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!