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Why did I go Overboard w/ Pets?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
14 years ago I went to the pound with the kids to pick out a dog. Came home with Rusty a baby orange male tabby. My son had to have him. I did not find a dog I wanted. I felt our new kitten needed a friend. We adopted Almond and Joy from a woman who did kitten rescues. I could not choose between the two of them. Next I found 2 dogs I wanted to adopt at the pound. It didn't work out for Hershy the australian shepard. She was destructive even after training. I kept the dalmation but made the mistake of bringing home a chow to keep her company. Once the chow turned 6 months old the two dogs were fighting. I found new homes for them. In the next 3 years My then husband brought home streek, a stray he found at work. Tinkerbell we found. She was lost in front of our home. We took the little kitten around the neighborhood to see if anyone would claim her. No one did. I wanted to run an ad in the paper to find her a home but the kids talked me into keeping her. We now had 5 cats. All the cats are indoor cats. Then I bought birds. Next came Gizmo, a shelti. He worked out well with the family. I eventually divorced my first husband. I wanted to leave at least 3 cats for him. My son said no he couldn't live without the cats. I took all the cats, left the birds with family. Remarried. Kids graduated high school and left Mom. Nether child could or would take any of the cats. New husband talks me into buying a pomeranian. Then a hamster. Next my husband talks me into buying 2 green spotted puffers. Miss informed about these fish, I learned after research online they require 30g water per fish. The following holiday I decided I wanted a small fish tank. This is when everything changed. A betta I picked out for my fish tank suffered from chronic fin rot. I isolated him and was determined I would cure him. 4 months into treatment he still had reoccurring fin rot. I was fighting a losing battle. This drained me. He needed to be euthanized or left to die. 1 month later my Rusty started urinating out of the litter box out of control. After costly vet checks, it got to where the vet was holding checks for payment, they recommended 125.00 a week to regulate insulin for him. Sadly, I could not afford it. I tried to control things with diabetic food. It didn't work. I did the hardest thing I have ever done. He was euthanized. 1 month later still crying from Rusty, To my shock after verbally warning my husband do not bring home anything breathing he brings me a siamese kitten for our anniversary. He was bought from a breeder w/ a health guarantee and had a vet check before he was brought home. We could not afford this kitten. The kitten unknowingly was a ringworm carrier. All but 1 animal in the house caught ringworm. I have maxed out credit cards to treat this. 6 months later we do fungus tests that turn out negative. Next we have the kitten neutered. 10 days later he has a lesion on his neck. I'm treating for ringworm again. My Joy who during Rustys ordeal started losing weight and had become arthritic. She was not taken the vets through this because I thought it was some natural old age thing she was going through and I had spent the money I had on Rusty. She started walking like she had arthritis but was getting around ok just slower then normal. All of a sudden on Wednesday she would take 3 steps and lay down. She did not go get her dry food like normal. Thursday she collapsed on the floor. I took her to the vets. They said she needed intensive care and extensive testing done. Vet said she probably had something else underlying going on other then arthritis. I had to leave a check to be held for this vet visit. I knew the truth was I could not afford treatment. She was euthanized yesterday. The guilt and pain is overwhelming. It's taking me having to decide to have my longtime family members/pets to be euthanized to realize I can not afford all these pets. I have gotten off easy until now with vet bills. I have not done a good job on maintenance for the pets. My stupidity had me thinking because they are indoor pets I don't have to take them to the vets on a regular basis for health check ups. I was doing my own dog vaccinations and took the dogs in for rabies shots when I remembered. If all along I had done regular vet visits I would have known and realized my limits. I pray I have learned from this. It's to the point I am depressed and stressed all the time. For some reason I thought another animal would fill some empty part of me without realizing the consequences of having to be responsible for unforeseen high vet bills for potentially every dog and cat I own.
post #2 of 19
It sounds like the both of you have a very soft spot for animals. That is not a crime

It also sounds like you are in over your head. As pets age they tend to get sick. I'm living through that right now with my 17 year old cat. I pay more per month for her medications than I do for my own. And I have another cat that is 11 years old and so far appears healthy except for some benign cysts. But I'll find out more next week when I take her for her first vet check up.

Since you love animals so much, rather than adopting more and more, why not consider fostering? This way you can care for a pet and have the benefit of the shelter/organization being responsible for the medical treatments. However, part of fostering is having to part with the animal at some point so it can go to a new home with a loving family that adopts it.

I know the pain of having a sick animal and not having the funds to treat it. I was in such a situation last year myself with my 17 year old. I was facing having to euthanize her when the only thing wrong was that she had a bad tooth that needed to be pulled. I felt like such a failure. However, unlike your situation, through what I consider no less a miracle, I was able to get Chynna's mouth looked after and didn't have to face what you have had to do.

Talk with your husband about how you are feeling. Tell him that the finances do not allow for adopting any more animals or fish of any kind, and suggest the fostering option.

So far as your current adopted pets go, I don't know what to suggest. It is a fact of life that animals do get sick, and when they do it is a really costly venture. I am sending vibes that you do not have to face any further sick pets for a long time!
post #3 of 19
Honey, I wouldn't beat yourself up over this. Hindsight is 20/20. I think a lot of people (me included) get in the mindframe with young pets that vet bills aren't going to be a big deal. Sounds like you had more than you share of "problems" and that can break anyone.

Now a days, there are a lot of people giving up pets because they can't afford to FEED them now, much less worry about medical bills. Many people on this site work at rescue places or shelters and they can verify that. Add vet bills to that and basically...well...you're screwed.

I think the important thing is you did everything you could for each of your animals, you gave them a safe place to live, and..most important..they were loved. THAT is what you have to focus on, instead of beating yourself up.

Believe me, if all of my animals right now got sick at once, we would be up the proverbial creek without a life jacket. But, loving animals and giving them a good shot at life is what is important to me. Luckily, I haven't have any major illnesses lately, but if it's between one animal that is sick with a potential huge medical bill, and paying my mortgage so that DH and I and the rest have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies....it's a hard decision...but I'm sorry, at that point the house wins. It would break my heart it if came to that, but with 7 cats, 3 teenage kittens (still trying to find homes for...barn cats) another kitten I just found this week, and 4 dogs that are perfectly happy here, not to mention DH and me that need a home, I think their are priorities.

There are probably going to be disagreements to this, but that is my opinion. I think you did what you could, and you have to stop feeling bad.
post #4 of 19
Look up "rescue burnout". While not exactly what you're going through it might cover some of it. Lots of people get overwhelmed when their hearts are bigger than their finances or time can handle.
post #5 of 19
Print this post, this thread - show it to your husband.

It took a hard lesson, but you've learned you cannot afford costly vet bills. Trust me, I know how draining it can be to be slammed with one after another after another. I have quite a few senior kitties who have had/will have dentals this year - plus the little dog needs one already at 2 years of age. It adds up fast.

As a shelter volunteer - I also think you might look into fostering. Most of the groups I've encountered pay medical/food/litter bills. Yes - it is hard to let them go - but knowing you made a difference in their lives, sometimes you actually save their lives - it is *so* worthwhile.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much for the support. You all are right. I have taken on more then I can handle. The thing that bothers me is I am not the only one who wanted all these pets but I feel like I am the only one doing what needs to be done daily for them anymore. No kids home anymore to keep the animals exercised or to help. At this point I want to get through this and do the best I can with the pets that are left . I have told husband the last 6 months since he brought home the last kitten I can not take care of anymore pets. I think he understands as the stress has affected our marriage to the point of talk of a divorce. I am a school bus driver and because I work less hours then him, He feels I can take care of almost everything in the house and the pets. He refuses to help me most of the time. It works out for him well as while he is asleep or at work I do almost everything that needs to be done in the house. He actually talked me into quiting my part time second job last Oct. My plan was to sell items and aquarium plants online. I had no time for this though. Little did I know what was in store. He helped me more when I had the second job but decided he didn't need to now. Even with the increased work load dealing with the ringworm. I was not completely free this summer. I did clean and paint two move outs for my land lord during the last summer break because I was afraid we could not make it financially. He wonders why I'm stressed during the summer break...and offers a divorce. All I asked for is help. And he knows this.

I would be scared to death to bring any animals in the home for foster care because of the ringworm and new animals seem to stress out the other animals in the home. I contemplated giving up my fish tank and giving my tropical fish to the pet store. I have not yet because I would like to be able to enjoy my tank. The tank gives me a piece of mind watching it when all the fish are healthy. I forgot to mention I did have multiple small tanks set up for breeding snails for the puffers, a small tank set up with live plants for Quarantine. I tore those down at the start of the ringworm issue.

I have a plan to strive for. Honestly I have had this in mind and have not been able get ahead enough to do it. I told husband we need one or two credit cards free for vet bills only. I say this because we live from pay check to pay check. No savings for any length of time. Will try to keep money in the savings as well. I/we should have done this a long time ago instead of spending money on more pets. I am trying to stay focused on my priorities. Lord help me! Looking again for a decent second job or replacing my main job with a good job where I work the same hours through summer. I have to be able to afford the unexpected extras needed for the pets or other emergency's.....Why it took having to euthanize 2 pets to try put it into action is beyond me.

I have a very hard time accepting euthanizing is ok to do. My counselor told me to take all the pets to the pound. I asked him how do you deal with the guilt, my pets are family. The man had no answer for me.
post #7 of 19
There is no need for you to give up your fish tank...really. When you think about it, your fishtank would be the cheapest "pet" you have right now, and you enjoy it.

Is there any way you can set aside some money each pay? Even $5/wk.... anything for an emerg fund for your pets?

Euthanising a beloved pet is not easy no matter what the case is.... doesn't matter if you've spent thousands on its care, or a dollar.... What matters is the quality of life... When faced with a situation where the pet is in pain, and with a serious health issue that would take alot of money to fix, its emotionally hard, but euthanisizing them is way better than letting them suffer IMO. What you did was the right thing.

Others have given you great advice...and I'd add my vote on as well for fostering (once you get the situation with your animals under control) OR volunteering That way you can still enjoy the animals without being financially responsible for them.

About your hubby and divorce, I'm so sorry that was brought up. I'm assuming there must be more issues than just the animals, and would highly recommend seeing a councellor about it if both you and he are willing to do so.

I hope things get better for you Try to pull on whatever positives there are in your life right now...no matter how small they are...
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you Snake_Lady for your input .

You are right. After the initial cost of the fish tanks they are the cheapest pets that I have to maintain.

That is the plan Snake_Lad. I want to set aside as much money as possible and pay down the credit cards again. Need that other job fast. Close to taking a second fast food pt job because I have not found anything in a month of looking.

Husband is not willing to talk to a counselor. After the advice the counselor gave me I won't talk to him again either. I agree more is going on here but if husband can not communicate and work with me to resolve the issues I can not help improve things. He has opened up some but the bottom line is we need to work together as a team I feel.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by StormySkiez View Post
The thing that bothers me is I am not the only one who wanted all these pets but I feel like I am the only one doing what needs to be done daily for them anymore.
Due to this bit here, count me as one against any fostering - at least for a good while. I'm betting a break and not more added responsibility (on you) would help a lot. Given some of the trials people on here go through with their fosters - ringworm, parasites, food issues, UTIs and peeing outside the box issues, that's more trouble than worth borrowing for a while. Even if you don't spend the money on vet care for fosters there's still the emotional toll. If you feel the need to help, you could alway volunteer at a shelter.

As for that counselor, non pet people just don't get it. I think it's funny that you left him speechless.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Due to this bit here, count me as one against any fostering - at least for a good while. I'm betting a break and not more added responsibility (on you) would help a lot. Given some of the trials people on here go through with their fosters - ringworm, parasites, food issues, UTIs and peeing outside the box issues, that's more trouble than worth borrowing for a while. Even if you don't spend the money on vet care for fosters there's still the emotional toll. If you feel the need to help, you could alway volunteer at a shelter..................
Yes, I so need a break from nursing animals. It's been over a year I have been nursing sick pets, since may 08 starting w/ the Betta. I'm spinning my wheels and going no where. I have not successfully helped one of my pets yet that has fallen ill in the last year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
................................................................................ .....

As for that counselor, non pet people just don't get it. I think it's funny that you left him speechless.

Thank you for the laugh!! I needed that!
post #11 of 19
OMG- I have nothing to add, just many many vibes.... I can not even imagine the amount of pain you must be right now.... I am so very sorry you are going through this....
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sending a very special thank you to all who replied to me here. I was overwhelmed with guilt & depression looking back at everything. The comments here are helping me to heal. I don't feel like such a terrible mother any more. I know I am trying to do the best I can possibly do for my pet family. Hugs to all of you!

I added a link to an online photo album in my signature for those of you who would like to take a look at some of my pet photos, I'd love to share them w/ you . I need to update and add lot's more photos. I Will in time.
post #13 of 19
Hi,

i just joined this site. I lost Bunnelina, the cat of a lifetime, to lymphoma last month, and have two other teenaged cats, Dollface Persians. I was miserable over losing Bunny and adopted two feral kittens from different foster homes to help me recover. Neither cat is feral in behavior, but they came with all kinds of worms, which we are treating. I expected this. What I didn't expect was the ringworm culture the vet did on one of the kittens, who has suspicious areas on one ear and one claw.

I joined this site because I've been reading via Google about what my fragile older cats and beautiful, newly affectionate kittens and we will have to go through to treat this. Treatment expensive and nasty and takes forever. I'm freaking out even before I get the culture results. We live in an 800 square foot condo in the middle of Boston and the idea of isolating any of the cats is a joke. And I'm still fragile from losing Bunny, too.

Anyway, StormySkiez, I've been reading your posts and you've been a comfort to me and a help to many others as well. It's a relief to know that others are battling ringworm, too. i needed a reminder that it's not fatal, just disgusting, annoying and stubborn.

My impression is that you're a kind, nurturing person, and without you, many of your pets wouldn't have had any kind of life. You are doing the best you can. The animals you just lost had peaceful deaths, maybe a little before their time, but honestly, that's so much better than suffering longer than is necessary, which is the more common way to go. You did your best for them, too.

If I could offer you advice, it would be to try counseling again. It's time someone gave you a little comfort and help for a CHANGE. You got burned last time. I suggest going way down on "the food chain," and finding a social worker. You're more likely to get practical help and understanding from a social worker than a psychologist or psychiatrist. And interview a few, to make sure she can relate to your being an animal lover. I say "she" because I think you might do better with a female counselor who really "gets it" about women who do too much and nurture too much.

I wish you well. Please don't let your husband give up. Men sometimes get terrified about relationships in trouble, and they can be melodramatic when they can't find an instant fix for a problem. Take deep breaths and tell him to calm down, there's a way through this, although it will require some talking and some changes. And I trust there will be good changes. Good luck!

And here's my ringworm question: has anyone tried this white sulfur stuff??
http://www.petsbestrx.com/PetRingworm/

Is it a scam?
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Bunnelina, I'm sorry about your loss and possible battle with ringworm. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and advice.

Getting past this has been a daily challenge.

Reading through posts here concerning ringworm helped me deal with it a little better. I will go to your thread to answer your question about the cream.

Sending hugs your way.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnelina View Post
Hi,



And here's my ringworm question: has anyone tried this white sulfur stuff??
http://www.petsbestrx.com/PetRingworm/

Is it a scam?
My mistake, thought you had a thread started.

Yes, I tried the petsbest small cat pack for treating ringworm first. They offer a money back guarantee.

By the time I received the petsbest cream, spray and disinfectant- 1 dog and 4 of my cats had multiple lesions. I applied the cream as directed for 2 weeks. It did not work. I then ordered itraconazole through my vet. It did not seem to work. Read more on my experience if you like here: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=204282

I recommend you ask your vet about ketoconazole for treating ringworm on cats; http://www.showcatsonline.com/x/keto...ringworm.shtml

Ketoconazole is cheap and has healed lesions faster then anything else I have tried.
post #16 of 19
Good morning,

If we get a positive result on the culture, I'll definitely do that.

I'm going to start a new thread about next steps, and I hope you'll chime in!

Thanks!
post #17 of 19
I've known a lot of people like you in similar situations. Some people just cannot say "no" to things. That can be good and bad. But you seriously have to sit down and re-evaluate things and make some tough decisions.

I kinda learned from others (one was a very good friend of mine that I grew up with and went to cat shows with.) She started out with a few cats and kept getting (rescuing more and more). She also kept one dog too. I never had the heart to tell her she had far more then she could afford. She lived by herself and spent all her money on the cats (health, etc.)

After getting married we kinda drifted apart over the years. She died after I moved out of state - not sure how many of the cats were left, but can imagine most all were put to sleep.

Sad to say, but I didn't even want to go to her house - she could not keep up with the cleaning and it was really horrible to visit her.

From her (and a few others) I made up my mind to never have more then 6 adult cats in the house (never counted the litter of kittens when breeding my Rexes - as they were spoken for). I would have loved to have more, but knew I could not afford it and could not give them the attention.

I hope you can work out your situation for the best of everyone.
post #18 of 19
I'm just now finding this thread, and my heart goes out to you -- it sounds like you had a lot of help getting into this situation, but you're the only one suffering for it. I'm so sorry.

I hope you can find solutions other than euthanasia for whatever pets you cannot keep. Surely if you spread the word by way of flyers around town, especially at pet supply stores, you could find good homes for them -- and if you need any help making flyers, that's something I'd be very glad to do for you.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
..........

Sad to say, but I didn't even want to go to her house - she could not keep up with the cleaning and it was really horrible to visit her.......
That's one of my struggles. I do almost all the chores here. With the illness's I spend about three hours a day, five days a week right now cleaning house, treating pets. The illness's is what broke the camels back for me. I normally can handle things ok, not easy but ok. Six pets that need exercise is a huge chore for in it's self. Everything always used to be easy with the kids at home with their never ending help.

I learned from this experience. I have to say no to my always trying husband to take in more pets. I think he has learned too for the most part . He mentions a snake every now and then. I say no way! It's crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
I'm just now finding this thread, and my heart goes out to you -- it sounds like you had a lot of help getting into this situation, but you're the only one suffering for it. I'm so sorry.

I hope you can find solutions other than euthanasia for whatever pets you cannot keep. Surely if you spread the word by way of flyers around town, especially at pet supply stores, you could find good homes for them -- and if you need any help making flyers, that's something I'd be very glad to do for you.
Thank you .

New homes for my pets in their teens is not an option. I looked into that 2 years ago. The adoption homes say that cats do not do well adopted out at such an old age, especially if they are ill. In their experience, a healthy old cat usually dies from grief if adopted out. I talked to several adoption homes. The youngest cat was a ringworm carrier. I have had vets advise me to put him to sleep, that a carrier can not be cured. I'm determined I will try my best to get past all this.

Thank you all for the support. You guys are great.
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