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Friday, January 14, 2011

Hoarder, Mental or Just a Slob?

I love watching "Animal Hoarders" on Animal Planet. I'm not sure why, as most people I know are disgusted by it. I think it's because I can relate to the situations on there on several different levels. I have always kept animals, usually many animals at a time. Currently I only have four dogs(2 outdoor, 2 indoor) and two indoor cats as well as our chickens, which obviously are outdoors.

At one time we had three horses, seven goats, three rabbits, a few dozen chickens, cats, four dogs and assorted caged reptiles.

At another time I had 15 or so cats. All indoor, no other pets though.

I would say the closest I was to a "hoarder" was when I wasn't the hoarder per say but the caretaker of the hoard itself. I was 14 and my mother was recently divorced and in need of employment, housing and an income. We became the caretakers of a gentleman's house and his 37 cats. Yes, I said 37!!

So, you can see I have plenty of experience with large numbers of animals. Perhaps even to the point of being considered a hoarder at various points in life.

I can understand the emotional aspects that are involved in loving animals and the circumstances that may drive one to latch on to their pets rather than the people in their lives. While it's not necessarily healthy, it is understandable.

But keeping the hoard and understanding the emotional aspects is where my sympathies and understanding end.

Watching this show I am always disgusted and appalled at the filth the majority of these people live in! I have watched episodes where a couch was pulled from a wall to reveal several FEET worth of cat feces! I watched an episode tonight where most of a woman's floor was covered in feces. In the year or so we took care of those 37 cats I can honestly say I don't think I ever saw animal droppings anywhere in the house other than one of the dozens of litter boxes. There was a bathroom and a garage that was designated just for the cat boxes. There was definitely an unpleasant odor in and near those rooms, I think that is unavoidable under the circumstances, but it was CLEAN.

I am not the best house keeper by any stretch of the imagination, but even while currently training a young puppy you wont find a mess on my floors. Oh sure, they get made, but they also get picked up as they get made. If I didn't pick them up as they occurred I am sure it wouldn't take too long for my house or anybodies to resemble the ones I see on this show. The trick is to clean the messes as they're made!

What got to me tonight was while this one woman's house was gross with cat feces everywhere, considering the cats and nature of the show, you kind of expect to see that, but they showed the microwave she was heating up her dinner in, and it too was sickeningly disgusting! I don't think it had anything to do with the animals, it was just massive amounts of caked on yuck in and out of the microwave.

So, when I see things like this, I can't help but think the issues here go beyond hoarding animals. I have seen one episode where the couple featured had obscenely large amounts of animals yet had a house that was amazingly clean considering the nature of the show and the houses in previous and future episodes.

On similar hoarding shows that involve the hoarding of "things" or "stuff" versus animals there seems to be similar emotional issues that cause that sort of hoarding, but I've also noticed there too, that some of the hoarders houses are absolutely filthy, caked on food on the floors, counters, stove top, etc.. and in others their "hoard" is neatly stacked and piled and the house is relativity clean. I mean sure, there is lots of clutter but considering the amount of junk they hoard the house is reasonably clean.

So it seems hoarding animals or stuff doesn't necessarily make one a slob as well. I try and keep my house reasonably clean and certainly don't judge others by the cleanliness or lack there of of their houses, but for some reason it really bothers me that this show depicts hoarders, animal or other wise as slobs as well as hoarders. To me, it is two separate issues, not necessarily related to one another. I don't know if the causes are the same or if there are different reasons for each issue, I also don't know why this is bothering me this much...it just is.

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