Today has been a day for taking action. I wrote to the Tribune at large re: the unlinked advice columns, and also to Amy for some very (VERY) poor advice she gave to a fellow whose happy home and family of a girlfriend and 2 cats had just been shattered
First, his letter and her response. Then, my letter back to Amy. I’ve written to her before–only when her advice gets me really steamed, which isn’t that often–and she has yet to print a response. So here’s the issue:
Dear Amy: My live-in girlfriend of two years dumped me a couple of weeks ago, saying that she had never loved me.
Since the breakup I haven’t been doing well. We had two cats, one that I had adopted and one that we adopted together. I finally found an apartment. I had been under the impression that I would be taking both cats.
The two cats are very close, and I’ve always been the primary caretaker for them. I have been the one who cleaned the litter box and took them to the vet.
When I went to the apartment to pack, my ex told me that she wouldn’t let me take both cats.
She told me that if I took our cat she would feel bitter toward me and that we would never be able to have a relationship of any sort.
I was furious and upset. I cried and screamed, and my anger really scared me.
To be honest, I am still in love with her, and I don’t want to do anything that I know will cause me to lose her forever.
But I’m also horrified at giving up my cat, and horrified to think of my other cat crying all day and all night and refusing to eat, the way he did the only other time I separated them and took him to a new place.
Now I’m incredibly sad and lonely.
It seems like a lot to lose. Should I give up? And how can I deal with my anger, frustration and sense of loss when I do?
And Amy’s totally lame response:
Dear Lonely: Your ex sounds like a prize jerk who is holding your cats hostage while she emotionally blackmails you.
I hope that you recover from your hurt soon and that you are able to see how mean this is. It might help you to move on.
In terms of the cat you acquired together, you could take your ex to court and make a claim for custody—even though doing this would prolong this drama, which I don’t think is a good idea for you.
I agree that splitting up this feline pair is also probably not a good idea, but you should visit the cats to let them see you and curl around your ankles.
Your best bet at this point is to head to your local shelter to find a new pet (or two) to add to your family. Visit a shelter a few times to spend time with and play with all the cats. You might also consider volunteering at a shelter—homeless kitties need food and affection at all hours; volunteers make sure these animals are well cared for, and this could help you through your loneliest times.
OK, just reading that made me mad all over again. “Your ex is a jerk who is manipulating you by holding your cats. So you better let her keep both of them and go volunteer at the animal shelter.” What???? Plus, ahem…if SHE was the live-in girlfriend, why is HE the one who moved out? Anyway–I’ll let the letter speak for itself. Normally Amy is a huge advocate for pets and the people who love them. I feel like she really dropped the ball here.
I have to say I totally disagree with your advice to Lonely, who was heartbroken over the fact that his girlfriend, who unexpectedly dumped him, refused to give up the cat they had adopted together. (And based on the comments posted on chicagotribune.com, I don’t think I’m alone)
You imply that Lonely’s only options are 1) “prolonging the drama” by taking the girlfriend to court to sue for custody of the cat and 2) letting her keep both cats, but visiting them regularly. (How does option 2 NOT prolong the drama of interacting with this woman?)
This really surprised me–the girlfriend never said “If you take the cat, I’ll take you to court.” She said, according to her ex, that if he took the cat she would be “bitter” and unable to have a relationship with him. How convenient, since HE is already bitter, and she has in fact ENDED their relationship!
I couldn’t believe you didn’t say he should just take both cats and run, out of concern for the kitties, and for his own sanity. Cutting off the relationship with his ex would probably be the best thing he could do for himself and, as you state quite correctly, recognizing the manipulative trick she tried to put over on him should help him get over her.
Why, in this situation, should the thoughtless girlfriend who doesn’t take care of the cats get everything SHE wants, while the guy who’s had his world shaken loses it all?
Loyal Reader in Ann Arbor
And for you enraged cat lovers out there, here’s a little something to put some joy back into your Sunday. Check out Ninja Cat!