Are you a hoarder? I was talking to a friend today who wanted to adopt a cat, as theirs had recently passed away. She found one that she really liked on a cat rescue site and applied, only to be turned down as the foster family had decided to keep the cat, along with the four others they already had and several dogs. I think we are all guilty of thinking that our four legged friends that we live with, could not possibly be loved by any other person as well as they are loved by you. I know I am guilty of that! I have learned over all these years of having pets though, that animals are extremely resilient and adaptable. I knew a woman some years back that had eight cats and two dogs, all living in a very small bungalow together, she was blinded by her love for the creatures she rescued and could not see that she was placing her pets under a great deal of stress. Shortly after she adopted the last two kittens, three of her cats came down with ailments (Cancers and a heart ailment) and died within months of each other. I will say she is an animal lover, but being an animal lover you have to recognize that you can not rescue every single dog or cat that comes into your care, that you have to trust that there are other like minded people, who can do an equally good job of providing a magnificent life for that creature. I myself was faced with a hard decision a few years back, we realized that our one rescue cat was very sick and that the second cat we had adopted, as we thought he would appreciate a friend, was causing him stress and in fact, her presence was causing him more harm than good. As hard as it was, we realized that Savannah was going to have to go, thankfully my oldest was moving out and was able to provide her with a good home. Every time I see a lovely cat that needs a home and I want to save it, I remind myself, that I am doing that every day, that I chose Romeo and he has special needs and that is who my commitment is to at the present! When he passes on and I am in no rush, I will go out there and find another four legged friend that I can shower with affection. In the meanwhile, those cats or dogs or whatever it is, that I see in a Pet store or on a rescue site that need a new home, I can help them in other ways, by donating food or money for their care, I can share their info with others on social media, spreading the word to help that cat find a new forever home, I can still be an advocate and assist them on the path to finding someone to love them. One has to be mindful with pets, that we make all the choices for them, who they live with, where they live, what they eat and because we make those decisions we also have to recognize that all animals are unique and have differing needs for their ultimate health and stability. One can have the best of intentions when they provide a home for five cats and three dogs, but one has to do some soul searching when you want to save an animal. One has to think about that animals needs and realize there are others out there that could love it and care for it equally as well or better! Cats are independent creatures, with a very territorial nature, it’s extremely stressful when you put a feline in a home where there are a bunch of other cats and dogs. I am not saying that each household should have one pet, period. What I am saying is, make sure you are not a hoarder of cuddly, furry creatures that you feel can benefit only from your love. True love, is selfless! One has to realize their are limits and examine their intentions behind keeping a pet. If an animal is faced with euthanasia or homelessness you are providing it with a new lease on life. Foster it, care for it, but have the good sense to love it enough to let it go. Love the animals you have made a commitment to by providing them with a space that is not over crowded and stressful and allow that animal that you saved from a bad situation, the chance to blossom with another family. As I have suggested before, once they are adopted to a new home, do check ins to make sure everything is okay and let the new family know you are always there if things don’t work out. Hoarding isn’t loving, it is Ego. It is thinking that your love is the only love, that only you are capable of embracing that animals quirks and providing the care they need, you aren’t! You aren’t that unique, there are animal lovers everywhere and if you really want to be an animal lover, don’t overestimate your super power!