one is from personal experience (and it was a friend commenting on my Siamese), needless to say, the friendship didn’t last very long.
• “I can’t stand dogs that drool.” – All dogs drool. Perhaps, when the relationship has grown, you can help train the dog not to beg (so that they basically drool out of sight).
Most importantly be honest. If you really don’t like cats, ask yourself why? Have you had a bad experience with a cat? Or a dog? A pet lover will be much more inclined to understand your dislike if there is a solid reason: “I don’t like dogs because I was chased by a dog every afternoon through the back alleyway, on my way home from school and they terrify me… ”
This is a pretty good reason and chances are your pet-loving partner will ensure the relationship takes time to grow, and is not rushed, to avoid anxiety. PLUS, you may actually be completely converted into a pet-loving person… stranger things have happened. Cats and dogs have a wonderful way of sneaking into the hardest of pet-hating hearts.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, one cat, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy (and let’s not forget the axolotls!); she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes. These are her personal thoughts and advice from many years of pet-ownership and working within the pet industry.