Is it fair to put your cat before your partner?

“Must not have pets” is the tagline of a young woman on her online dating profile. She is determined not to strike up a relationship with anyone who has a furry four-legged significant-other in their lives.

Although she believes the capacity to love animals is a good personal trait and reveals a lot about a person’s character, she still thinks “they shouldn’t love them enough” to want to live with them.

How does that make sense? Wouldn’t pet ownership be a logical extension of this attractive personal trait?

She says: “Loving animals from afar is one thing – actually taking them into your home, and loving them, and feeding them, and letting them consume all your time, is quite another.”

In her previous relationship, her boyfriend had a few cats.  She says “there was nothing especially wrong with the cats – they were as well behaved as cats can be, they were clean, and they were fairly independent. Sure, there was a bit of hair-shedding going on, but nothing so unbearable. The problem was, he loved them more than me.”

She complains that her crazy cat partner would feed the cats before setting down their dinner. He would groom the cats before going on a picnic. He would worry about the cats while on holiday, rather than focusing his attention on where he was and, more importantly, who he was with. “He put their needs before mine, pure and simple,” she said. “Having to fight for attention on the home-front against a bunch of kitties who were there first? No thank you.”

So she now denies the advances of fellows with feline friends listed in their ‘‘likes’’. Is this the smartest or the stupidest dating strategy ever? Probably the latter!

Screening people because they have a pet and avoiding people who have already demonstrated a capacity for love beyond themselves and enjoy the responsibility of caring for another is pretty much crazy, unfair and rather selfish.