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Bonny Albo

Is There Such Thing As Too Many Pets?

By April 25, 2012

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In the dating forum, AndyGram42 wants to know: "Is there a good way to tell someone you are seeing that they have too many cats and dogs?"

It's a thoughtful yet challenging question, which brings up a whole host of other questions, such as:

  • Can cat and dog people have successful relationships with one another?
  • How much is too much of anything? Meaning: can one have too many books? Friends? Newspaper clippings?
  • How do you broach what obviously would be a challenging conversation with someone you are dating? Better yet, how do you know if it's even appropriate to mention it?

I'd love to hear your views on this situation, and how any of you have handled similar touchy conversations.

April 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm
(1) Twinx says:

It’s none of anybody’s business how many pets you have. Is the question any different if somebody has a lot of children? Most relationships do not last and the warning signs are from those who display displeasure in how many kids or pets a dating partner may have. Go find somebody else. NEVER tell somebody to get rid of their dogs or cats; it is not an option. I dated a guy like that, who refused to even PET my cat, then claimed I couldn’t live with him because his apartment building had a no pets rule, so I went down to the garbage room on his floor and brought back an empty carton of Scoops Away cat litter and demanded to know why he was lying to me. I found out he was a chronic liar, and if he didn’t want my cat, he didn’t want me, either. Found out he was cheating on me, too, and stringing us both along until I kicked his a** to the curb.

April 4, 2008 at 8:52 am
(2) Labyrinth says:

Move on. Most people with pets consider them to be part of the family and trust me, you’ll be gone before they will. If you only wish to date people with no pets or kids then you need to state that before you even start dating anyone … otherwise, it’s your own fault and you’re setting yourself up for failure right from the start.

April 6, 2008 at 10:05 pm
(3) Roses says:

There is absolutely no way you should tell anyone they have too many pets, and insinuate they get rid of them to continue to date you. I totally agree with Labyrinth, if you have strong feeling about this you should find out in advance if someone has pets, what kind and how many. If this bugs you, the odds that this relationship will last is so slim that it would be foolish for them to get rid of their pet for you anyway.

April 7, 2008 at 2:49 am
(4) william penumbra says:

I agree with Rose to a point. I do also think though, that when a person has to many animals to properly care for and when finds themselves at risk for toxoplasmosis, it’s time to get rid of som e cats. If there is more cat poo than can be cleaned up to the point of it making a difference then something is wrong and that’s probably why someone would say something like “you have too many animals”

April 22, 2008 at 10:35 pm
(5) heather says:

well, Im a person who may oonsider me to have too many pets, I rescue and find homes for them, after they have been neutured or spayed and vaccinations completed. I live with someone who has been with me for five years and I informed him when we started dating what I did, and now every time I save another animal from the streets, Im b******d at, all I could suggest is the truth at the beginning would be nice, So no one waste time. I wont change what I do, becouse I have a good cause and I have a great feeing when I find a wonderful home for the rescued. I much rather would be happier by myself than asked to change.

April 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm
(6) disappointed but I'll get over it says:

I just broke up with someone today who was like, I still want to date you but I don’t want to come to your house because you have too many pets. (Seven dogs and 13 cats.) At the end of the day, if he can’t deal with my animals, I can’t deal with him. He knew from day one how many pets I had and kept saying it was fine with him because he loves dogs and cats. I’m so glad there is such strong support on here for sticking with the pets. I put up with his idiot friends and his smoking/drinking, you’d think he could handle a cat sitting on his lap.

June 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm
(7) Gale says:

I googled too many pets to see what would appear. Three articles were found, all were women who were fined, jailed, etc. because they had too many pets … no men. There are excessive numbers to anything, but I certainly have not noticed men being persecuted for overindulgence.

August 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(8) dog girl says:

I used to have 10 dogs. 2 of the just recently passed. But my boyfriend now tells me after 1.5 years that he can’t stand living with the dogs in the house. He doesn’t understand that my dogs are my kids.. they are not just animals or things.
I try to be as clean as possible, but can’t be at it 24 hrs a day.. I do work. I am willing to put them outside as a compromise. My mom told me yesterday that he told her a year + ago, that he was going to make sure I got rid of my dogs… I guess he thinks my love for him will make me do anything.
I do love him very much.. but the dogs are first. I am sorry. Can’t and won’t do that. If he doesn’t want me, then I hope and pray there is someone out there that will accept me with my dogs.

August 19, 2009 at 10:58 am
(9) snooksy says:

I disagree. What is the need to have so many pets? What is the point. You can get enough attention from one or two. Why do you need to collect them. They are not “kids”, They are not humans. They are animals. You can buy them at a shop. They each demand attention and it sends the wrong message to people you are dating. To me it says you care about yourself too much. It says that you prefer animal company to human company because you can’t get along with people very well. One or two is okay but any more is just excessive mess and a nuissance to non animal collectors. I hate going into someones house and having allof their animals jumping all over me. I hate getting their fur all over my clothes. I also believe that too many pets increases peoples chances of getting sick, especially touching dog’s noses. Just my two cents worth.

October 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(10) disgusted says:

IMO people who collect pets have deep-seated emotional issues. Although I would never own a pet I can understand having one for companionship. I can even understand having 2 that keep each other company when the owner is is away. Any more than 2 pets is a clear sign that something is seriously wrong. It’s simply unsanitary to have that many animals. I couldn’t imagine living in a house or apartment that is rank with pet ordor and that constantly needs to be cleaned of fleas, feces, vomit, and pet hair. Some of you should invest less money in your pets and more money in counseling.

May 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(11) Lilly says:

I have three pets. Two cats and one dog… Is that still a sign that something is ‘seriously wrong’? All of my pets are insanely clean and the cats are de-clawed. They really aren’t as messy as you are making them sound if you take the time to train them…

July 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm
(12) K says:

Wonder what your issues are? You do know that everyone has issues, right?

January 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm
(13) Veronica Delagard says:

I am amazed at just how many people think we who own too many pets in their eyes think there is something wrong with us. I own 17 dogs, 1 cat and 5 horses one horse on the way .

I love them all , my house does not stink. They all have had their shots and go to the Vet when they need to for regular check ups.

They all eat the best food and have wonderful companionship with each other and me and my husband.

I could not have all these animals if he didn’t help me or love them as he also does.

They all get baths on a regular basis and their ears checked and their nails done etc.

Sure the house is full of doggie bones and toys and dog beds but so what.

I would prefer people stay away if they don’t like my pets.

I used to joke that I have so many pets to make up for the kisses I didn’t get from my husband.

That really is not a joke. My marriage is the shits, but my husband loves our animals as I do, so leaving him and taking them would kill him as it would kill me if he ever did that to me.

So we pretend to get along and go about our lives.

Each and everyone of our pets has a wonderful personality and they are all so different .

I could go on and on about the joy they bring me , but I won’t. Right now as I am writing this I have 5 on the couch with me and the rest are either in bed with him, or in my bed waiting for me.

February 4, 2010 at 4:50 am
(14) CatLadySue says:

The reason why men aren’t found with ‘too many’ animals is that, sorry to say, men aren’t the nurturing kind. Cats, dogs or kids…to men, less is more.

March 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(15) GRab says:

All of you people that have all these pets better enjoy their company, cause no enjoys yours. I wouldn’t date any of you with 10+ dogs. The reason you think your house doesn’t smell is beacue you do too and you’re used to it. Enjoy growing old alone and hope your pets don’t eat your face when you pass…

May 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm
(16) lc says:

I have 10 Boston terriers in my house and no I do not stink and my home does not stink. AND they would not eat my face off if I died. You are a nut. I do not need counseling, they are gifts from God to comfort me and for me to care for them. My husband loves them as much as I do. If we are away, they have a sitter that stays with them. Sorry, but they prevent the issues that you say people need treatment for.

August 17, 2010 at 12:37 am
(17) Amber says:

My husband and I have 6 dogs, 5 cats, and 4 cockatiels. All of our dogs live outside on 5 acres. 2 of which are fenced in, we have one tom cat outside, and four cats inside. we scoop the litterbox 3-4 times a day and sanitize and replace the litter every other day. We vacuum with a HEPA filter daily, and bleach down all hard surfaces, everyday, even walls once a week. Our bird cages are washed twice a week and fresh food and water is provided every morning. Our carpet does not stink, we use baking soda and lysol to clean the carpet and furniture. We also wash our sheets every two nights, and always shower before bed, Our home is cleaner than most non-pet homes. Our animals are our family, and we take pride in caring for them!

January 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm
(18) Sylvia says:

I have three dogs, 2 finches, 1 hedgehog, 3 chickens and 1 fish. I have have a cockatiel on the way, and possibly another fish to keep mine company. I don’t see why people insist on going onto chats like these and just insulting people, it looks to me like those sort of people have the problems, not people who care for animals. I say you have too many pets when you can’t take care of them all properly and divide your love and attention equally. I rescued most of my animals and can 100% say that I have given them a better life, so what if I have to wake up at 6am to take care of them? If I don’t who will? What are these people suggesting, I give my animals to an animal shelter where they have to sit in cages and wait for someone to love them. Or give them away to families/people who could potentially not treat them right or use them for puppy mills. Yeah right. I would never let anyone come between me and my animals, never have never will. Another thing, yes I think sometimes being around animals is nicer than being around people… at least they don’t judge and insult you because they feel like it.

March 23, 2011 at 11:54 am
(19) John Wagner says:

Women with more than 2 cats are a particular personality type. Run.

July 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm
(20) K says:

I suppose you must know considering the number of relationships you’ve had. Wonder why none of them lasted?

April 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm
(21) danielle says:

I have 4 cats, a 3y/o daughter and a 1 m/o son. my partner has said to me that we should consider giving one away, i walked away saying ‘can i give you away’. Soon put a stop to that nonsense, never get between a pet owner and their pets, it’s a bad idea.

April 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm
(22) OceanFire MAltezers says:

I have a cat(although currently living with 2 beacuse my aunt had to go away for a while and we offered to take care of her cat); a small puppy and 2 degus. I looked this up to see if this is too many pets and if i needed to put any up for adoption. Apparently not. Thamks people with more pets than me! I feel sooo much better!

June 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm
(23) gebze ilan says:

Thanks :) nice blog

April 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm
(24) Voice of reason says:

Pet owners personify human traits into their animal companions. While I do love pets myself more than 2 is too much unless you have a farm.

You gotta understand your pets love you cause you feed them. If I fed them and played with them they would love me just as much. Its not a true human relationship. Animal lovers who sacrifice human companionship for the sake of their pets do have issues and were probably emotionally hurt at some point or have low self esteem. And to compare a child with a pet is ridiculous. And I don’t care how clean you are if you have over 5-6 pets unless your cleaning constantly your place is not clean.

I like dogs and pets too but there is such a thing as overboard. 10 kids is overboard and so is 10 pets. And if a person has a lot of pets chances are there is emotional baggage and I would stay away.

April 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm
(25) Jeff says:


October 2, 2012 at 8:04 pm
(26) ramencoe says:

Yes and no
I have a lot of fuzzy children. (2 cats,1 foster cat, 2 guinie pigs,bunny,2 sugar gliders, a gerbile,2 rats, and a dove. Also a red belly pirhana and an oscer fish) and also I do have friends and a boy friend. My aprtment is fairly clean most of the time (work on a farm so odd’s are I have hay stuck to me xP). And my guy is fine with it. Weekly cage cleaning or as needed. Twice a day litter scooping, and weekly baths for the rats and my dove.
For people who are like “you need to get rid of your animals” should take a hard look at them self’s. And ask for 5 years ware will I be? But, here is the flipp side. If you are worried that, thair animals are not getting cared for, and the place is a wreck, and they can’t keep up with them selfs . Then bring it up. As I know of people who have a lot of animals who can’t care for them selfs. My two cence is now done.

November 9, 2012 at 10:32 am
(27) Mike says:

I’m in a relationship with a girl who has 6 cats, 2 cockatiels, & 2 beta fish. We’ve been together for about 6 months now. I like one of her cats & I helped raise another one, but I really can’t stand the fact that she has so many pets. Her birds are not nice to me & continually bite & hiss at me, no matter what I do. Two of her cats don’t like me at all; I’ve got scratches on my body to prove it. She’s a really nice girl & I love her, but her animals are driving me nuts. I know that if I break up with her, she’ll lose it completely; she did when I wanted some time off from the relationship 3 months ago. I guess the only reason I still stick with her is because I’m afraid that she’ll end up hurting herself or someone else if I leave her. I agree with some of you: that having too many pets is an issue; they are no substitute for human beings, and trying to categorize them as such is often not good for people’s mental health.

April 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm
(28) Ashlee says:

Some of you people have some serious animal hoarding problems. I feel bad for your pets.

April 30, 2013 at 10:04 am
(29) Matt says:

As I type this, I’m laying her alone in bed. My girlfriend of 2 years is sulking outside in the lounge room because I denied her to bring her 8 week old puppy into the bed. She has 16 rabbits and the puppy and we are crammed into a small two bedroom flat. It is hell. The puppy isn’t toilet trained and it poops and pees on us and whinges if it isn’t put in our bed at night. My girlfriend demands to keep the puppy. We haven’t had sex in a while. All day every day its puppy this, rabbit that. She calls the animals her children, and honestly I think they come before me. She refuses to get a job, because she has to stay home every day to be with the damn animals, so I work on my own and have to use my pay to feed them, us and her. We just had another argument about the dog sleeping in our bed (my 5000 dollar bed) and I put my foot down and said no. She stormed out an hour ago and I’m still lying here alone in bed, wondering if I want to even be with her anymore. The pets rule our lives and I’m tired of it and I want out.

April 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm
(30) Matt - 2 says:

@Matt – 1

You need to explain the situation to your girlfriend if you already haven’t. It sounds like your girlfriend’s attempting to substitute a relationship with animals for a relationship with you, and potential children. I personally would make her seriously consider giving up the rabbits, or a large portion of them and getting a job. The dog needs trained, she can use the time she spends taking care of the rabbits now, training the dog (once the rabbits are gone) to live better in your home.

My wife and I have 2 dogs and 3 cats, life at home goes so much more smoothly when everything is clean, and taken care of (pets and duties). Both of your lives will get much better if you can work on consolidating the excessive amount of rabbits, and training your dog.

Hell, maybe you’ll get laid soon. :D

It does sound like your girlfriend’s trying to supplement ‘Taking care of pets’, for ‘An actual job and responsibilities’.

Good luck.

May 18, 2013 at 12:45 am
(31) Kim says:

I don’t understand how non pet owners have the nerve to call pet owners hoarders. Responsible pet owners do not have animal waste all over their homes, fleas, etc. It’s pretty simple to squeeze a tube of flea preventative onto them once a month. My husband and I have rescued 3 dogs and 4 cats. They are well taken care of and no, we don’t stink and neither does our house. People don’t even know that we have pets until we tell them or until they see them. I honestly believe that children are more disgusting than my pets. At least my animals don’t crap their pants, draw on my walls, leave partially eaten food all over the place, you get the picture. If people have a problem with us, it’s their loss.

May 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm
(32) Frustrated says:

@ Matt – I can completely relate to your plythe. I have been married to my wife for 13yrs now and we have always had 2 to 3 cats and a dog. In the past few years, she has been taking in more and more and now we are at 7 cats and 2 dogs. Every one of them requires additional care for medical issues and it takes us up to 2 hours per day to get ready for bed as a result. The dogs are old and really don’t pose much issue but with everything else it escalates to unmanagable. We also have 2 children and both work full time jobs.

I hear you when you say it causes relationship strain. I’m fighting the notion to end my relationship also as it seems as though we will never truly enjoy time together. We can’t even go out for diner let alone a weekend away together. My son and I have severe allergies to dander and her way of solving the issue is to purchase hepafilter air purifiers for our bedrooms. Doesn’t help me much as she has all of the cats sleeping on our bed and the dogs at the foot every night.

I love her, as much as I always have, but she seems to have lost sight with what life is. Its just too much and I would personally prefer to live on my own than continue to suffer in a home that offers me no relationship with my wife, no comfort and no room to breathe.

May 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm
(33) Sally says:

The idea of “too many” is determined by several factors, not justthe number of pets someone owns.

I think a huge part of what makes many pets ok or not is SPACE. Reading about 16 rabbits and a puppy in a 2-room flat is rather ridiculous; but reading about the 6 dogs, 5 cats, and 4 cockatiels on a 5 acre property seems completely reasonable. I live in a 4 bdrm house on 3 acres, and I have 7 cats and 2 dogs. My husband and I don’t have children, so the cats have their own room to lounge in and free run of the rest of the house-minus the bedroom and office-and the dogs spend half the day outside. We aren’t crowded, and the house remains easy to maintain.

I think commitment and money have a lot to do with it too. We have 3 LitterRobots, which scoop automatically every time the cats use them, and we empty daily. Easy peasy. We groom all the animals every week (yay Furminator!), bathe the dogs weekly as well. They are on Revolution (flea meds) and they get regular vaccinations, teeth scalings, and check-ups. We vacuum every other day (I’m planning on getting a Roomba soon) and use a Spotbot on our carpets when needed. All our tech goodies cost some change, but we felt it was worth it so that we could have our pets and still have free time. For those with will but without means pets are work, but don’t have to be gross! You don’t need much money to take care of your pets and keep your home nice. However, good food and veterinary care are non-negotiable when it comes to money. If pet owners don’t have enough money for those, they shouldn’t own pets.

Another important factor is the personality type you are living with. My husband loves animals as much as I do. We play with them constantly, take them camping, and cuddle all the time. We both get lots of joy from our animals. They aren’t “mine” or “his”. They are ours and we love them.

June 14, 2013 at 4:20 am
(34) i love my pets says:

I have 1 dog 4cats(well technically 3since I’m not sure if I am keeping one its a kitten I rescued) a hedgehog and I currently have my best friends sugar glider living with me. I currently have my own place it is a two bedroom apartment. My family and most of my friends seriously think there is something wrong with me. While usually I don’t pay them any mind hearing people tell you its crazy to have so many pets aaaaall the time can get to you. They make me feel as if I am sick or something like I need help and every one notices it but me. Idk but I love my animals! They all go to the vet I keep my place fairly clean. I mean yeah sometimes it gets messy but nothing a good cleanup cant fix. They are all healthy and happy so I don’t see what the problem is. My apartment allows me to have my animals with no complaints so I feel like as long as I am happy and my animals are happy who give a f**k. Lol but since I got the kitten everybody puts on this patronizing tone whenever it comes up in conversation. I work a full time job and I have friends so I don’t see why they all act so weird about it! I mean its not like I’m on drugs or I drink and I don’t pay my bills or I’m dirty or rude! No! Everyone feels the need to complain about my pets! It’s just really starting to irks my nerves!!!!! Is there something wrong with me? I don’t think so but maybe I’m missing something here! Any feedback is welcome….as long as it’s not rude or over the top unnecessary.

July 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm
(35) Enough Already! says:

Too many animals in a home is a selfish thing. It is not good for the animals and DOES show deep seated emotional issues. How do I know this? Because I have family members that have way to many animals and their lives are a mess. Maybe they want the animals to love them unconditionally….because family has a hard time dealing with them.
Try 15 dogs, 30 plus cats, 2 birds, a chicken and a rooster. All in a house. And the owners of them have issues. Problem is they make the rest of the family pay too.
A cat or two, a dog or two is not bad. Just when its out of control. Be responsible if you do have animals.

July 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(36) Newt2 says:

You folks with all them pets are crazy!!!
Its not like a farm. Unless you eat them…
It’s dirty, nasty and down right disgusting!
You say it’s clean and you work hard to make it that way. But what happens if your sick or get too old to clean constantly?
No one decent wants to be with someone who cares more about animals than humans. If someone you love has issues with them then do the right thing. Show them you love them and ditch the animals before its too late.
I’m sure you will say that if they loved you they would understand.. That’s a bunch of baloney..

September 22, 2013 at 3:12 am
(37) Nabi Smith says:

I agree. My wife had inky 2 dogs when I met her which was fine. That was two uears ago. Now we have 5. They have taken over the bed and I sleep on the couch now. I have tried to compensate but its just too much. I know I should have known better but I feel our marriage is doomed and she doesn’t want to acknowledge its an issue. I guess I have to face facts. Like it was said above, if a person you are involved with or planning on getting involved in, if they have pets… run they are hiding something.

January 31, 2014 at 10:17 pm
(38) past my limit says:

I’m having a big issue right now. When my husband and I were dating he had 2 dog, I was good with that because I’m a dog lover. When we got married, we had no dogs, and we were happy to get one when we moved out of an apartment. Soon we got 2, we both agreed the first one needed a friend. 2 is my maximum number of dogs I want . However, my husband brought another dog home… i didn’t like it and told him that but we compromised, or he got his way and decided to keep him. That was fine for a while, until he adopted 2 more dogs and I just got overwhelmed.

I told him so and he said verbatim, I’ll have as many dogs as I want and you’ll just have to deal with it. So, at one point we had 7 dogs. We had lost a dog to a rattle snake so fostering 4 extra dogs was okay under the condition it was temporary to help his grief. Long story short we finally got some adopted, but we still have 4 and it’s too many for me and he doesn’t care. I don’t know what to do. It’s causing fights and for me to just be unhappy.

February 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm
(39) SeattleSingle says:

I met a woman online (on a popular dating site) who has, get this:
7 dogs
5 parrots
5 snakes
I forget how many aquariums and tarantulas and miscellaneous other “pets.”
All this, in a 24×24-foot home. That’s less than 700 sq. ft. So yes, you CAN tell a person that they have too many pets. It borders on hoarding. I personally don’t understand some peoples’ desire to incarcerate and possess creatures many of which would be better off simply living in their natural, wild habitat. This seems to be a form of compensating for something. And this woman admits that, in her search for a life partner, her obsession is “a deal-breaker” for many of the men she meets.
Such complexity in a person’s life greatly affects their mobility. How does one engage in a pleasant and spontaneous trip to the coast for a weekend? With a veritable zoo in the house, you’d need to look for boarding for the dogs, and find someone willing to enter your home in your absence to feed all the other creatures. Oh, and one of the snakes regularly escapes his confinement, often found weeks, even months, later. On one occasion, this woman had to pay animal control $150 to get that snake back. Day care for her dogs is $12 per dog, or $84 per day for the 7 of them.
Yes, pet hoarding can be a very real problem for some people. I like this person, we do stuff together occasionally, but I can’t get intimately involved because her lifestyle would drive me nuts, with her beholden to all these creatures. Some things in life truly are choices, and limiting one’s access to a meaningful relationship through pet hoarding is definitely one of those choices.

March 2, 2014 at 8:11 am
(40) Beth says:

I have 2 dogs and 4 cats and I would tell everyone I made a mistake and that is too many. I grew up in a house with a lot of pets, 4 dogs and 4 cats so I grew up loving animals and thought it was normal. Don’t get me wrong, my husband, daughter, and I love all of our pets and I feel they get the best of care. It’s just that if I did it again, one or 2 dogs would be it. & for the same reasons most others have posted. Also, if you choose to have pets and limit to 1-2, you would be able to spend more quality time with your pets. As for the post about the multiple rabbits and puppy, I agree with the other commenter that recommended losing the rabbits and house training the dog. That was posted a while ago, so I wonder what ever happened with that situation. I think pet rabbits should be in a hutch outside. just my 2 cents…

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