Pets are proven to improve our lives.
They can aid with blood pressure, depression and anxiety.
But what if you’re living with another person and they aren’t quite as enamored?
A man who found himself in conflict with his girlfriend over their cat turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
The Redditor asked:
“AITA for ‘training my cat to attack my girlfriend’?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I (26) have been living with my girlfriend (23) for over a year now. We have a 10 year old cat who lives with us in our apartment which is rather small.”
“We got this cat just over a year ago and none of the cats behaviour is new by any means.”
“I’ve had cats all my life and I enjoy playing with them. One thing I like to do is wiggle my hand or my toes under blanket and she will attack it (like most cats do).”
“I started doing this after I realized she kept trying to attack our feet under the covers when we moved. I try to play with her for a little while every day because we live in a small apartment and I don’t want her to be too bored.”
“Now to the issue.”
“When we were laying in bed the other night, my girlfriend slipped her foot out from under the covers right where the cat was laying and naturally, she attacked the foot with a bit too much enthusiasm and cut my girlfriends foot a bit. Mostly just a surface scratch but there was a little bit of blood.”
“Nothing too out of the ordinary for anyone who owns a cat.”
“My girlfriend then proceeded to blow up at me and blame me saying that it was my fault because I am ‘teaching the cat to attack her’ when I play with her. In my mind, this is completely ridiculous as I’ve owned cats all my life and hey, cats are gonna be cats.”
“They like to play, especially at night. Believe it or not, this escalated into a pretty large fight.”
“So tell me, am I the a**hole here?”
“I think it’s a bit ridiculous of her to push blame on me for something the cat did because she doesn’t know any better. She’s just bored and wants to play.”
The OP provided a photo of the feline offender.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors were pretty divided.
“NAH. You didn’t train your cat with the intention of attacking your girlfriends feet. Cats instinctively want to pounce on something moving under the covers, that’s how they play.”
“I think moving forward you could use toys more so than hands, which may help. Using your feet may make this issue worse.”
“Overall, you didn’t purposely train your cat to attack your girlfriend, but I can understand why she’s upset.”
“Using toys more than hands or feet may help this moving forward, but I don’t think either person is a complete a**hole here.” ~ unique_name_I_swear
“NTA, we called that game bedmouse, and I’ve never seen a cat who didnt do it. Trained to or otherwise.”
“All the cats we’ve had in my life have played bedmouse regardless of whether we used toys or not because it’s instinct. Our cats are meant to catch rats so I guess it’s never bothered any of us for them to play hunt either.”
“However as OP’s other comments have said they havent had the cat for 10 years. They’ve had it for one.”
“He didn’t teach it bedmouse, he just enjoys something it already knows.” ~ DrPepperDemon
“My sister was once woken up because she dreamed a crab was biting her toes, guess who played the role of the crab?” ~ witch_harlotte
“NTA. My dad named my cat ‘Trouble’ for doing exactly that. You don’t have to teach them how to play that game.”
“They’re born knowing.” ~ Leading_Goose50
“You can’t exactly teach a cat to suppress their instincts though. They are (smol) predators and attack what moves.” ~ cluelessathena
“I was ready to be on your side with the title, but seriously Dude, you ARE training the cat to attack anything moving under or coming out from under the bed covers.”
“Figure out a different way to play with your cat—something that isn’t getting the cat to attack something your GF will innocently be doing.”
“Buy one of those ribbon on a stick toys or something so the cat is learning to attack something very specific THAT IS NOT HUMAN BODY PARTS and it’s still getting to play. YTA.” ~ ParsimoniousSalad
“Yeah, I was ready to be on OP’s side—I’ve never NOT had a cat, and every cat I’ve ever met has an instinct to do it. It will happen on occasion, even if your cat is well trained and well played with.”
“However, that’s different than specifically playing with the cat using hands and feet. That teaches the cat that it’s a desirable behavior to do, which is literally training them to attack your hands/feet.” ~ hikikomori-i-am-not
“I feel like a**hole is too strong of a word here. So I’m gonna say NAH.”
“You obviously need to do more training with this kitty to at least know when is playtime and when is not. I play this game with my cats, but they know once I turn the lights off, playtime is over.”
“It works for me because I don’t hang out in bed with the light on, blah blah sleep hygeine.”
“That being said, it’s going to take longer for you to train an older cat if these habits are built in.”
“But unless this is a problem that has been building for some time, your girlfriend overreacted to a small scratch. If that game had bothered her leading up to now, she ought to have brought it up instead of just exploding on you.”
“It’s also weird that she took it so personally, that you trained it to attack her, instead of being annoyed at you not shutting down bad habits.” ~ Piebandit
“NTA. Cats are gonna cat. This is natural behaviour for a cat.” ~ Emotional-Ebb8321
“You don’t let puppies chew on your arm or hand because they will always think you are playing. The same with cats.”
“Don’t use your hands and feet as toys or they will always think of them as toys.”
“This may be a cat that doesn’t like self play toys. But, don’t substitute the human body for toys.”
“I don’t have a judgement because no one is really the AH here other than a disagreement with how to play with the cat.”
“He’s not doing it on purpose to hurt her, but he has to understand that he’s training his cat to see feet and hands as toys.” ~ babcock27
All cats are obligate carnivores—from the tiniest tabby to the largest lion. Their prey drive is extremely strong.
However as many Redditors pointed out, the OP can redirect his cat’s attack onto toys instead of hands and feet.