Members of a popular internet forum were stunned after one soon-to-be father explained the tension surrounding his pregnant wife and 16-year-old cat.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/aitapwaway (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said his wife, who is six months pregnant, recently developed a cat allergy and revealed the interesting compromise he came up with as a result.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for moving myself and my pregnant wife to her parents’ instead of rehoming my cat?” the post has received nearly 4,000 votes and 2,000 comments in the last day.
Beginning with the explanation that he has known his wife for seven years, and that the couple has been married for four, the original poster said his cat has been with him for nearly two decades.
“I have an indoor-only cat who I raised from a kitten to his current age of 16 years,” OP wrote. “My wife and I are the only people he’s been around regularly.”
Despite her familiarity with the cat, however, the original poster said his wife recently became allergic and requested the 16-year-old feline be moved to a new home—much to his dismay.
“My wife wants me to rehome my cat,” OP wrote. “I don’t want to do this – he’s old, he only knows me and my wife, he only knows our home, he’s not been around other people or animals.
“I think it will be very stressful for him and at this age it might just kill him,” OP added.
In an attempt to solve this tricky situation, the original poster said he proposed a compromise: move in with his in-laws while allowing the cat to continue living in the couple’s home.
“We can stay with her parents (who live 10 minutes away and have no issues with us taking the spare bedroom) until the baby is born and then if the allergies persist for her or the baby I can look into (very carefully) finding my cat has permanent new home,” OP wrote. “I’d check in on my cat every day.”
“My wife called me a huge a**hole for prioritizing my cat over her and the baby’s health,” OP continued. “I just don’t want to traumatize my cat over something that might be temporary.”
While approximately 10 percent of the US population suffers from general pet allergies, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, according to WebMD.
Though millions of Americans are allergic to cats, however, not all allergies present themselves during childhood, or early life at all.
MedicineNet, an online healthcare media publishing company, reports that people can develop allergies at any point in their lives and more specifically, that people frequently develop cat allergies later in life due to repeated exposure to allergens found in a cat’s fur, dander, saliva and urine.
Throughout pregnancy, many women develop multiple new allergies but in some cases, those allergies lessen over time.
Still, Oklahoma Otolaryngology Associates asserts that, to ensure full health for both mother and child, exposure to known allergy triggers should be limited and, if possible, prevented completely.
In thousands of comments left on the viral Reddit post, Redditors pointed out the potential dangers of keeping a cat around an expecting mother with allergies and called out the original post for seemingly prioritizing his pet over his wife.
“Tough call,” Redditor u/ThinkCow83 wrote in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 11,000 votes.
“New girl vs cat? Cat wins. Fiancé wanting to move in vs cat? Cat wins. Wife who has lived happily with [the] cat and is now pregnant with your kid and has become allergic?…No one wins,” they continued. “You deciding that the cat gets to stay and everyone else leaves? Weird.”
“That’s not a compromise,” Redditor u/plscallmeRain chimed in. “Kicking your wife out of your home when she’s 6 months pregnant is really, really not something you want to do if you value your relationship at all.”
Redditor u/Special-Attitude-242, whose comment has received nearly 3,500 votes, responded similarly and proposed an alternative solution to the original poster’s conundrum.
“Look, I know it’s hard to figure out arrangements for an elderly cat…but you are about to become a father and that means making sacrifices,” they wrote. “Would your in-laws be willing to take the cat? You could do all the work and he would be close to home.”
“The comfort of your wife is your number one priority,” they assured.
In a separate comment, which has nearly 3,000 votes, Redditor u/Cheap-Explorer-9711 offered a humorous perspective on the situation.
“If I am reincarnated as an animal,” they wrote. “I want to come back as this guy’s cat.”
Newsweek reached out to u/aitapwaway for comment.