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    Dear Diva Rebecca,

    This might sound like a stupid question, but I am positively stumped. My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. We just got engaged and we are planning on moving in together. But there is one little catch. He has given me an ultimatum. I have to give up my cat, Meatball, before he moves in because he is allergic. I have had that cat for seven years, much longer than I have even known my boyfriend, and Meatball is like my baby! How can I give him up? I don't want to. He seems to be sympathetic and understands how hard it would be for me to let Meatball go, but he has put his foot down. He wonít move in until the cat is gone.


    Meatball Lover,
    Two Harbors, Minnesota

    Dear Meatball Lover,

    Oh I am sure opinions will differ on this on. Cat lovers might protest my response and I am possibly subjecting myself to death threats from PETA but I would have to say that in all seriousness you canít really choose a pet over a human being and a possible life-long companionship.

    Still, I donít think his ultimatum is fair. He is asking you to change your life and give up something you love dearly without trying to even make an effort on his part and give you some options. The best relationships last the longest when there is a certain element of compromise. Both people in a relationship need to make concessions and a conscious effort to make each other happy. A relationship should never be one-sided where one person always gets his way.

    I think people with cat allergies can live in the same home where cats reside. It just takes a lot of work for it to be done without letting allergies come into play. And I donít mean that a person with allergies should try living on medication. It wouldn't be fair for you to ask your boyfriend to take daily medication just so you can have a cat. It is also too much of an expensive option. There are other things you can do.

    First, keep your cat in one area of the house. This will help eliminate the amount of work you will need to do to eliminate pet dander. Donít let your cat in your bedroom and don't let him sleep on the bed. Meatball might be used to sleeping with you and if so, he wonít be happy sleeping somewhere else but this is a small price to pay compared to giving him up. Get a HEPA air purifier for your home. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and special HEPA air purifiers have been scientifically proven to reduce allergies due to pet dander. They also make HEPA vacuums which you should use to clean your carpets and upholstery. Veterinarians also suggest using a steam cleaner to clean your carpets on a regular basis because the steam kills the protein in pet dander which causes the allergic reaction. Finally, break out the iron gloves and wash your cat. They make special pet shampoo to control dander.

    Your boyfriend already gave you the ultimatum and now it is your turn to fire back. Sweetly, of course. Let him know that you both need to make efforts in this relationship and it canít be a one way street. Ask him to give Meatball a one month chance if you take those steps above to help control his dander. He needs to give it a chance for your sake and for Meatball's. He also needs to show you that compromise is important in a relationship.

    If it doesnít work out after one month, promise to give Meatball up, and make sure that you make good on your promise. You should be able to find a loving and caring home for him. You might even be able to get a family member or close friend to take him. That way, you can still see Meatball from time to time. And if you make sure he goes to a good home, it will be a less stressful situation for you.


    Diva Rebecca

    Not everyone will agree with me, everyone has their own opinion.
    What would your advice be?
    Be respectful and courteous. Rude remarks and slander of any kind will be removed.