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To stop my BIL coming over because of our cat

162 replies

Overwhelmedoverfit · 29/12/2019 08:09

So my BIL has been coming round quite frequently to see us. We have an indoor 7 month ragdoll, who is very sweet and loving but does know his own mind. He doesn't mind being picked up but will give a light nip when he wants down, doesn't hurt and usually he licks as well to show he means no harm.

My BIL has twice now picked up the cat, not put him down when the cat 'asks' and tried to punish the cat when he bit him harder and tried to scratch. At this point BIL was holding the cat and rubbing his tummy, something I don't think any cat likes, but Po didn't cause any bleeding or even marks, which I think is quite restrained!

BIL punishment is to blow in the cats face and try and hit him. I say try because I've never let him get that far, and I've let him know how disappointed we are that he considers that acceptable!

BIL doesn't listen to a word I say, says he's doing what's best for the cat cause if you let them bite they won't stop and he knows dogs and he's read about this breed. He's never owned a dog but his wife used to walk them, and they both seem under the impression that with enough punishment they can get our cat to do whatever a dog would. Which is complete BS!

I've now said he can't pick up the cat at all and when he didn't stop I suggested he doesn't come over until he can control himself. My MIL has now had a massive go at me for putting a cat above family.

AIBU? We try not to use punishment with Po cause it doesn't work and he just gets sad, and him showing he wants down and getting annoyed when he's not put down isn't anything to punish in my mind? Also my BIL is 30 so should definitely know better!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

LakieLady · 29/12/2019 08:38

Anyone who doesn't respect animals isn't welcome in my house.

I'd let him in once more, on the strict condition that he doesn't touch the cat. The minute he does, out he goes (BIL, not cat).

MirriMazDuur · 29/12/2019 08:39

You wouldn't put up with it? What would you do? Send them to a shelter?

Chocolatedaim · 29/12/2019 08:41

Poor cat
I have two, one hates being picked up and the other one won’t stop pestering you until you do.
Punishing cats in order to train them just doesn’t work, your BIL sounds like a spoilt bully

justthecat · 29/12/2019 08:42

If I had to chose between my bil and my cat I know who’d win 😺

Overwhelmedoverfit · 29/12/2019 08:44

Thanks for your replies. I do think some people have taken me saying the cat nips and scratches to mean it's something he does? He honestly doesn't mind his tummy being rubbed if he wants it to be, that just doesn't happen to be when he's being forceably restrained. We cut his claws every week and he has no issues with that or us playing with his paws, he has issue with being held onto when he doesn't want it, but thats it. He doesn't bite or scratch in any situation, and even in that situation he doesn't ever leave any marks, so I really don't think it a case that he could ever be considered in any way aggressive

OP posts:
Veterinari · 29/12/2019 08:45

You aren’t putting the cat before him. He’s perfectly welcome in your house as long as he stops tormenting your pets.
If he can’t abide by that basic rule then that’s up to him.

He sounds like an arse hole control freak who doesn’t give a shit about cats, dogs or women!

TheLittleBrownFox · 29/12/2019 08:45

Nobody training a dog in the modern world uses punishment like hitting or blowing in their face anyway so he's not even knowledgeable with up to date info on dog training - not that that's the point.

I'd shut the cat in another room when they visit and keep their visits brief.

MirriMazDuur · 29/12/2019 08:46

Yes, good point. You're actually putting the cat's right to be left alone before his right to be unkind to the cat.

MitziK · 29/12/2019 08:47

If you're talking to me, @MirriMazDuur, I don't put up with it because I'm an experienced owner, so teach them safely, ie, without them being hit, hurt or in any way scared, that being touched all over is safe, normal and nice.

I certainly wouldn't attempt that with somebody else's cat. It would be entirely inappropriate and counterproductive.

Veterinari · 29/12/2019 08:48

Your cat is communicating perfectly normally that he doesn’t Enjoy your BIL mauling him.
It’s perfectly normal communication to create personal space.

Dogs will growl and move away to try and create space too. These behaviours are perfectly normal and species appropriate conflict avoidance behaviours.

They are only misunderstood and associated with aggression because idiot humans decide to ignore them or persist in continuing to annoy the animal resulting in an escalation to aggressive behaviours.

GlitchStitch · 29/12/2019 08:50

If anybody tried to hit my cat they'd never set foot in my house again. And cats will scratch if they are being forcibly held, he's a bully enjoying exerting himself over a small animal. If he won't listen to you your partner needs to deal with him, preferably by telling him to fuck off.

Shoxfordian · 29/12/2019 08:51

Don't let him in again, you need to protect your cat

DDiva · 29/12/2019 08:52

He sounds horrid but I'd just reiterate hes not to pick the cat up. If he does , take the cat off him. I can see banning BIL might seem an extreme response but his behaviour is in excusable.

ScaredStiff101 · 29/12/2019 08:53

If I were you I'd tell my prick of a brother in law that the next time he touched my cat he'd have me to worry about - and that I had a far harder bite than the cat.

Fluffycloudland77 · 29/12/2019 08:53

So basically he likes having power over something smaller than him and imposing his will on it?. Even when he knows he’s causing distress he carries on so he can dominate it?. This pleases him doesn’t it?.


There is nothing in life that says you have to put up with this, you have to protect your own & ragdolls are far too tolerant.

cosima1 · 29/12/2019 08:54


gingersausage · 29/12/2019 08:56

@Genzeee if a dog bit someone unprovoked I would definitely consider the possibility that it needed to be put down, because it would probably be in considerable pain, very ill or senile. However, that very rarely happens. If someone picked up my dog and started manhandling him, my dog would give a warning growl (as would 99.9% of dogs). If that person then ignored the growl and me telling them to leave my dog alone and they got bitten, tough shit. Like hell would I be putting my dog down.

@Overwhelmedoverfit does your BIL have SN? It seems strange otherwise that your MIL needs to speak and intervene on his behalf. If he is NT, stop going through your MIL and address him directly. He is not a child and neither are you; woman up and deal with it like an adult. Every time he touches the cat, tell him to leave it alone. Ignore your MIL. When she interferes say “I was speaking to BIL, not you”. It doesn’t have to be a drama.

cosima1 · 29/12/2019 08:56

As for the poster who said a cat that nips should be put down, what planet are you on?
One of my rag dolls wakes me with a nip at 5am every day, plus he nips my ankles for food. It’s very common.

gingersausage · 29/12/2019 09:01

@MitziK, presumably you’d “put up” with a cat who bit or scratched someone who it didn’t want bloody mauling it! It’s nothing to do with being a superior cat owner, it’s the cat’s natural defence against someone it doesn’t trust.

Bluerussian · 29/12/2019 09:01

Why does he persist in picking up and holding the cat when it obviously doesn't like it? Your brother in law is a prat and so is your mother in law for backing him. He can ignore the cat (who will not mind being ignored).

To whoever said a dog would be put down - not necessarily if it was harassed and frightened, what a stupid remark.

SentimentalKiller · 29/12/2019 09:06

I have a rescue cat that would rip me to shreds if I forced him to have his tummy rubbed. Bollocks he can be trained. Cats are not like dogs and those who do 'train' them have a very different approach
I respect my cat. Leave him alone and stroke him when he approaches me. I'm not going to put him in a shelter when he is fine if left alone
Your BIL is an idiot

TheTrollFairy · 29/12/2019 09:08

I wouldn’t allow him in my house.
We have cats but I’m not an overly massive animal lover by any means but I do treat animals kindly.
I’m not sure why your BIL thinks he’s entitled to treat the cat badly? If he doesn’t want to be scratched or nipped then either leave the car alone completely or watch out for the ques that the cat wants to get away from him

onalongsabbatical · 29/12/2019 09:08

He's bullying your poor cat. Yes ban him! Your cat, your house, his offensive behaviour. Seems pretty straightforward to me. He thinks the cat needs to 'learn' - I think HE needs to learn!

wotonearthisthis · 29/12/2019 09:12

Stop telling MIL he's not welcome and actually tell BIL he's not to come round.

alwayscrashinginthesamecar1 · 29/12/2019 09:13

I have a Ragdoll too and I wouldn’t allow him anywhere near my ca!! They are generally very chilled out and docile animals, he must be really upsetting it to make it nip!

Can I ask why you clip nails so often? I’ve never done mine, never needed to.

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