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Dirty kitty things

My girlfriend of eight months is so attached to her cat that she takes it with her when she goes to the toilet. She also lets it sleep in the bed and drink out of the bathroom sink. She has cat knickknacky things everywhere, and worse, cat hair everywhere on the bed, on counters, on clothes and food. To me, cats are filthy animals that cover themselves with spit, lick their behinds, track used kitty litter all over, and shed hair and dander. I think about our future together, and wonder whether she'd give up a cat to be with me. You may think this sounds unreasonable, but I equate living with a cat to asking a woman to move into a house with a dirt floor. Catastrophe

There are people with cats, and then there are Cat People. People with cats shrug their shoulders when they hear somebody isn't a fan of the species. Cat People march out to the garage, push aside all the kitty posters and spare toilet seat covers with ears and whiskers, and arm their nukes. Take this Cat Person, for example, who spotted an "I Hate Cats" entry on some guy's blog, and came out clawing: "I bet your parents never hugged you and the're divorced. You most likely have no friends and spend your time watching porne on the internet! . . . And by the way, I will pray that your trailor gets burned down and you suffer and die from smallpox!!!!!!!NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU!!!"

To be fair, not every Cat Person is so quick to launch their "I my BooBoo kitty" warheads. Who knows, maybe your girlfriend would take the time to run spellcheck first. Here she is, an adult woman who decorates like she got drunk and went on a spending binge at Hallmark, who seasons her food with cat hair, and who can't pry herself away from little Poopsy to take a private trip to the john. And here you are, a guy who sees the housecat as the next best thing to an open Petri dish of typhus. Yet, somehow, this doesn't stop you from wondering whether you can have a future together. And maybe you can; most likely, the Hobbesian kind: "Nasty, brutish, and short."

Hey, wait, don't all relationships take compromise? Sure they do. But, making "Filthy Animal Seeks Good Home" signs isn't a compromise; it's a declaration of war. She clearly sees this cat as her furry, four-legged child. Ever let a mother know you find her child vile and ill-behaved, and only fit to live under the porch? OK, maybe you were tempted once or twice, as we all are, but came to your senses.

In this case, if you just weren't keen on cats, or you like them, but have allergies, maybe you could stay together by living apart. But, as odious as you find cats, not to mention her relationship with her cat, you two are about as sensibly paired as a Buddhist and a gun nut, or a vegan who mutters "Murderer!" every time his partner takes a bite of steak.

Love has its limitations; among them, its failure to double as turbo Febreze, not only making persistent pet odors go away, but making persistent pets disappear with them. For future reference, while it's important to figure out what you want in a woman, it's kind and responsible to figure out what gives you the dry heaves. In other words, you aren't wrong for being a cat-loathing germ freak, just for taking eight months to determine that the only way you two could live happily ever after is with the intervention of a taxidermist.

Can't pin a good man down

A friend I'm attracted to won't get involved with me because his ex-wife burned him so badly. He claims to have sworn off relationships for good. But, he's just 40, and hot! How can I convince him he should undo the old fear-of-repetition chastity belt and give me a try? Determined

Ever notice how people only talk about falling in love, never about being tripped, shoved or Tasered into it? This is the guy version of "no means no." Why can't you just respect that? Oh yeah ... because you know what's best for him. Most surprisingly, it directly coincides with what's best for you.

Leave the poor guy where you found him probably cowering in the bushes, praying he won't be spotted by anyone female. There are plenty of men out there who haven't sworn off relationships. Go find them and experiment with a new M.O. being a little more "hard to get" than hard to get away from. Ideally, a guy shouldn't have to put a lot of effort into figuring out whether you're flirting or you're a border collie who's mistaken him for escaped livestock.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com).

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