Did it again!! (Single ladies and pets)

Though I bemoaned this problem at lengthhere, I have once again got in over my head with a single lady owning an incredibly obnoxious number of pets.

At this moment, I am staying for the first time in her house, in central Florida, and am thoroughly skeeved out by the atrocious stink of her elderly dog, by the pervasive odor and all-purpose filthifying hair and general nuisance of her uncountable (I think there may be 8, possibly 7, maybe 9) cats, and my return ticket is in another 9 days. If you can suggest ways to keep my sanity, please let me know. I am typing this on a chair on her front lawn because I literally began to puke from the stench.

Before you blast me, let me tell you what to blast me for: naivete.

I didn’t get involved with a pet-owner blindly, but rather safely. We corresponded for a few months, commencing around the time of the above-referenced thread, and I had carefully asked her if she were a pet-owner, telling her frankly that that was a dealbreaker for me. She admitted that she was BUT:

  1. her only dog was 14 years old (I think) and she was committed to NOT replacing him when he met his maker. (I don’t have problems with dogs, have owned some, and have cheerfully lived with roommates’ dogs for years) so this didn’t seem like a problem, especially since she explained her dog was a mostly outside dog.

  2. she was a multiple cat-owner but strictly involuntarily. Her ex-boyfriend had insisted on importing MANY cats (far morethan 9) into their home, and when they broke up, had no place to live so her only options were to kill the poor things or to try and give them away–she felt it was far more humane (the sweet kitties hadnt done anything wrong, had they? No, so why should they suffer because her ex- was a dick). We spoke several time in December about her efforts to rid her home of all these cats. “Good,” I told her, “because I can’t stay in a house filled with cats.”

I came to Florida in January, and I stayed in a motel, met her, and she accepted my invite to come to my house in NYC in February, which she did for five days.

She invited me to visit her home in Florida during springbreak, and reported that she’d gotten two cats adopted and her son had agreed to take two more with him when he moved out, which should be any day now, and she was working vigorously on getting rid of the rest of them immediately. This is where I was naive–that sounded as if there were a real chance that the house would be kitty-free by the time spring break rolled around, so I bought a plane ticket.

I arrived yesterday, and

  1. her son will be moving out at the END of spring break, so those two cats are still here.


  1. she has gotten no response to any of the ads she’s written advertising free cats, so the uncountable rest of them are still here.

  2. The elderly dog has gotten so elderly that he basically sits on the couch all day and stinks. He may be already be dead, judging from the odor, but every so often he opens his eyes, so probably not.

I can physically stand it, as long as I can spend 12 hours a day outside of her stinky house (I think) but if anyone has tips for me to remain pleasant and sane during the other 12 hours, most of which I can spend asleep, I’ll be grateful.

I’m an animal lover though stinky animals need to be dealt with.

If you are allergic, even mildly, take a non drowsy benadryl cap once a day. it seems to preemptively strike effectively against minor kitty related itchy eyes. If not, then I also suggest chewing strongly flavored gum occasionally while in the house. It will overpower or ameliorate any stink. If you are a smoker, and she allows it, I used to puff on a cigar while cleaning out the animal cages at the pet store i owned. It was extremely effective.

Also, tell her to bathe and babypowder the dog.

Also, Open the windows and run the fans, it’s nice and cool this weekend.

Somebody break your arms? No?

Then bathe the dog yourself, nothing’s stopping you. Ditto with sweeping/vacuuming up the hair, changing the litter and spraying some air freshener. (You could say you’re just wanting to help out or some other tactful thing.) That all might take an hour tops. Of course if you’d rather just bitch about it, have at it.

Or move back to the hotel. And next time, tell your date you’re highly allergic to pets. If she says, ‘I have one cat’, or whatever, tell her you can take a allergy med and muddle through okay. You can confess the truth after you’ve seen her house, making sure to mention your past experiences.

( Hey, you did say we could blast you, I’m just taking direction!:smiley: )

How attached are you to this person? How far did you travel to meet her? Do you think she made a goodwill effort to make the place cat free (I get the feeling the dog isn’t the issue here) for your arrival or is it likely that she’ll always be a cat person?

I ask these questions because if you’re not that attached to her, if you’re still kind of on the fence, I wonder if you need to just tell her that the cat situation is a deal breaker for you and your sorry, but it’s not going to work out and go back to your motel and try and find away to go back early. You could even tell her that if she ever gets rid of all the cats, to give you a call, but personally, I wouldn’t take her up on the offer if she did call. My fear with someone like that is that if we moved in together there would still be a constant stream of rescue cats coming through the house.
I think a “Sorry, I was under the impression that all the cats would be gone by the time I got here, I really can’t handle being around this many cats, this isn’t going to work” is going to be your best bet. With how much time you’ve been spending outside, I’d think, even if she wasn’t happy about it, at the very least, she’d understand.

Yeah, I think at this point, your options are to help clean up, go to a motel, go home, or go mad.

But what I’m really wondering is why you keep being attracted to Crazy Cat Ladies[sup]TM[/sup]. At the risk of being too psychoanalytical, what need are they fulfilling for you that you’re not fulfilling for yourself?

I think you’re joking but I’m not sure. PRR, specifically told her that he can’t live in a house filled with cats. She told him that all she has is one elderly dog (which he’s okay with). She mentioned that she does have some cats that her ex left behind but they’ll be gone by the time he gets there. He showed up to find between 7 and 9 cats. When that happens, you don’t vacuum up the cat hair, you call her out on it. Honestly, PRR, now that I write it like that, if I were in your shoes (which I’m not) I’d probably say “Hey, you said there weren’t going to be any cats here, I really can’t be around cats, I’m really, really sorry, but this isn’t going to work, I’m allergic to cats” and gone back to the motel and made arrangements to get back home.

Of course, this is all based on what you’ve told us. If this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and everything else about this person is perfect, and you’re under the impression the cats actually will be gone soon, just not while you’re in town right now, that’s different.

I guess that’s what we need to know. Is she a crazy cat lady or is she actually trying to get rid of a few homeless cats her ex left her with? Is she likely to take in more when these are gone?

See, I don’t think you can *not *be a CCL and house 9+ cats, even temporarily - and this has been going on since at least December. I’m sorry, but a reasonable person would gather them up and take them to a shelter at some point.

You’re probably right, especially since they weren’t hers to begin with. But just to play devil’s advocate for a minute for kicks. If there isn’t a no-kill shelter in the area, the house is big enough that PRR couldn’t count how many cats she has and she doesn’t mind cats…

Who knows, it’s hard to say based on PRR’s description. Looking at the OP, I noticed something that just jumped out at me. She said no one took her up on the ads she posted trying to give them away. I’ve never been a cat person, so I don’t know that culture, but do people really pass up free cats?
Maybe you want to ask to see the ads…ya know, to help her write them or repost them (but really so you can see if she ever actually did it). Otherwise, you’ve got some time before you go. Look around for a no-kill shelter and see if you can take the whole lot over there. Be a chum and bring all the cat stuff (toys, food, liter etc) with you. Make sure she doesn’t have any reason to bring more cats into the house. I know this sounds a bit controlling, but I kind of think it’s the only way. If all that stuff is there and she happens across another cat, she’ll probably take it in. And who can blame her. She’s got all the stuff at her house, and you live hundreds of miles away and won’t even know about it. With all the stuff gone, she’d have to go out and rebuy all that stuff. At that point, I think you’d have your answer. She’s always going to have cats and if you can’t live with them, it’s probably never going to work out.

Maybe naive, but I believe her story about the evil ex- and getting stuck with the cats. I think she’s so sentimental about them that even a no-kill shelter is horrible (she says they provide a miserable existence for them, no kill aside).

I travelled 1000 miles (NYC to central Florida)–btw, it’s spring break, and I can’t find a motel room, nor am I budgeted for one for 9 days. That will probably run a thousand bucks or more if I can find one.

Not very attached–she’s nice, a decent, smart, single woman, but my socks are definitely still on my feet. This is by way of an experiment which I’m trying to make work, and so far–well, I’m sharing space with 9 cats, a dog, and her son. On the upside, it’s 80 degrees here today, and I’m sitting on her lawn in shorts and a t-shirt.

I had a friend that worked in a no-kill shelter. The place was fucking disgusting. Sick animals, vicious dogs, uncleaned kennels. She would come back from work every day with bites, scratches, dog pee soaked mid way up to her jeans. Of course this doesn’t mean they’re all like that.

I don’t know what to tell you. I suppose you’re going to have to tough it out, but once you get home, if you decide to pursue this, you’ll have to make it extremely clear, that if she doesn’t get rid of the cats, it simply can’t work. Not only that, but she’ll have to make up her mind, like now. You can’t have her telling you that she will and then find out in 6 months, the next time you show up that she still has 5 of them. Also, you might consider driving down next time, so if there are still cats, you can hop back in your car and cut your losses.
Personally, I’d say based on all this, plus being a LDR, I’d break it off.
Again, this is all “easier said then done”, “If I were in your shoes…but I’m not” and “based on the information given” type stuff.

Also everything in her house is boobytrapped so that the cats can’t get at it ( food cabinets are secured beyond normal security, rooms have dividers between them so certain cats can’t get access, etc.) and still there are constant cat squabbles taking place on the dining room table. I don’[t think she has any idea how much her life and her household is designed to minimize the cats’ presence, how irritating much of it is to an outsider (water- and food bowls throughout the house, for example, and half the basthrooms wholly out of commission because they’re dedicated to the cats, so that the three humans have to share a single bathroom.) This may be fine for some people, but to me it’s just GRRRRRR!

The degree of sympathy I have for your situation is… zero.

How is it you managed to get SO into someone you had never been in the physical presence of in the first place that you would travel and commit to spending 10 days sleeping in their home?

Newsflash: this is 2011. We have more than 15 years of experience now with people lying on the internet about who they are and what they are about. We even have a lengthy film on the subject, called Catfish, I think.

You did something that wasn’t only stupid, it was potentially dangerous. As your reward, you get to navigate one of your least favorite situations.

So go to motel, go home, clean up, or just bitch. But whatever else you do, learn from your mistakes. And be glad your cat lady wasn’t Kathy Bates in Misery, ready to break your ankles to keep you around.

Your reading skills stink. I met her in my home for five days, and I stayed in a motel and hung out with her (largely in that room) for another five. And I Skyped with her for a few months. I gambled that when she said she’d be cat-free a month ago, I could safely buy a ticket to spend some time with her. I was wrong about that, and I noted that I was being naive. But thanks for your support.

Just go home. Seriously. This house is set up like a crazy cat lady’s house. NO ONE has that many animals in their home involuntarily. She spins a good story apparently, that you fell for.

And also seriously, I’m pretty sure I mentioned something in that other thread about simply leaving it at “it was nice to meet you” the SECOND you discover the other person has animals, just like I would say the same the second a guy told me he didn’t like cats. Have a nice life, it was nice to meet you. It’s really not hard to do.

The fact that you’ve traveled so far to meet this person, knowing there were animals in the house, makes me wonder why you’re so desperate for pussy.

badum ching

Whoops. Sorry. Never mind…


PRR made it pretty clear to us that as far as he could tell, by the time he went down to visit the only animal in the house should have been one elderly dog, and he was okay with that. The cats were a surprise. A surprise that she specifically said weren’t going to be there.

I’m sorry for your situation, PRR, I really am - it sucks. Change your ticket and go home. It will be 80 degrees there before you know it. “I’m sorry, this isn’t working out like I thought. Goodbye.” Taxi picks you up, you go to the airport and fly home. There’s no salvaging this trip. I’ve been on the unsalvagable trip, it’s very frustrating and when it was over the relief was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Depending on the cost to change your ticket you may find it cheaper to take Amtrak home, that’ll kill 4 days right there.
UNLESS - have you looked to see if there’s a campground nearby? Maybe you could have a ‘romantic week’ roughing it away from the stench and the bother?

If you want to make it 8 hours north you can sleep in my neighbor’s crawlspace.

“They are here involuntarily” and “I can never take them to a shelter of any kind (kill or no kill) because I’m sentimental about them” – these two statements do not compute. Combined with “she has organized her entire home around managing these cats” - she is either a big fat liar or completely delusional, neither of which bode well for you prr.

The cats were not really a surprise. She lied and he fell for it. Like I said, just say it was nice meeting you when you find out there are animals in the home, and move on.

Animal people and non-animal people should not pursue each other, it always ends badly for all. And to be clear, for PRR’s future reference, someone with animals in the home for whatever reason they give, even if it’s temporary, are animal people and they must be avoided by PRR.

So I’m blasting for naivete, as requested, but you don’t have that for an excuse after today!

Some men just can’t resist all that extra pussy you know.