In the dog house over my cat

Published 11:37 am Monday, September 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Aunty Pam,


I’m a married woman who is very much in the marriage ‘dog house’ because of a decision I made last week. I hope you can help.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I have a 14-year-old cat who means the world to me and my husband knows this. ‘Clementine’ got me through an awful divorce, a miscarriage and the death of my father. She’s been a source of comfort to me when no one else has and I love her with all my heart. Last week was my mother-in-law’s birthday lunch which I missed because Clemmie hadn’t looked well the night before and the following morning had a serious bout of vomiting and diarrhea. I called the vet right away and they said they could see her at 1 p.m. and so I told my husband that I was sorry but I had to take her in. My MIL’s lunch reservation was for 1 p.m. and I wasn’t going to be able to make it.

My husband became very angry and said he couldn’t believe I chose Clemmie over his mother’s birthday celebration. In the end, Clemmie was checked out, recovered, was given medication and sent home. I drove to the restaurant and arrived just as everybody was having coffee and about to leave. My MIL was polite but I could tell a little miffed and my husband wouldn’t even speak to me.

I feel this treatment is very unfair and told him so. He still says choosing an animal over a person is wrong and really hurt his mother’s feelings.


Any advice?

Palmetto wife


Dear PW,


Personally, Aunty Pam would have done the same thing. I’ve often said there is no measuring stick for love and the love we have for animals is in no way less, or should be less, than for people. And let’s face it: most of us prefer our pets. Cats and dogs, especially elderly ones, can go downhill very rapidly without prompt veterinary care. What can seem like ‘just a little cough’ or malaise can in reality become something quite sinister, and a sudden attack of vomiting should never be ignored. Had you put off that appointment for Clemmie and the worst happened, you would never have forgiven yourself, or your husband, for not having done the responsible thing.

Your MIL is a big girl, surely she understands, and of course, a birthday lunch is a big deal. And you did your best to make it by driving over toot-sweet after the vet appointment. You might want to go a bit further: how about sending her a lovely bouquet of flowers with a note saying how grateful you are to have such an understanding mother-in-law and you hope this token of affection brightens the rest of her birthday week? The hubs will appreciate that too.


Cheers, dears!!

Aunty Pam