Social Question

6rant6's avatar

How have you compromised your life for the sake of your pets?

Asked by 6rant6 (13692points) February 16th, 2011

There’s a new diagnosis in the land – pet hoarders. These are people who keep pets well beyond any reasonable evaluation that they add to their lives. These people abandon family, hygiene, and solvency in order to keep pets in numbers that make simple care of them impossible.

Okay, so you’re not that bad. But just what is it you’ve given up in order to have your critters?

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41 Answers

Nullo's avatar

I put up with begging at the dinner table – never did manage to train that out of the dog. She chews on the miniblinds if she’s home by herself and can’t see outside to bark at passers-by – we have accommodated her by leaving the blinds up or else have blocked her access to them. She is not allowed on the people couch, but goes up there anyway – scoldings are met with the appropriately termed ‘hangdog expression” and an unspoken, insincere promise not to ever do it again, never.

That’s it.

rooeytoo's avatar

We just had an old dog put to sleep last week. We loved him and I did not want to end his life while he was still enjoying it. But he was too old to be put in a kennel so when we could not find a suitable house and pet sitter, we did not go away. It was not too great a sacrifice, I sort of looked upon it as one would look upon caring for an elderly relative, it is a responsibility that should not be shirked.

Pattijo's avatar

My son wanted to come and get me for the weekend , though my cat got out so I didn’t go , my cat counts on me for love , food and water and I just could not go and leave him confused and scared .

Aethelwine's avatar

But just what is it you’ve given up in order to have your critters?

A clean floor.

tinyfaery's avatar

I haven’t compromised my life, but I have adjusted my lifestyle. I buy cheap furniture so I don’t care if it gets ruined.

rooeytoo's avatar

@psychocandy – Yep I forgot that, we do too and keep most things covered with quilts so they can be easily washed when covered with footprints from dogs with wet feet!

perspicacious's avatar

I don’t have any critters. I have in the past but I love not having the responsibility anymore.

6rant6's avatar

Man, am I alone on this one?

Here’s a starter list…
We never overnight away from home on the spur of the moment. In fact we often curtail activities to get home and let the dog out.
We can’t invite our allergic friends to our house – not that it’s often free enough of fur to want to invite anyone over.
If a pet gets sick, we cancel out plans to get it to the vet.
The carpet has “aged” significantly.
We have to vacuum twice as often.
We sometimes have to rewind the DVR because we can’t hear over the bird.
We put on heaters in rooms where the animals are and we aren’t. And still they make us pay for the power!
We have to have a car that will hold our biggest pet at the time.
We have to feed the animals before we have dinner.
At least one room smells like a litter box much of the time.
Even at the most intimate of times, there is always the chance of someone interrupting us.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’ve moved several times and it definitely limits my options. About 30–50% of rentals don’t allow pets.

Well, I don’t need unlimited options. I would never ever consider leaving my cats to face death at an animal shelter to accomodate some landlord.

They are with me for life. It confuses and saddens me to read the ads on Craigslist and see how many people give up their pets because they’re moving to a place that doesn’t allow pets.

Why not find a place which does. Yes, it’s definitely more work to find a place, but so what ?

Before anyone jumps down my throat, I realize that there are some people in dire circumstances in today’s economy and are running out of time and options.

I know that some Sr. citizens are going to nursing homes which don’t allow pets.

But they are exceptions and not the majority. There are plenty of people who do have time but are quite casual about their commitment to another living creature and figure they’ll just pick up a new pet in their new location. I still find that disturbing.

Anyhow, that’s probably the biggest impact for me. And I too get used furniture rather than constantly shooing the cats off.

And I’ve learned to adjust to the stray hair which finds it’s way into my food from time to time :)

downtide's avatar

When I got a puppy I dropped to working part-time so she wouldn’t be alone for so much of the day.

We mostly stopped taking foreign holidays because I don’t want to leave her in kennels more than is absolutely vital. So we take our holidays in the UK and take her with us.

And the shed hair is endless.

rooeytoo's avatar

I find I tend to buy clothing and furniture the same color as my dogs, the hair is harder to see that way, heheheh. It is hell trying to find dogs all the same color I tell you.

@Buttonstc – I agree about people moving. That is why, on those occasions when I had to find homes for abandoned animals I would never put one with someone who came and said they wanted a dog for the kids. Most kids get bored with pets so if mom didn’t really want the critter in the first place, out they go. It is so sad.

auntydeb's avatar

Oh my word, you had to ask that question. And I have to make an attempt at an answer.

Here goes: They are Bengal type cats, two of them (sister & brother), now seven years old. Raja, the male, sprays with some frequency, so I mop that up. Suki, the female, pees fairly frequently, in places she shouldn’t. So I mop that up too. I have become something of an expert in removing puddles of pee and making sure the smell doesn’t linger – great eh?

I leave the radio on in our bedroom… Oh, yes, the bedroom… I don’t have enough life left to live to describe the totally ridiculous shenanigans that go on there! There is a fight, perhaps three or four out of seven nights of the week, for who sleeps on which bit of the bed. Raj weighs fiteen pounds (not an ounce of fat, he is a real beast) and likes to lean. My Husband or I are inclined to find that one, or both of our legs have been ‘leaned’ outwards, to hang over the bedside… Or a limb has gone to sleep.

Then there’s feeding…

I may have to return later to tell more, but only if anyone is interested. These animals own us, rule our lives and have the last say. They are beautiful though. And amusing. And intelligent… And didn’t ask to be bred for domesticity…

….help us!

Judi's avatar

I just went downstairs and found dog shit in my kitchen. If this doesn’t get fixed soon I may bevlooking for a new home for this stupid dog.
I need to add that it’s 2:00 AM and I’m sure I’ll love the brat dog again in the morning.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Judi – whew, that’s a relief!

partyparty's avatar

We don’t go abroad for holidays as we don’t want to leave our ‘furry friends’ in kennels.
Nevertheless we are more than happy sharing our holidays with the dogs in the UK.
We enjoy ourselves and the dogs love romping about on the beach. Win win situation.

partyparty's avatar

@rooeytoo So sorry for your loss :-((

JilltheTooth's avatar

Pretty much everything everybody has said, but like @psychocandy says, it’s an adjustment. I’ve had pets all my life, don’t want to be without them. I also raised a child which is more work and compromise and adjustment, but hey, I wouldn’t have not done that either. Life itself is inconvenient, so a little more doesn’t phase me. However, one more foray into the bathroom garbage at night may put Zuppy in danger of some serious morning ire!!!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have two cats.
They poop inside a box.
The box is kept in the house.
That is a big compromise to me. ;)

Cruiser's avatar

I have a huge rabbit cage in my family room to allow my bunny to roam free while I watch tv in my recliner and a turtle tank in the den which has a water filter that makes an ungodly racket and makes the loud drumming and bass playing going on in the basement much more difficult to hear and a huge compromise over the peace and tranquility I would otherwise have.

Coloma's avatar

Hoarding anything whether pets or paper towels is a mental illness.

No, I don’t compromise my life for my pets.

I make adjustments, such as being home within an hour of dark to put my geese in their barn, or have my neighbor come down to tuck in the gang.

I do have black pillowcases over black velvet corduroy chairs in my living room for the cats to lie on and I keep their litterbox on the landing in the garage where they have accrss through a kitty door, but no smell in the house.

I take very good care of my pets but if I was unable to continue I would find them more suitable homes or have them put to sleep before I compromised my heath and happiness or theirs.

Animals want to live in clean, decent surroundings too and hoarders are extremely selfish and are run by their disease rather than anything that even comes close to truly loving their animals. Sad.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Constant cleaning. Dusting, vacuuming, defurring everything in the house on a regular basis.
I also keep blankets and throws on certain pieces of furniture that the pets like to frequent.
I have 5 indoor pets, so my day and routine pretty much revolves around them. Feeding, watering, letting the dogs out to potty. Making sure each one gets daily affection and play time.
Our carpet gets scrubbed… a lot. My basset hound has never been fully receptive to housebreaking, she had a very rough puppyhood, and she will occasionally piddle in the hallway upstairs. That is definitely a pain in the butt to always have to clean up.
One cat sits at the dinner table with us.
I’m trying to think, because I know there are more. This is their house, not mine. ;)

Jude's avatar

@Neffie, with your Bassett, do you have to bathe him (or her) often? Wash his or her face and ears?

I am looking at a Bassett Hound rescue and am thinking of getting one this summer.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Jude no more than the other dog, no. I’ve heard the same “things” about bassets… they stink, they’re loud, etc etc. We haven’t had any troubles. I do wash her ears regularly, though, just to be on the safe side.

Jude's avatar

:) I love their faces and their big “chewies” (jowls)..

VS's avatar

First thing I did when I bought my house was tear out all the carpet. Three dogs and carpet don’t work well together. That was 19 years ago. All three of those dogs have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but I have a 10 year-old Shih Tzu that rules the house now. The yard, of course, had to be fenced and gated. I only take family vacations that allow pets. I normally spend $50. four times a year to have her hair cut and groomed and spend every other Saturday or Sunday bathing and grooming her. I will normally drive home at lunch if I know GiGi is going to be alone all day without another family member there to let her out especially on nice days, but I enjoy dining al fresco so, it’s not totally for the dog!
I will not let her eat dogfood so once every ten days or so, I cook ground beef, ground turkey, or a whole chicken with rice and vegetables for her. She also gets her treats baked at home from chicken livers, cornmeal, flour, egg and canola oil. We freeze them and she thinks liver popsicles are the greatest thing ever! Yes, I spoil my baby. It’s the reason I have her. The joy and love she offers in return outweighs any price I would pay to have her in my life!

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m curious about those who remarked on litterbox smell. Don’t you use clumping litter?

I have extremely sensitive smell and yet my cat’s box is in the bedroom closet with no smell.

I have vivid memories of the old BC days (Before Clumping) litter was available.

You’d be lucky if a gigantic bag of litter lasted a week. And by the end of that week it was pretty rank.

Then you had to dump it all out and start over. Clumping litter is the best thing since sliced bread !

If it’s scooped regularly and a covered box is used, the only time I notice any smell at all is possibly for a minute of two after a fresh poop is deposited and I happen to be nearby.

But a quick scoop and deposit into a well-sealed container fixes that. But most of the time I don’t even notice that since the smell disperses fairly quickly after she covers it up.

Cats are good that way :)

And dogs are definitely far more needy of maintenance. In my younger years I had a German Shepherd in a city apt. without a yard.

Rain, snow, sleet or hail, he had to be walked. Didn’t matter if I had the flu and a fever of 103, he still had to go out.

But I loved him and I love dogs as well as cats. But cats are sooooo much easier :)

submariner's avatar

Answering this question completely would result in excessive self-disclosure. I’ll say this much: in addition to the usual sacrifices mentioned above, having a dog altered my career trajectory on more than one occasion. For example, in the late 90s I was a grad school dropout with limited prospects. I had taught English overseas, and I considered doing it again, but taking my dog overseas was not practical, so I went back to grad school and completed my degree.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Buttonstc I use clumping litter, and clean my boxes religiously… but those boxes stink. There is no way around it. Peeeyew.

Judi's avatar

@VS, My grandkids call ME Gigi!

casheroo's avatar

I once jumped into a sewer when about 7 months pregnant, to get the stupid cat. We were moving him into a new house, he had a collar and leash on…I was outside, didn’t realize how close to the sewer I was. He jumped right down! And the collar snapped so it didn’t choke him. It was so scary, but luckily my husband found the other end of it and went to it, so then it was just waiting from one end to the other for him to come to one of us. It was a long tunnel though and no one could fit. I pulled a muscle really badly because of that. Stupid cat.

And we also have not so great of furniture…but just got a nice dining room table but one cat scratched it last night because of our son. I’m pissed but I know it’s just a table. Gah.

faye's avatar

I laughed at the furniture. I have couch blankets- not for warmth, for dog and cat feet. I have a stupid laminate floor that is always dirty with paw prints. We paid a lot for people to dog sit on the last two holidays. Sweeping up cat litter is a common chore- she’s a digger. Fear of stepping on a half chewed treat is in my head now. But you gotta love them.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I know, right? My home and furnishings have been likened to a college student’s apartment. I’d rather have the beasties than a lovely house.

crazyivan's avatar

I sleep exactly one cat width away from my wife every night…

kheredia's avatar

We don’t travel as much as we would like to and when we do we’re always worried about the dogs and calling my sister who is usually the one who takes care of them when we’re away. We also live in a little whole in the wall type of place but we won’t leave cause it’ll probably be real hard to find another landlord who will let us keep a pit bull and mastiff mix for the same price we pay now. Then there’s the dog smell, the hair, the slobber, the pounds of poop we have to pick up every day, the chewed up shoes, books, movies, cables… etc… but.. we love them and nothing they do will ever change that :-)

Nullo's avatar

I just got through spending a week at home with the dog while the folks were away; I can say that I’ve sacrificed a fair amount of skin to her pleading pawing – she’s always been a little neurotic, and everybody going away kicked it up to eleven.

Judi's avatar

We just bid on a house where we can have chickens. The dogs are hard enough. You guys have me reconsidering my dream of growing my own eggs.

Coloma's avatar


Go for it! Keeping chickens is fun!

auntydeb's avatar

Just a thought on litter @ANef_is_Enuf – we use the pelleted sawdust for our cat, it smells lovely coming out of the pack – pine wood – and stays sweet for ages. It soaks up wee really well, is very easy to dispose of (can even be composted, minus poo!) and is eco friendly as it uses waste-wood. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go. It rolls about a bit, if bits get out onto a hard floor, but looks sort of ‘ok’, as it is just pale wood coloured and not that icky grey of most litters.

Buttonstc's avatar


I take the easy way out on the home grown egg situation and buy from a local organic small farmer for $3.00 per dozen.

Of course they aren’t all the same convenient size the way the factory produced ones are but you also can’t get grocery store eggs in lovely pastel shades of blue, green, aqua either. And the difference in taste is so incredible. Worth every penny.

So, until you decide whether to grow your own or not, I’m pretty sure you can find several sources near you.

After I first moved here, this is the site which helped me to find local farmers.


Buttonstc's avatar

And it’s succinct enough that I can remember it without needing to hunt through all my bookmarks :)

When I discovered it, it really opened up my local world incredibly. A lot of these places are really small and under-publicized.

Other than word-of-mouth, outside of this website, they’re not even a blip on the radar for most people.

Ain’t the age of the Internet great?

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