When a Pet Becomes a Problem
Facing a tough decision when faced with a stressful pet situation.
Welcome. I am here to talk about something that most people are afraid to talk about for multiple reasons, one of the biggest ones being that people will think you are a horrible person, and also that you will think so as well. This thing being: When you have pets, but you hate them.
Now if you are anything like me, coming to this possibility has you thinking absolutely horrible and mean things to yourself—things like "What kind of person seriously hates their pets?" "What in the hell is wrong with you?!" "Way to be a completely compassionless human!" Trust me, I get that the feeling of hating your fur baby is disheartening and just plain hurtful. But the fact of the matter is this: If you hate your pets, it's a huge sign that you are overwhelmed, not heartless.
Now I know that there are of course those very very few and rare people that genuinely hate their pets, and those are the ones who shouldn't have any, but those are also the ones that don't feel bad about it, so by all means that is NOT you or me. I had to learn this overwhelming lesson really hard recently. It's not a fun thing to admit that you are overwhelmed and stressed because you have turned into a 24/7 fur baby sitter. You can't sit down for five minutes without a pet getting into something, knocking something over, having to break up a fight between pets, smelling things you shouldn't, because that was definitely a smell that should only be outside. You hear yourself yelling and find yourself crying and finally, you realize, you don't enjoy any aspect of having pets anymore. It's not a good feeling, but it is something you need to face.
My husband and I love animals, and we have a small zoo: two dogs, three indoor cats, one outdoor cat, a ferret, and two mice. Me growing up always had a lot more animals around me than that, so my hubby and I decided to adopt another cat. So we went to the shelter and chose a cutie. About a week later, we brought him home. After a few days of having him, the chaos ensued. None of the other cats liked him. He would stalk them endlessly, tackle and bite them, HARD. He wanted to play endlessly, whereas the other 3 are older and play for only about an hour a day, then they hunker down and sleep for pretty much the rest of it. But not the kitten. He would torture them until they cried out. They would in their own ways tell him to quit, but he would have none of it. If he got bored with them, he would look for ways to climb on the curtains, get on tables and into food, and the worst thing: My Hubby is in the military and has American flags in his office which the kitten loved to pee and poop on... daily.
After a few weeks, we realized that if we smelled urine or poop, it was always because the kitten had gotten bored. If there was more than 2 turds in the litter box, he refused to use it. Having him became extremely stressful to the point where before I even realized what was going on, I was on edge with every single animal we have. It almost didn't matter what they did because I started growling at them for every little thing. I started hating being home because it meant I was on watch. Pulling the kitten off the necks of my older tabby before he had an asthma attack initiated by the kitten became quite literally an every-10-minute chore. I got absolutely nothing done in who knows how long. And when the hubby came home from work, he came home to a very angry wife, and he would only become stressed and angry himself after an hour home, because now we both had to keep watch. It was a different kind of hell. Slow and exhausting.
So long story short, a few days ago we had to sit down and talk about what the next course of action needed to be. The kitten had grown, but not in any way that was helpful. He still tortured the other animals including now the dogs (he actually chased our Shephard Husky around the house, only to corner her and claw her face—and no, she would never stick up for herself), still kept defecating in places that were a lot less than sanitary, and kept causing chaos to a point that was too much. No one in the house was happy. Except the oblivious mice.
After a long discussion and and a lot of feelings, we decided that the kitten needed to go back to the shelter. He obviously wasn't happy, and keeping him wasn't going to help him or us. This is the point I'm trying to make:
We love our animals, but if you are overwhelmed and constantly in a state of disliking your animals, trust me, they can feel it. All of it. If you are feeling this way the BEST thing you can do for them and yourself is really consider whether keeping them is good for them or not. If keeping them means being overwhelmed, then you are forcing them to stay in a high-stress environment, and therefore to be stressed, which could lead to health issues for them, not to mention you. But if you decide that yes, it's just too much, then you are allowing someone who is ready for the responsibility and everything that comes with it to give them a loving, relaxing home where they can flourish. Then you become a better pet parent for the ones you do keep, and a better person for them and yourself. I understand being nervous about what others will say, but let's face it—they aren't living your life. Ignore them, because it's about what is best for your mammal and you.
Giving up the kitten wasn't fun, to be sure. Funny thing is when we brought him back and explained why, they said "Oh yeah, when we got him they told us he didn't get along with other cats very well." So yeah, now my Husband and I are trying to figure out why they let us adopt him in the first place when they knew we have other cats.
But I digress; we are, as a whole, doing so much better. I love cuddling with the kitties again, and I actually enjoy changing the litter box now because it means they are all pooping where they are supposed to! The dogs aren't scared of the cats anymore, and the cats are so much more relaxed and aren't hiding in fear that they'll be attacked at any moment anymore!
Giving up an animal is never a fun thing, but if it means that you and the pet will be better off and happier, then trust me, it's the best thing you can do, and the most heartfelt thing.
I sincerely hope that this helps someone, because I would never want any animal nor a person to feel unhappy in their home. Please keep in mind I'm not saying that if they anger you once you should get rid of them; I'm saying if it's an ongoing, building, and influential problem, you should consider this option. There are always other ways to correct behavior problems and/or training options. Please consider all possible factors before giving up a pet.
Thank you for reading!