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Woman defends boundaries after in-laws criticize cat care; 'Enjoy never meeting our children.' AITA?

Woman defends boundaries after in-laws criticize cat care; 'Enjoy never meeting our children.' AITA?


"AITA for telling my BFs family they won't be in our lives once we have children if they don't learn to behave now that we have a cat?"


My boyfriend "Sam" (27M) and I (25F) have entered a stage in our relationship where we think we'll soon want to start a family. One thing I worry about though is his family. Mum, dad, younger brother "Matt" and his girlfriend "Susan" (both 24).

For some reason it feels like they are looking down on Sam. For example: If Matt takes out a small loan to renovate the flat, everyone is supportive, but when we do it, we are questioned about responibility (even though we are financially better off).

I'd understand if Sam and I had a history of beeing irresponsible, but we are doing really well for ourselves and never had any issues. Sam says he is used to it and it doesn't bother him, but he understands my frustration and is always really supportive and sticks up for me if need be.

Recently, we got a cat. She is a lovely, healthy ball of energy and we immediatly bonded with eachother. Matt and Susan also adopted a cat not long ago. Again, everyone was excited for them and we were hit with the, "you know a pet is a responisbility, right?" But whatever, let them talk.

Yesterday, we had invited his family. As soon as they entered, they started complaining. "Why is the scratching post here and not there?", "Why are you giving her this food brand?", "Why are you using this litter?".

They brought some toys and also some cat food (which they say is 100 times better than the one we use) which I didn't mind, but Susan also brought a supplement paste.

I thanked her, but told her to please take it with her again since I don't want to give my cat supplements which are not approved by her vet, who confirmed she is the picture of health last friday. At first she said okay, but when I came back from the toilet, I saw Susan giving our cat the paste.

I snatched the paste from her and told her she had crossed a line, and while his family tried to defend her actions because "she just wants to help", I said that their "help" is not appreciated and that I will no longer allow them to question everything we do.

I also find it highly concerning that they are okay with going explicitly against what I said and starting immediatly, I expect them to keep ther unsolicited advice to themselves and they will have to earn back our trust in respecting our wishes.

They said I was too dramatic over a cat, so I said, "If I can't even be comfortable around you regarding my cat, I sure as hell won't be comfortable having you around our kids!"

Before they could answer, Sam asked them to leave. He said our kids in the argument was a low blow, since we both know his family would never intentionally harm our kids.

He agrees with setting more boundries, but also asked me to apologize for this sentence specifically. I don't think that sentence makes me an AH, but maybe you guys have some perspective.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


I think you are right. This is exactly how they will behave. They are boundary-stomping know-it-alls. NTA whatsoever. I also don't think you should apologise, and I would work on Sam until he sees that; appeasing them on this is a slippery slope.


NTA. As for intent, show Sam the story of the grandmother who didn't believe her granddaughter was allergic to coconut oil and wound up killing the poor kid. These people have shown you who they are. Believe them.


NTA at all. People don’t come in someone else’s house and start dictating things. Giving advice is ok if well intended and you know when to stop but from what you explain, this is out of line. We have 2 dogs and people have to ask if they can offer them something. You’re right not to trust them because they seem to know better, more so when you have kids later.


NTA. They didn't intentionally mean to harm the cat but still decided they knew better than you and the vet. God forbid your children to be have an allergy or medical condition. They would be stomping all over to give them the "best treatment".

Looks like that in order to feel good about themselves they have to put Sam down. But it is getting dangerous. Repeat the favour. Take some top-end skin supplements and tell Susan how you've noted her skin needs work and these will really help. When she has meltdown and she will, then ask her how unsolicited help feels.


Reactionary approaches to parenting involves the time honoured cases of ‘I didn’t know a toddler could drown in the bath unsupervised!’ granny, and ‘I didn’t think a little bit would hurt them!’ relative that gave kids something they’re allergic to.

Kids can choke on food that’s too big for them, kids can catch dangerous illnesses from grandparents that kiss them as newborns despite being told not to. Oh, they never ‘intentionally’ hurt the little ones… kids are still dead though.

Your boyfriend’s approach to handling matters with what he’s responsible for and his family could easily end up with a child dead or disabled, and it would be his fault. Because at the end of the day he endorsed these people stomping over reasonable boundaries.

I do wonder if his family show more respect to a total stranger than they do him? If they do, use that as an example that clearly his family are wrong in their approach. I wouldn’t start a family with him until he’s been to therapy to get help evolving from being a doormat though.

Better to get that out the way now than jeopardising a kids childhood with all the chaos if he doesn’t have his priorities in order. Also OP, look closely at what he does regarding his family, as well as what he says.

Boyfriend could be only talking the talk and leave you high and dry when it comes to an actual boundary, or would you be able to even look at someone who set up one of the above situations because he couldn’t say no to his family? NTA.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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