My SIL and BIL hated cats, and when I was in my twenties, I put up with their nasty remarks. But once I hit thirty, I told them if they didn't like my animals they didn't have to come to my house.
I am an animal lover, and my husband and I own this home. How dare anyone say, "EWWW, get that thing away from me!" If you're very young, that explains a lot. Some people have no respect for people younger than themselves, and think they can say whatever they want. I loved both my SIL and my BIL. She was like my own sister, only 15 years older, and my BIL was old enough to be my father. They considered me and treated me as if I were a child. I discovered that it you lie down, some people will consider you a door mat. Be as polite as possible, but your home is YOUR home. You pay the rent; you pay the mortgage, or you own the home. You can cooperate, but don't cower!
If someone is frightened by animals that's different. I don't particularly want a snake or tarantula on me, but many people enjoy having them as pets.
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A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden