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Teen Balks After Mom Asks Him To Get Rid Of His Cat So His Allergic Stepbrother Can Come Visit

teen petting a cat
Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

Before someone adopts a pet, they must be prepared for a lifelong commitment to that animal.


Pets aren’t something that can be disposed of when they become inconvenient. And anyone who understands that would never dream of ditching their pet.

A teenage boy who loves his cat is dealing with being asked to get rid of it by his mother. After refusing, he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Chasperi asked:

“AITA for telling my mother I would always choose my cat over my stepbrother?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (16, male) live with my dad. My mother lives with her new husband and my stepbrother(13), both of whom I’ve only met once at the wedding.”

“Her new husband doesn’t want me to visit her at their place since he’s worried about my dad knowing where she lives and visiting and trying to rekindle their past relationship.

“So she visits me instead.”

“The guy thinks that there is ‘less risk’ with her only being over half an hour each visit and one visit per month, than if dad can visit whenever dad wants.”

“She wants me to spend time with my stepbrother, but couldn’t bring him over since he is severely allergic to cats, so she asked me if I’d be okay with getting rid of my cat.”

“I told her no.”

“She protested, saying that if I don’t then I won’t ever get to know my stepbrother. So I told her I don’t care and that I will always choose my cat.”

“My mother was rather upset when she left. Said that I shouldn’t have been ‘so dismissive’ of her feelings like that.”

The OP summed up their conundrum. 

“I might be the a**hole for what I said since it was entirely dismissive of my mother’s feelings.”

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 unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Your mother is the one who needs to work out her issues with her clingy, jealous husband. His insecurities shouldn’t result in your having to get rid of a beloved pet.”

“And his ‘logic’ is baffling. He’s jealous of your father and the possibility of your mother getting back together with him, so his solution is to send your mother over to your father’s house to visit you?”

“Something isn’t right there.” ~ Ajstross

“So you see your Mum for 6 hours a year and she’s expecting you to get rid of your cat so your stepsibling can come with her for what, an hour a year?”

“Or are they planning on offloading him on your family as you are such a good babysitter? Get your Dad involved to set some boundaries if he isn’t involved already.”

“Your mother is very cruel if she accepts this. NTA.” ~ Timely_Egg_6827

“Okay, so just to get it out of the way, NTA. That’s f*cking asinine.”

“Tell her there won’t be any relationship with either her husband or his son as long as you aren’t even allowed to be at their house.”

Second, our ‘stepdad’ basically says ‘hey I don’t want you to rekindle your relationship with your ex so go spend some time at his house’?”

“Seriously? And that makes sense to him?” ~ Petentro

“My money is on new hubby has a lot of money and the mother is after that and will tell her son whatever lie she needs to to keep him away. NTA.” ~ Round-Pirate7286

“Nope. No, no, no. She can ask all she wants but just, no. NTA.”

“I’m curious, she thinks you’re being dismissive of her feelings? What about your feelings?”

“She’s being pretty damn dismissive of those…and she’s supposed to be the adult here.” ~ IamIrene

“Seriously. NTA.”

“The fact that he didn’t get to meet this husband or stepbrother in the entire time the mother and husband were dating or engaged is insane.”

“Unless it was a super quick dating and engagement period but still, only once and on the wedding day? His mom and stepdad are insanely weird.” ~ inezzle

“NTA—you don’t know him and you’re not required to get to know him.”

“If it was so important to her, she would’ve introduced him prior to her getting married.”

“Keep your cat. Your mom and her controlling husband and his kid can kick rocks.” ~ Altruistic_Isopod_11

“NTA, your mom should whip her husband into the street with a sandal and tell him to apologize to you. Never heard such a terrible reason before in my life.”

“She married the definition of insecurity.”

“Or she’s just f*cking lying, cuz let’s be honest, it’s the 21st century—it would barely take a phone call to set-up a meeting between your mom and dad if that flame of passion was really still burning that bright.”

“It’s insane that she’d be mad at you for not wanting to get rid of a pet for someone you don’t even know, compared to her husband whose insecurities prevent HIS WIFE’S SON from visiting her.”

You don’t owe your parents interest in their new partners—sure it’s better to be on good terms with them. But your stepdad is the one that’s f*cking that over, not you.”

“And your mom is too obsessed with her new partner to realize that he’s the issue. But that’s usually how it goes.” ~ ProblemCouple

“NTA. She picked her worthless new husband over you in every way.”

“I’m glad you’re keeping the feline family member who actually loves you. F*ck your egg donor.” ~ Timely-Structure123

“NTA. Cat is family, that boy is not.”

“And tell your mother she is an a**hole for dismissing your feelings for your cat. Seriously, the audacity of that heartless woman.”

“Wanting to throw out YOUR cat because she wants a spawn of her new husband to visit you.”

“Also, I encourage you to be extra vigilant. One day your cat might ‘escape’ while your mother is visiting.” ~ -KristalG-

“NTA. She has no right to tell you what to do. You don’t live with her and someone else’s allergies are not your problem.”

“If your dad allowed the cat, then who does she think she is? She wants you to bend over backwards for someone you don’t know, but she’s not willing to bend for you.”

“You’re OK, don’t back down. Tell your dad her half-witted comment. Not cool.” ~ Glittering-Arm-1686

“Who would marry someone that won’t allow your minor child to come visit?”

“NTA. She could take both of you out to dinner, bowling, something if she wanted you to bond.”

“Keep your cat.” ~ Jazzy_Bee

“NTA. She can’t—and shouldn’t try—to force a relationship with him on you.”

“Whatever the story is around the divorce, your parent’s relationship and your relationship with your mother sounds toxic as hell.”

“No 16-year-old should be expected to process their family falling apart so easily that they can accept a new stranger as family without reservation.”

“Honestly, ya’ll should consider some family therapy to get through this whole issue.” ~ artratt

“Tell her you’d just loooooove to get to know him, so when is she taking you guys out for pizza? To the movies?”

“She’s full of it, otherwise she would have done this already. NTA.”

“Honestly, if she keeps pushing and refusing everything but ‘get rid of the cat’, my response would be ‘why would I get rid of my cat on the say so of the random female relative I see for 30 minutes once a month? That’s certainly not a parent’.” ~ MaddyKet

The OP provided an update.

“I called her to talk about this.”

“Asked her if her husband is so worried about my dad knowing where she lives, why couldn’t she just pick me up and drive me there?”

“Dad doesn’t have to know the address. He doesn’t have to take me there.”

“She was stumped for a minute before answering. And it just made things worse.”

“She admitted she made up the jealousy issue to hide the real reason her husband doesn’t want me over at their place.”

“The guy has a couple of Patek Philippe watches that he is ‘very protective of’ and is worried I might see it and ‘not be able to help myself’.”

“I’m part Cambodian on my dad’s side. Grandma’s a Cambodian refugee. Might be why he doesn’t trust me since Cambodians are hated in our country.”

“She visits only half an hour a month, not because her husband only allows that much time, but because she was afraid I’d start asking questions.”

“Thought it would hurt me less if I believed that the issue is adult jealousy than her husband thinking I might steal from him.”

“I asked her if she even bothered to stand up for me and tell him I would never steal his watches. She was silent.”

“Then I told her that now I’m even more disgusted with her than before, when she wanted me to give up a family member for a kid I don’t even really know.”

“Other than that one meeting at her wedding. And that she should be ashamed of herself.”

“She said she was sorry and won’t bother me again. So we’re done now.”

“No more seeing each other. No contact from now on.”

The update did nothing to change the judgment of NTA.

“You did well. If no one has said this before, I’m proud of you.”

“Her story stunk to high heaven, since she could come visit you at your house. I suspect the worry about you stealing is equally false. He could simply lock up his valuables if he had any concerns.”

“If she’s now wealthy, it might be more likely she doesn’t want you to see that and have your father demand more in child support because she’s that shallow.”

“That’s a hard pill to swallow, but she’s worthless. Your dad sounds like a gem. NTA.” ~ pflickner

While estrangement from a parent is unfortunate, it sounds like the parent—the adult—made all the wrong choices.

Sometimes family estrangement is the best outcome.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.