This is a story on Reddit.com about the 22-year-old man whose 21-year-old girlfriend wants him to get rid of his cat because cats are carnivores and she believes that it is unconscionable for vegans to own a cat because they hunt mice and eat meat. She thinks that the “very act of owning a pet is a violation of vegan principles” in the words of the man who writes about this.

Vegan woman dumps man with cat. Image: fair use pleaded.

The guy is distraught because he was, nine days ago, in a good relationship. He was asking for advice on Reddit.com. He’s been dating his girlfriend for seven months and they are “super compatible” in many ways and he thinks that she is an amazing person. He has done his best to please her by becoming a vegan himself.

They were planning to progress their relationship to the next level. Perhaps they could live together. His girlfriend sprung on him a bombshell which was that he had to get rid of his cat, Mittens. He loves his cat who he has lived with for three years. There’s no way he’s going to get rid of her. Her request made him mad and he left her apartment where they were discussing it. It pains him, he said, that a great relationship might be ending because of a “difference in ideology”.

Is she right to ask to get rid of his cat? I have read some of the comments because that is always useful and the general tenor is that she is wrong. I agree with them. It’s a question of respecting the views, behaviour and character of others. In this instance I am referring to her respecting his behaviour provided it is reasonable, which it is by all accounts. I’m also referring to his cat. You have to respect the cat. In successful relationships you respect the SO.

The concept of veganism is a human one. Humans should not impose their ideas on companion animals. Humans have a right to be vegan but it’s about the relationship between humans and animals. It is not about the relationship between animals and animals.

You can in fact buy vegan cat food which is based on plant protein with added supplements. I think it is quite popular and it has the requisite nutrients. However, I don’t think this satisfied her. She is making a stand on principle which is that she can’t live in the same home with an animal which is programmed to kill other animals.

She is failing to accept her boyfriend’s desires and wishes which is very damaging to a relationship if not fatal. It was suggested that she is finding an excuse to break up the relationship. This may be correct. She may have become nervous at the prospect of progressing the relationship to living together. Having become nervous she decided to find an excuse to part company rather than be more honest and tell him that she was unsure about their plans.

That happens sometimes. I have experienced it myself. I have to conclude that the girlfriend is in the wrong and the guy is in the right in this instance. In human-to-human relationships where there is a third party, namely a domestic cat belonging to one human, the other human has to accept the cat’s presence unconditionally from the outset otherwise the relationship is a nonstarter. That needs to be clarified from the get go.

I am sure that not all vegans would have her viewpoint. So this is more than just about being a vegan. It’s about the nature of their particular relationship and her attitude to it.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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