My ex and I had been together for over five years before he finally popped the question. I was over the moon and threw myself into planning the wedding with everything I had. Then one day, a tiny furry creature showed up on my doorstep and changed everything.
Who doesn’t love animals? Well, my ex didn’t. Although we agreed to adopt a cat or a dog once we moved to the new place after we got married, when little Cleo the cat showed up, the first thing my ex wanted to do was bring her to a shelter, whereas I heard her meow and purr and I was in love. It took days of convincing but he finally allowed me to keep her as long as I agreed to take care of her on my own.
Animals cost money and he hated that. We both had good jobs and no kids to take care of, so it wasn’t as if we were strapped for cash. He’d buy video games or things for his car that cost hundreds of dollars and I wouldn’t say anything—after all, it was his money—but when I dared to buy Cleo a scratch pole, I had to listen to a lecture on not wasting money for days.
Picking up some cat litter is a small favor but it was a big deal to him. On the very rare occasions that I’d ask him to bring home some cat food or some sand for the litter box, his standard answer would always be, “Why? She’s your cat.” Eventually, I stopped asking altogether.
It’s normal for cats to shed, but he couldn’t handle it. Whenever he found a hair on his shirt, he’d sigh and walk with heavy steps to the kitchen drawer, get the lint roller, and remove the hair, acting as if it was the world’s biggest problem. No matter how many times I told him not to leave clothes in the living room, he still wouldn’t clean up after himself and then he’d blame me because they were covered in cat hair.
It’s cute when a cat plays, but he thought it was annoying. Cleo would run around the living room chasing her little mouse toy or play with the little ball hanging from her scratch pole and it would put my ex in the worst mood ever. He would complain that he couldn’t hear the TV even when she didn’t make a sound, or that he couldn’t focus on his phone with her running around like she did. Candy Crush isn’t that difficult, dude…
He thought “filthy animal” was a cute nickname. Everyone knows that when you have a pet, it has a regular name and then like 50 other “pet names” for being so cute. I called Cleo sweetie, baby, and basically any other term of endearment that came to mind, and hearing my ex call Cleo a “filthy animal” without any humor at all was shocking and pretty offensive, especially since he did so knowing that it would upset me.
He refused to do any chores now that we had a cat. Cleaning is even more important when you have pets, but my ex decided to stop altogether and leave it to me once we got Cleo. He’d say it wasn’t his responsibility anymore since the only reason the house was dirty was because of the cat. That made zero sense since our place got dirty even before we got the cat, but he stuck to his guns. He wouldn’t lift a finger.
He got off on scaring her. He called it “educating” her when I’d tell him to stop trying to terrify the poor animal and he insisted that he knew what he was doing. Maybe I could’ve understood his point of view if Cleo was scratching furniture or doing something really bad, but he’d yell at her even if she happened to be sitting where he wanted to sit. Eventually, whenever he walked into a room, Cleo would either run out or hide. It didn’t seem to bother him at all that she was afraid of him and wouldn’t come to him for cuddles or petting.
You don’t let animals suffer needlessly but he did. One night, I went out with some friends and since we hadn’t seen each other in a while, I planned to stay out late. I’d put Cleo’s food out already, made sure her little box was clean and that she had enough water. My ex didn’t have to do anything… and he didn’t, not even when she walked into the living room with a bloody paw. He just shut her in the bathroom so she wouldn’t make the furniture dirty and went to sleep. I only found out when I came home and spent the early morning at the vet’s office, where they took out a tiny shard of glass. Who does that?!
Having a pet together is like a test of sharing responsibilities and he failed miserably. I’m glad that my little ball of fur showed up right on time to show me my ex’s true self before I was trapped in a marriage with him. Now, it’s just me and Cleo for the foreseeable future. If I ever meet someone who wants to be in my life, they’d better treat Cleo as good or better as I do!
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