Pet Parenting & Rescuing vs Hoarding

Not long ago, I shared that my husband & I had lost our second cat in three months.  Grieving the losses has been very difficult.  However, I realized that in one way it is easier than it used to be- since my parents have stopped speaking to me, that has made it much easier.  Typical of narcissists, my parents have no empathy, so when I’m grieving, their calloused words hurt me.


One way they have hurt me regarding my pets is hinting that I’m a hoarder.  Yes, I have a lot of cats & a dog, but hoarder?  No.  And, they aren’t the only people who seem offended by the amount of pets I have.  Other people over the years have made snide comments like I have too many pets, I need to get rid of them, no one can care properly for that many pets, etc.


If you too have several pets, I’m writing this for you, Dear Reader.  No one has the right to say that you have too many pets, so long as they are well cared for.  Ignore the idiocy of people who say these things.  Or, come up with creative comebacks for these situations.  For example, if someone says they think you have too many pets, you can tell them that you believe they have too many children.  When they get offended, let them know that is how you feel when people say the same thing to you about your pets.


Hoarders are very different than pet parents.  I have looked into it, because honestly, I was afraid my parents were right about me.  I didn’t think many of people have a lot of pets like me, so I did question briefly whether or not I was a hoarder.  Thankfully I don’t meet the criteria!  Some of the criteria used to determine if someone is a hoarder are:


  • A person having a large number of pets.
  • This person being unable to maintain basic care for them such as good food, veterinary care, a clean environment.
  • This person being in denial about the ability to provide such things for their pets, believing they are helping these animals rather than hurting/neglecting them.
  • Often, the person neglects to take proper care of himself or herself as well.
  • Many want to rescue & help animals, but severely underestimate their ability to do so.


This behavior is obviously VERY different than a pet parent or even a rescuer.  While parents & rescuers may have large numbers of pets, they receive good, quality food, they see vets when necessary, they are spayed or neutered, litterboxes or cages are plentiful & cleaned regularly, homes are clean, & parents & rescuers learn the best ways to care for the animals in their home.  We also know our limits- we won’t have 100 cats at once because we can’t provide proper care for that many at a time.



If you are like many of my friends & readers, & you meet the criteria in the above paragraph rather than the criteria for a hoarder, you’re in good company.  There are a lot of us out there!  So if an ignorant person claims you have too many pets or are a hoarder, rest easy knowing that person truly has no idea what a good person you are!  Keep on rescuing those babies!  There are so many animals in need, & you can make a difference!


Filed under Animals

4 responses to “Pet Parenting & Rescuing vs Hoarding

  1. “We also know our limits…” That’s so important! I have a friend who once lived with 4 cats, a dozen or so birds, and 2 dogs. Two of the cats, one of the dogs, and all of the birds were sort of dumped on her by others and she couldn’t turn them away. She worked very hard to care for them all and they were healthy and happy but I could see that it was stressful for her and her husband. She loved each one but didn’t seem to be enjoying them. I never accused her of hoarding but I did express concern that she had more than she could comfortably handle. And she was so conscientious about their welfare that she was willing to exhaust herself and her bank account rather than find other homes for them. She was acting solely on empathy for them and none for herself. She didn’t have a healthy balance between her needs and the needs of her animals. And as we survivors have come to know, balance is vital to good mental, emotional, and physical health. Balance helps us to be able to enjoy life, and that includes our fur babies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awww… that was so good of her to want to help them all! Definitely I agree with you- not a hoarder at all, but it sounds like she did need more balance.

      I saw a lady on TV once who had I think 15 cats. She was into rescuing them, so at times she had more or less cats but if I remember right, she said never more than 20 at a time. When they showed the lady’s house, it was clean. The cats were all well cared for. She knew everyone’s name & history. They had regular vet care. She checked people out well before letting them take any of her cats. What bothered me was she seemed to be doing just fine with her rescue work, but her friend told her she was a hoarder & even found a therapist who agreed! I wanted to reach through the TV & smack the “friend” & therapist! They convinced this lady she had a real problem, so she stopped rescuing. So who knows how many poor kitties won’t be rescued because of these people & their crazy ideas? Meanwhile, there are real hoarders out there with suffering cats by the dozens in every home that need intervention!

      Liked by 2 people

      • That poor lady did receive some bad advice. Busybodies do so much harm. I wish they’d all keep their “advice” to themselves! By the way, my friend did eventually find a good home for all but 2 of the birds and over time most of her fur babies passed away after long and happy lives. She’s come to realize that her limited resources, especially of physical strength, aren’t enough to enable her to care for many animals. She has one dog and two birds now. She’ll probably adopt a kitten, and that’s a good balance for her.


        • Ain’t that the truth! Their “advice” is not wanted or necessary. I give the lady credit- 20 cats at a time is a lot, but if she could do it, kudos to her! I’ve had up to 14 at one time, & it’s a lot of work & money having so many.

          That is great about your friend. She must have a good heart to try managing so many. Glad to hear she found some balance that works for her. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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