If you’ve seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, you know the secret power of being vegan. While the practice of veganism may not give people superhuman powers in the real world, it does give vegans a stern viewpoint. In some cases, like this one, that viewpoint can be a little extreme. Our 22-year-old OP is struggling to figure out how to navigate a future with his controlling, vegan girlfriend who totally drops a bomb on him.
OP and his vegan partner have been dating for about seven months. Of course, he believes she is amazing given that they’re super compatible in a lot of ways. Young love.
“She is an outspoken vegan, and she made it clear at the start of our relationship that it was important to her that any potential had similar cruelty-free values.” On brand veganism. “I am already being a pescatarian, so I had little difficulty transitioning to a fully plant-based diet.”
Lucky for OP, his girlfriend was proud of him for going cruelty-free and everything seemed well. So well, in fact, that they became known as “the vegan couple” on their college campus.
Then there is OP’s cat, Mittens. He’s had her for three years and absolutely adores her. Mittens is a sweet and cuddly cat! What’s not to love? OP’s girlfriend was always a little apprehensive around Mittens, but she blamed it on not growing up around cats. That’s fine for OP, not everyone is a cat person. After a while the couple sort of made a tacit agreement to mostly hang out at the girlfriend’s apartment instead of OP’s, so Mittens never really came up again in conversation. OP thought it would be smooth sailing from there.
Fast-forward to real-time, real life, and real quarantine. OP and his girlfriend have spent a lot of time together during this global crisis and have started talking about taking their relationship to the next level. Honestly, good for them to make the most out of the forced time together. They’ve begun seriously looking at either buying a new apartment together or having one of them move in with the other. Big moves! However, after a lot of talking and planning, OP’s girlfriend decided it was time to sit OP down and drop a complete bombshell.
Completely out of nowhere, OP’s girlfriend told him that with this next phase of the relationship, she did not see a future with him unless he was willing to give away Mittens. OP explained, “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.”
OP was just as stunned, if not more than we are reading that. He told his girlfriend that he was absolutely not willing to give up Mittens. The cat has no choice but to eat meat, and OP was already reducing harm as much as possible by buying reputable brands of cat food. Plenty of vegans own cats and think along those same lines. But not OP’s girlfriend. She 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?”
This infuriated our OP. He got even more upset and told his girlfriend that he would have really appreciated her telling him about her opinions on cats before they got serious. Which is a great point. If her main problem with the cat was that it ate meat and she wasn’t comfortable with OP owning one and being vegan, she should have spoken up about it in the beginning. In response to OP now, however, she went on and on about cats killing numerous animals which didn’t sit right with her
“I ended the conversation there. I was so angry that I left my girlfriend’s apartment.” OP recalls, “and I snuggled with Mittens when I got home!”
As things were starting to simmer down, OP’s girlfriend sent him a link to a Reddit thread advocating for the extinction of domestic cats.
Extinction. Of. Domestic. Cats.
This was quite the eye-roll moment for OP as he snuggled Mittens even closer.
“I think it goes without saying that I am not going to get rid of my cat.” OP comments, “however, it pains me to think that an otherwise wonderful relationship could be ending because of a difference in ideology. I don’t even really understand where my GF is coming from because like I said, a lot of vegans own cats.”
Cat ownership can be a controversial topic in vegan circles. Some vegans actually figure out ways to make their cats become vegan as well. This seems a bit intense, especially for OP and Mittens who has been eating meat this entire time. OP mentions that he probably would not have gotten a cat if he had been vegan at the time, but he has Mittens now, and she deserves to eat. Mittens is OP’s responsibility and he is going to take care of his cat to the best of his ability. Yet, still caring about where his relationship goes from this point, OP has reached out to some of his vegan and vegetarian friends. His friends all think his girlfriend has lost her mind. Some have suggested that it’s not even about Mittens and his girlfriend just wants an excuse to end it. Even other Reddit users were quick to chime in on the subject.
“She went vegan because she doesn’t want animals to die, and she’s now trying to shun all animals that are carnivores, and wanting them to die? Sounds like she doesn’t want to save the animals, and instead just wants to end all carnivores. More likely, she just wanted control.” Said Reddit user tobahmeister. “This is the part that’s crazy to me.”
No one here is bashing on being vegan, but they aren’t afraid to call out the few that give the group a bad name. One user commented, “I honestly believe some people don’t realize some animals do not have a choice in what they eat, literally some animals can’t digest plants and HAVE to be carnivores… some vegans take it too far and that’s why they get such a bad rap.”
“As a fellow vegan, this isn’t even cool.” Another commenter added, “If she truly cared about animals she wouldn’t ask you to re-home your cat! It has a loving home! Her way of thinking is backwards. If someone told me I am not a real vegan because I have a dog I would laugh my butt off and tell them they can have their stupid label, the dog stays, he’s family. Just like I’m sure your cat is your family.”
OP cares for his girlfriend deeply but is very unsure about her viewpoint on Mittens. “I’d hate for this bizarre curveball to be the end of a beautiful thing. I want to try and work something out. But where do I even go from here? I will not compromise on Mittens and I don’t think my girlfriend will compromise either.”
Is his girlfriend asking for too much or is this a valid argument? Wouldn’t it be wrong to force a natural carnivore kitten to be vegan on his girlfriend’s behalf? It does seem like a conflict of interest for a vegan to be calling for the extinction of an animal. Some Reddit users brought up how there’s not really a way to convert an animal meant to eat meat into some form of vegan as well. So OP had no choice but to feed his cat what she was meant to be fed.
“I worked with a girl several years ago who had two cats and was very zealous vegan. She did not drive cars or ride public transit only bikes. Very environmentally conscious.” One user added, “when she brought up the cats I asked her how she felt about feeding them and what they ate because I had never had the info for the conversation before. She said she fed them avocado and a mix of other blended vegetables. They both became very ill and were taken from her for animal neglect.”
After receiving over 7,000 comments and messages from Internet strangers offering their input and advice, OP came to his senses.
“My girlfriend’s extreme views on domestic cats are not representative of the vegan/vegetarian community as a whole.” He preempted, “I do think that, sometimes, new vegans can be a little overzealous. In reality, most of us are just doing the best that we can to not hurt animals! I did not expect to generate a big debate in the comments.”
Fair and logical points, OP.
“I called my GF and said I was not willing to give up Mittens under any circumstances, and given the recent issues we’d had, and our incompatible views, I thought it was best that we parted ways. I said she deserved a partner that shared her values.” Here it comes… here it comes… “She then asked if we were breaking up, I said yes. There was some anger on her end but otherwise, the situation actually went better than I expected. I would never, ever give up my cat Mittens.”
Good for you, OP! We love a happy ending for you and your true love, Mittens.