Life & Love

Dear E. Jean: My boyfriend and I have been together for two years, and for those two years, I’ve had to put up with his cat—a product of his last relationship. I’m not a fan of cats, and the fact that this cat belonged to his ex-girlfriend? It bothers me a lot.

My boyfriend has forgiven me for not liking his cat and has told me I can give it away if I feel that strongly. But I’m starting to feel like a complete bitch for doing so, even though he’s given me the green light. What should I do? —Dog Lover

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Miss Lover: Wait. Hold on, Dog, old girl! Did you say…his cat? His cat? Har. Har. Har. Har. Har. Har. If anyone owns anybody, it’s the cat that owns your boyfriend. Cats have astonishing sex lives and they have the souls of Egyptian pharaohs, but they don’t have owners. In the Big Store of Life, cats run the Genius Bar.

Anyway, it’s not the cat that bedevils you. It’s the ex. Indeed, the only difference between your dislike of the ex-girlfriend and your dislike of the cat is that the cat has lasted longer. So mark my words, Dog, and mark them well: Your instinct is right. If you “give away” that cat, it will cause such hurt to your boyfriend (and make you look like such a “complete bitch”) that he’ll get rid of you.

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at

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