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'AITA for asking my girlfriend to give away her cat because of my allergies?' UPDATED

'AITA for asking my girlfriend to give away her cat because of my allergies?' UPDATED


"AITA for asking my girlfriend to give away her cat?"

Heres the original post:

To give some background, my girlfriend (f23) and I (m24) have been dating for almost 2 years and, after we both discussed moving in together, I asked her to move-in to my apartment (its much larger than her's, so it made sense). She and her cat, Riley, moved-in and it was great. She has had Riley for 8 years now and it brought her tons of happiness.

The issue is I am allergic to super allergic. I didn't know this was a problem before we moved in together, as, while we were dating, my symptoms were so mild that I just didn't care. I would maybe have a cough and some watery eyes, but there was so much vegetation in her apartment, I just chalked it up to the pollen (another thing I am allergic to)

After she moved in though, my allergies became severe. I started developing hives, I start coughing, and it became difficult for me to breathe. I tried seeking medication and I tried 3 different antihistamines (got desensitized) and the allergy shots (tried them for two months, saw no difference and had to quit due to mounting cost). Eventually, after this, I decided to ask my girlfriend to give away her cat.

But, as I wanted Riley to have a great home I made a list of possible people that could take her in and made sure they were all great people (yes they confirmed they would take her in). Then when I finally asked, she said she wasn't giving away Riley to an animal shelter. I said of course I would never ask her to do that, and that's when I showed her the list with all the families.

I proposed this to her and that's when she got very angry at me and left the house with Riley. AITA?

What OP said to his gf:

To be fair to me, the exact words I said were : "Lindsey [(fake name)], my allergies are getting really really bad. I know you love the cat and I love it too but its getting really difficult to manage. There are seriously times I just don't want to come back here because the hives get so bad. I love you and I know you love the cat but I think it might be time to discuss giving it away to someone.

To which she replied: "I'm not giving away Riley to a shelter." To which I replied: "I completely understand that, and I would never ask you to. Now just to make sure Riley is comfortable, I made a list of homes it could go to. Its just some options, you don't have to pick any one of them. Its just some people who I think might be a good fit for Riley" And then she lost it at me..

How did he not notice before:

"I did not know I was allergic to cats, before she moved in. I just thought it was pollen as I had taken an allergy test when I was 12 and it only showed pollen. I got allergy tested for cats recently, and it was positive."

"I have other allergies and it wasn't as intense in the beginning. It was just some rashes and some mild coughing. I'd get watery eyes but I'd just chalk that up to the weather or pollen. It was never this bad. I developed symptoms but never was it this bad."

Edit: Comment alluding to why she needed to move in:

"She also had a roommate, who was kind of awful to her, and she was in the midst of trying to find new housing, which is why she was always at my place."

Take allergy shots, meds, people have lots of suggestions:

"I've tried the injections (too expensive), I've tried 3 types of antihistamines. I've tried benadryl to sleep and so much other stuff. I either get desensitized to it or it just doesn't work."

What part of the cat are you allergic to?

"The issue is its the saliva not the fur. If it was the fur, it would be easier with air purifiers."

People accuse him of not working hard enough to wash his hands or avoid touching the cat: "The thing is, the cat licks itself everywhere. The saliva gets on my gf's hand or something and if she touches me, then we're back to square one. At this point, I can either have no one in my house touch the cat or my gf doesn't touch me. I don't know what else to do."

"I work hard all day. I got barely any time to myself and I honestly to dry to wash my hands regularly and I constantly ask her to wash her hands. But then if the cat touches the couch or something, and I sit on the spot, again the same problem. My own house has become like landmines. Its frustrating."

"I do clean my house, but having to watch where I sit in my own house, to have to lay down fucking sheets on my couch before I sit down because I keep getting an allergic reaction is too much. Like I can't even sleep in my own bed. I already wash my hands, that's not the issue. I just feel like my own house is a landmine field."

People accuse him of just not liking the cat and looking for a reason to get rid of Riley: "What? Wtf no. Riley, honest to god, has always been a nice cat. It never really bothered anyone. Plus it was nice, before the allergies, having a furball running around the house. I honestly didn't mind the cat. It was never a big issue for me. It was like a bonus, but ofc it was never as dear to me as it was to her."

One more thoughts from OP:

Can I be honest with you. I am really trying to understand, but I sincerely don't understand it. Like I know she really loves the cat but it feels like people treat their animals like their children.

Like to give a comparison, I had a mutt once, Max. He was the best dog ever and I took care of him, made his meals and did everything for him till he died at 13. Now I would be hurt if someone told me to give away max...but honestly, if I knew it was going to someone in the family...I don't think I would care as much.

The other thing that I think is important is that there may be a cultural difference here that I may not be considering. I am Punjabi, in my culture, people would even give their kids to their siblings or relatives if they couldn't have any or if the parents believed they would have a better life with them. For instance, my aunt is raising a baby that is not her's biologically but that of her husband's sister.

By contrast, my girlfriend is Persian and white, so I guess maybe there is something there. But then again, I just don't conflate animals with babies anyway. I don't get it."

Commenters overwhelmingly agreed: YTA

The next day, he posted this update:

Alright you guys have been messaging me for an update and, luckily, its all worked out (we had a 3 hour conversation). So firstly, I want to calm all of you. Riley is fine, she is back in her bed and my girlfriend and I are fine. So, after the reddit post, she came back home and we had a talk.

Firstly, I apologized, I didn't mean to use the list to corner her, I just wanted to make sure she was comfortable if it came to that sort of a decision. She forgave me (I am sometimes extremely pragmatic to the point of becoming unintentionally callous sometimes, its something I am working on).

She also apologized for not being as responsive, my allergies are getting out of hand, and she said she felt awful for not having been more caring. She said, she thought I was dealing with it and it felt like what I said came out of nowhere.

So, then we sat down and had the hard talk. It was a difficult one but, due to the gravity of these allergies, she said she'd be ok with giving Riley to her parents to take care of. Then (because she was really sad about it), I said Riley can stay. A few redditers had reached out and helped me make a more cohesive strategy. I worked with them and then a few friends to recalculate some finances.

I have made a more concentrated strategy to fight this thing. Before I say it, please note I said that these were just my thoughts and that if at any point she disagreed we can completely scrap this (I am trying not to make the same mistake twice). The following is a very very condensed version (the original has costs of each and etc.):


- We bathe Riley every 4 days (reduced from 1/week down to 4 days). Change its diet to the Purina Live Clear. Use Arm & Hammer Dander Reducing Shampoo. Install an automatic litter box.

- I switch to Levocetirizine if my allergist deems it necessary. Otherwise I stay on desloratadine.

- Install the Hepa filters (three, one in bedroom, one in living-room/kitchen, one in office)

- Make a no-go zone Make sure the cat doesn't sit on the recliner, go into the office or the bedroom. Also keep it off the kitchen surface.

- Vacuum the house regular as well as use the vacuum steam cleaner regularly

- Regularly use a damp cloth to clean the cat. Wash our hands regularly.

- Allergy Shots (although they haven't worked for me so far, I've been informed by an allergist that I may need to wait at least a couple more months to begin to see results).

- Pray to god that the bloody allergy shots kick in, so I can stop doing all this.

*EXTRA: Allerpet: did some research, data shows that its benefits are not conclusive. It just seems its no different to running a damp cloth on the cat, which I intend on doing anyway.

If you have any suggestions let them know. She liked it, although she felt maybe we should discuss some of the details. I am doing the best I can and hope everything is better if I can get acclimated.

Relevant Comments:

People say he shouldn't bathe the cat that much:

"I'll hold off on it for now. I will ask the vet, what the right course of action is for Riley and I'll ask my Allergist what the right course of action is as well. If they recommend bathing her every once a month then I'll do that, if they say once a week then that."

Comments from the Girlfriend (same account)

"Hi, this is her. While I appreciate your input, I really do love him and he loves me. We are hoping the allergy shots become more effective and that this is a temporary arrangement. I know he can be a little blunt and overly pragmatic but he truly has a very kind heart.

Furthermore, I know he doesn't like showing it but he does care for Riley. He called 12 different vets today to find out answers to the bathing question after everyone here recommended not bathing her every 4 days (*Thank you for that)."

"To be very honest with you, she is my bestfriend. She's been there with me for 8 years. I don't want to give her away. My boyfriend works very late and at times, she's all the company I have. I know this will be hard, but I don't want her to be away from me. I also don't want to be away from him.

I am willing to put in the extra-work and I am going to try. I have already gotten a suggestion for waterless shampoo. I will ask the vet if its possibly a solution. Maybe we can use it on her instead of constantly bathing her. He has been trying the shots for 2 months now. The doctor said it could take anywhere from 4-8 months to kick in. We'll see how it goes."

Sources: Reddit
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