Vegans get a lot of hate online, and I think it’s because the worst ones get the most famous. But they do often bring up interesting moral points, even if it’s in awful ways. This story on r/relationship_advice posted by u/throwRA78wdhsg is a perfect example of the tension between trying to do the right thing and ending up doing something terrible instead.
The OP is 22 and has been with his vegan girlfriend for seven months. He was a pescatarian when they met and was happy to go fully plant-based, and they’ve been very happy. But then his cat Mittens came up:
Then there is my cat, Mittens… I’ve had her for three years and I adore her. She’s such a sweet and cuddly cat. However, my GF was always a little apprehensive around her, and she blamed it on not growing up around cats. After a while we sort of made a tacit agreement to mostly hang out at her apartment instead of mine, so Mittens never really came up again in conversation.
Since then, they’ve gotten a lot closer and are thinking about moving in together.
However, after a lot of talking and planning, my GF sat me down and dropped a bombshell on me. She said that with this next phase of the relationship, she did not see a future with me unless I was willing to give away Mittens. She said that she believed owning a cat is unconscionable for vegans, because they hunt mice and eat meat, and because the very act of owning a pet is a violation of vegan principles.
I was stunned. I told her that I was absolutely not willing to give up Mittens, and she had no choice but to eat meat so I was reducing harm as much as possible by buying reputable brands of cat food. Plenty of vegans own cats and think along those same lines. My gf got mad and said “how much flesh does your cat eat? How many animals died to make all that food? Would you be okay with that being human flesh?”
I got mad and told my GF that I would have really appreciated her telling me about her cat opinions before we got serious. She went on and on about cats killing animals. I ended the conversation there. I was so angry that I left my gfs apartment.
And I snuggled with Mittens when I got home! Although the mood soured a bit when my GF sent me a link to a Reddit thread advocating for the extinction of domestic cats. Sigh
Don’t worry, the OP says he will not be getting rid of sweet Mittens, but it’s tearing him apart that a great relationship is being ended over this “difference in ideology,” as he puts it. OP says he doesn’t really get what his girlfriend is thinking because a lot of vegans own cats, which are obligate carnivores.
Without meat, they get sick and die. He admits he might not have gotten a cat if he’d been vegan at the time, but it’s too late now. He also included a picture of Mittens, for reference:
The OP has been trying to figure out what’s going on by talking to friends and they mostly seem to think his girlfriend was just looking for an excuse to break up. He wanted to see what people think he should do, and the answer was mostly….dump the girlfriend, not mittens:
Even other vegans believed the girlfriend was mostly trying to be controlling, more than live up to her principles. After all, the cat won’t eat less meat just because it’s living somewhere else and it would only be traumatizing for the OP and Mittens. While domestic pet-owning might be a morally dubious thing if you really consider it (they are our prisoners!) most beloved pets in good situations should stay there. Whatever the house diet is.