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How to Deal with Pet-Addicted Friends (not hoarders, though)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
One of my closest girlfriends and her husband are pet addicts, dogs and cats. For the most part, they're responsible. They get their animals spayed/neutered, keep them up on their shots, take care of them in emergencies. They're fed well and kept pretty comfortable at home. They currently have an adult beagle, a pomeranian/poodle mix puppy and an older kitten (about 6 mos.)

But they have a tendency to find fault in them and give them away after a period of time. I admit, there's been some behaviors that I would have a hard time tolerating too- they had a cat who kept peeing on furniture (I now know that's usually caused by a medical problem, but I don't remember if they had the cat checked out by the vet for it, or just assumed it was behavioral) and they ended up dropping her off at the Anti-Cruelty Society and claimed she was a stray that they found.

In the ten years since I've been friends with them, they've had seven pets that they've given away, had euthanized, returned to the breeder, etc. They've never just abandoned an animal or anything. My dog was "inherited" from them.

When their cat recently died of natural causes, shortly after they bought their daughter a kitten, they said "I think we're going to stick to one cat and one dog from now on." The next weekend, we go over to visit them and the wife and her mom have each bought a puppy they're going to breed with each other, one of those designer dogs (pomeranian/poodle mixes.) I just didn't even know what to say. They sort of bought them on a whim because they were cute.

Now, the kitten they have has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and they want to get another cat to be a "mentor" for her. Argh! In a moment of exasperation I told her, "you're addicted to getting pets!" and she acknowledged I was right, but didn't seem like that was going to stop her from getting another cat.

She's started asking about the cats at the shelter I volunteer at, and as much as I want to see them adopted, I'm almost reluctant to have her go there and get another animal.

But she's one of my best friends and I don't know how to deal with this!
post #2 of 10
Honestly I don't know what to tell you. That's a tough situation. She's not abusing her animals in any way so there's no way you could do anything legally. Im just really sad for the animals, it's heartbreaking to them to be taken away from the family they know and love and be moved on to someone else.
post #3 of 10
I would be honest with her about your feelings. Perhaps having it brought to the tough light will give her a wake-up call. Then again, some folks understand a pet is a lifer commitment, others take on pets because you can put them in crates, or get rid of them, unlike having children.
If she were my friend i would try to expose her irresponsible ways and suggest professional help to get to the root of why she uses animals to fill a void. That's really sad tho
post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by lsanders View Post
But she's one of my best friends and I don't know how to deal with this!
I had a similar experience with a close neighbor. She adopted a kitten from my feral colony from me. I spent a lot of time socializing that kitten to make her friendly. She promptly had her declawed (didn't tell me she would do that). The next time she asked for a kitten, I was very honest and told her that I would not adopt another kitten to her if her intention was to declaw.

Don't enable the situation by helping out your friend. Be completely honest with them and perhaps they will think about it a little longer before they adopt again. You will not feel good about yourself if you help adopt out an animal that is simply returned.
post #5 of 10
I would tell her that she needs to take responsability for the ones she has (and not give them away when things go bad) and to worry about them, after she has the cerebral palsy under control then maybe adopt another. I mean, if she is just going to give them back when they grow up (thats how I percieved this) then maybe she shouldn't get something that is only a baby for such a short time!
post #6 of 10
I honestly don't think that they should be adopting anymore pets, if they can't be responsible for the ones they already have had. Maybe they're not abusing them per se, but in the end, they are hurting the animal if they get rid of it simply b/c they don't want to take responsibility. Is it fair to the animal to be sent to an animal shelter where they may not find another home, or even worse, be PTS when there's no need for it? Pets are a responsibility - not a "new toy" to be played with till they get tired of it..

I wouldn't let them adopt anymore pets - at least not until they learn to take responsibility for the ones they already have.

post #7 of 10
Sounds to me like they see their pets as things and not living beings. It's like getting a new car or house. Once there's something wrong with the new stuff they need to get another. I do not think they are responsible at all!
post #8 of 10
Yeah, cats are not like broken TV's where you get rid of the old one and replace it with a new one. If they want to be good pet owners they need to love and take care of the ones they have. They could have worked with the last one to stop its peeing or figured out the reason why. If she comes to the shelter you work at, dont give her another one. Make sure the rest of the people who work there know that too.
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Don't enable the situation by helping out your friend. Be completely honest
Yep, that is what i do also.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. You all pretty much echoed my thoughts. I got an email from her that said that her mother-in-law, who is sick, asked them to take her two cats in and her husband said yes. *sigh*
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