We’ve all been there. You’re sharing a home, everything seems perfect, you think his nose is adorable, he hates it when you have to leave. Then, gradually, you stop spending quite so much time gushing over his soulful eyes and he doesn’t always notice when you come home. One day you look around and realize that it’s been months since he rolled over and exposed himself to you. Is it simply a rough patch? Or is it possible that your pet is just not that into you?
Image: Demon Dog by Samuel Cockman (Flickr)
Pet owners try to fool themselves all the time. They’ll say “we just need to spend more time together” or “he’s just not affectionate because of the way his last owner treated him.” Maybe that’s true. Maybe you can work through the problems, break out of those doldrums and find that spark again. But if you’ve been putting in the effort and all you get in return is a long-suffering look and then a solid view of his butt as he walks away, you have to consider the possibility that your pet may just not be that into you. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:
6. Your time together is purely physical
When you first started sharing a home, the two of you would squeeze into the same chair while binge-watching shows on Netflix. Now, as soon as he’s done getting his belly rubbed, he’s out of there. If he’d rather spend his time doing inappropriate things with your footwear or chasing nonexistent prey than curling up on the sofa with you, your pet may just not be that into you.
5. He never offers to help
A pet that is into you will want to help you if he can. He may thoughtfully run under your feet as you walk down the stairs, causing you to fall and thus helping you reach your destination more quickly. He may bring dead mice and lay them on your pillow, providing you with a satisfying midnight snack. If your pet does none of these things, there is a good chance that your pet is just not that into you.
4. He’s too busy for you
If you dangle his favorite chewed-up shoes enticingly and suggest going out for a moonlit, evening walkies, but your pet won’t go because he’s too busy, that is a serious warning sign that something is wrong. A pet that is into you will put aside the squeaky toy and make time for a walk, or an intense round of head-scratching, or a little afternoon fun with the laser pointer. If your pet is always “too busy” for these things, your pet is just not that into you.
3. He doesn’t notice the little things
It used to be that, as soon as you had the carpets cleaned, he would head straight for them and roll all over them immediately because he knows how much you like having his hair covering everything you own. Now, he doesn’t even notice when you reupholster his favorite
scratching post sofa, or the fact that you got a new pair of shoes in his favorite flavor. If your pet doesn’t notice these details in your life together, he may just not be that into you.
2. He strays
Instead of snacks and movie night with you, he goes around to the neighborhood homes and stays out for hours, coming back only when they close up for the night. If you’re at a homeowner’s association meeting and you keep getting knowing looks and concealed smiles, it may only be that your pageboy haircut doesn’t suit you as well as you thought it did, or it may be that your pet has been spending his time getting belly rubs from that lonely housewife two doors down while you were at home cleaning his food bowl. If so, it’s time to accept that your pet is not that into you.
And finally, the number one way you can tell if your pet is just not that into you:
1. He’s a cat
If your pet is a cat, this is really the only clue you need. The other tips will work with dogs and other pets as well, but if you’ve got a cat, you can skip straight to the end. If you die at home alone, your cat will start eating your body before it gets cold. Cats love how your opposable thumbs are able to open cans of cat food and how your head works great as a heater at night, but you have to accept that, beyond that, your cat is just not that into you.
I hope these tips help you figure out if your bond can be repaired or if that cold nose he keeps pressing into you just means it’s chilly and you’re in his way. This is not an exclusive list and every pet is different, so you just have to search your heart and decide whether your pet is giving you the love you deserve. Although, considering that you got him fixed without consulting or even warning him, some lingering resentment is probably to be expected.