Have you ever been involved in a family feud over the keeping of a domestic cat? It might not be a family feud. It could just be a simmering argument leading to the formation of a grudge. Sometimes people do hold strong opinions about domestic cats. Some people love them while others hate them. I find it hard to understand how anybody can hate a domestic cat but some people do for various reasons one of which is probably a subconscious fear acquired sometime during their formative years.

Family feud over cat! I am taking a liberty.

What about this for a scenario? An adult daughter loves cats. She has a child who is 11 years of age. Her child has been allergic to cats from the outset. He was diagnosed with a cat allergy when he was a year old. His mother persists in keeping cats because she loves them. The child’s grandmother has never wanted to keep cats and tells her daughter that it is unfair on her child to keep a cat because it makes him miserable. That is her argument. It could be a constant issue because the child would tend to have persistent symptoms of a cat allergy despite using all the usual tricks and tips to minimise the reaction.

You can see how other scenarios can develop in which a daughter argues with her mother over the keeping of a domestic cat. What about this scenario? The mother believes that cats should be allowed outside. She firmly believes in the indoor/outdoor cat habitat. Her daughter insists that her cat should be kept inside even though she lives in an apartment because she feels the outside is too dangerous for her cat. This is a fair argument. In fact, both points of view are arguably reasonable but what if the daughter allows her cat, under pressure from a mother, to go outside? Her cat is killed on the road and she blames her mother. There is a rift. It is simmering. It comes back from time to time in conversations and it creates a minor split between mother and daughter.

What about this for another scenario? Mother comes to visit her daughter who has two children. The children’s mother has failed to properly educate her children in how to handle domestic cats. Her mother visits and sees the children mishandling the family cats. As a result, one of the cats scratches a child. The child screams. The child’s grandmother shouts at her daughter and says “I told you so”. She harangues her daughter in failing to explain to her children how a cat should be handled. The daughter argues back because she dislikes being told what to do by her mother. We have a family feud over the domestic cat and the parenting of a child or children.

There must be endless other potential disagreements, usually between daughter and mother, about the caretaking of domestic cats especially in respect of the cat’s behaviour concerning children. Another scenarios has just come to mind. A lot of people now believe that a child should be in close contact with a domestic cat even when an infant because it helps the child to develop a superior or stronger immune system providing protection against the usual bugs and pathogens that are a constant hazard to children. The grandmother may have less fashionable views and even believe that a cat takes away the breath of a child (an old woman’s tale) or that it is unhealthy for a child to be in a cot with a cat. This has the makings of a family feud.

In fact, the domestic cat could be the source of a family feud even before a child is born. Most of us know about toxoplasmosis. We know that if a mother is infected when pregnant it can affect the child’s health negatively and quite badly. This does not mean that a mother should get rid of her cat if and when she becomes pregnant but some mothers do this. Some mothers will insist that their daughter gets rid of her cat if she is pregnant. A daughter may dislike this because she feels that she knows better. She has read about the potential hazards and how to handle them. She is able to evaluate the situation properly but she feels that her mother cannot and dislikes being told what to do. Once again we have the potential for another family feud that may go on for quite a while.

Grandfathers could be drawn into the argument and be forced to take sides thus extending the dispute. Have you ever been involved in a family feud over domestic cat? Comments welcome!

For my part, I have never been involved in a family dispute about the family cat. Although there could have been one if I had spoken up. My mother loved cats but she tended to act on impulse to satisfy her personal desires to the detriment of the cat – sometimes. I tended to keep quiet because it was impossible to tell my mother anything 😉 .

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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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  • In most of these scenarios, these folks just need to grow up and be educated about the positives of cat ownership -- with the exception of the severe allergies. I would not put any human through that. Fortunately, my son is not allergic!! Although, in mild cases of allergies, there are plenty of OTC meds for that -- my only exception is SEVERE allergies. I understand that can happen. And, yes, humans ALWAYS need to educate little ones on the proper handling of ANY anipal! I blame the parent in that one for now teaching the child this, causing the scratch -- the cat is definitely NOT TO BLAME!!!!!

    As for me, when I was pregnant with my son, I wasn't yet allowed pets at my apartment. I had to visit my cat at my Mom's. After I had my son, Misty (the cat) couldn't get close enough to Tyler!! It was if she was protecting him, daring anyone to touch him -- it was rather funny!! I have lots of pics of my Mom holding Tyler on one arm, and Misty on the other. She loved Tyler! And my Mom was happy to oblige! There were never any pet feuds in my house growing up, or now, in my place -- which I am allowed to have cats now (different ownership). In fact, by the time Misty was 16, I was allowed to have cats, so she came to live with me. She was my first female, and was VERY attached to me. She lived until age 19 -- which at that time was literally half my life. Love my *kids*!! ♥♥♥

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