Am I being unreasonable by not letting dd in my in-laws' home? *update in post #70* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband seems to think that I'm being cruel and unreasonable, but my thinking is that, unless some serious changes take place, my daughter will never set foot in that house.

My inlaws are hoarders. I'm not using that term loosly. The thing that makes this even worse is that they hoard cats. It's sad and sickening. I've even came close to calling the health department, but if my hubby ever found out, I can see it being the end of our marriage as he's so protective of them. They have 32 cats in a doublewide home. Not all of them are fixed, they have fleas, and don't even get me started on the overwhelming smell as soon as you walk in. Before we had dd, I had to leave my purse in the car to keep it from getting 'marked'. The house is gross and dirty. There are 4 cats that dont get along with the others that are kept in one room with a litter box, 2 more that dont get along in another room with a litter box, and the rest are all in the living room/kitchen/dining room, which, as its a doublewide, isnt a very big space, with 2 more litter boxes. The cats are everywhere.

Dh seems to think I'm overreacting, and I had to fight like crazy to keep us from going there on Christmas. Actually, when we didn't his dad said his feelings were hurt and almost didn't come over. They all think that 'just a little while won't hurt her'. I've been using the 'shes too young' excuse, but I don't know how long it'll be until I have to just put my foot down. Am I the crazy one?

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#2 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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No - you are not crazy. That is not unreasonable. If for no other reason than fleas are VERY difficult to get rid of.

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#3 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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If you are unreasonable, then I am too. There is no way I'd set foot in a house like that, let alone let my children do so. It's a health hazard.
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#4 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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You're being very sensible. 32!?! I don't think the shelter where I got my cat has that many cats at once! At best your daughter would probably end up with a fear of cats if she had to go there.
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#5 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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I don't think you're overreacting at all. It's a health hazard!
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#6 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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I love cats (I have 3) but couldn't even imagine that many. It is a huge health hazard. I was just watching a episode of some tv show that features hoarders and a couple had 80+ cats in a home (only 40 were still living). It was absolutely disgusting.

There is no way I would allow my children to go to a home like that. I would sit down with my DH and have a very loving non-confrontational talk with him about it. He has to realize that it is not healthy for his parents or for those poor cats.
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#7 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:06 PM
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I think youare doing the right thing and protecting your dd. I could xare less about people having their feelings hurt in the situation you described. Further I would very strongly urge you to report the animal situation to animal control (you can do it anonymously if you need to) those conditions as described by you are animal neglect and possibly cruelty. Also most states do not allow more than 4 or up to 7 cats in one residence. I am not trying to be mean to your in laws but is not right that those animals are living in that state (people have a choice at least). Your dh may be so sensitive because he knows that things in general are very wrong over there for lack of a better term and your in laws need serious help. I would never ever at any age let my dd over there until conditions improved greatly.
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#8 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:12 PM
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No way are you over reacting, that is such a major health hazzard.
Is there any way you could call the health department without him finding out? Like maybe right after the Electric meter has been read, or a plumber came out or something like that? Then your Dh may not jump to the conclusion that it's you.
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#9 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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Maybe not a huge deal, but besides the fleas, exposing her immune system to that many cats at once would be setting her up for major pet allergies down the line.
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#10 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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no your not being unreasonable, i wouldn't allow my lo's there either that many cats and litter boxes are deffenately not hygenic.

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#11 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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Ok I'm a cat lover. I mean HUGE, love them all, love, love, love! cats. And there is no way in you know what that I'd let my kids in a place like that. I wouldn't go to a place like that. Is there any way to help DH understand that his parents actually have a problem, not that you're not just being mean? Would he listen the pediatrician or a counselor if they told him that many cats indicates an issue? And really, 26 cats to 2 litter boxes? Wowza! This is something that indicates there may be actual legitimate mental issues at play and not only would I not let my children there, I'd really try to make DH see the light to get these people some help.
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#12 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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Here is a link to a long list of diseases she could be exposed to.

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/broch...icDisease.html

Ask the pediatrician next time both you and husband are there ... ped will be on your side I think.
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#13 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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That many cats that few litter boxes I love cats I have 7 myself 6 outside 1 inside she has her own room due to litter box issues and the kids are not allowed in that room because of the health risks. ie stepping in the poo and pee.

You are definitely not being unreasonable. Breathing in that much amonia is dangerous even to adults.

 
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#14 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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No, you're definitely not being unreasonable. Keep your focus on your dh. Hopefully you can treat this issue with some humor when you discuss it with him, so he doesn't get defensive. But tow the line. You're in the right.

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#15 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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you had me at "32 cats"...HAVE MERCY!! There is no way I would go much less force my child to go.

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#16 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I do not think you are being unreasonable at all. I would not take my child into a house like that either. That sounds disgusting and like a health hazard.
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#17 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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No I don't think it unreasonable, but I do think you should make a big effort to get your DD to see her grandparents. I know, I know it's their problem why should you have to do the extra work? But really to me family is so incredibly important and you are going to hurt your husband and your in laws feelings when you stay away from their home. Hoarding is like an addiction, and it is very difficult to break. Chances are they had this problem when your husband was growing up and so he is probably defensive of his family. He might even feel your rejection of his parents' home is a rejection of them and by extension, a rejection of him.


Help your inlaws understand that there are just too many pets for you child to be around, but that you want them(the inlaws) around your DD. Plan activities that they can come to, meet them at a park near their home, be proactive about getting time together and you won't have to worry so much about hurt feelings and resentment.
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#18 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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Nope, not unreasonable at all! Keep her away! And, for me, they wouldn't be allowed in my house either, because I am deathly allergic to cats. I can't image anything in that house not being covered in cat dander/hair. I'd die if they came over, even if they were showered and in clean clothes.
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#19 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:58 PM
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I'd call animal control. That's gotta be illegal, in any jurisdiction!

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#20 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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You're not unreasonable. Let your husband know that while you love that he supports his parents and you want to help, your child's health outweights their emotional upset. They are welcome to visit you instead or whatever compromise you can work out - but their home is hazardous.

It is hard to be the person who points out what should be obvious but isn't because of their crazy way of life. But I support you.

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#21 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
No I don't think it unreasonable, but I do think you should make a big effort to get your DD to see her grandparents. I know, I know it's their problem why should you have to do the extra work? But really to me family is so incredibly important and you are going to hurt your husband and your in laws feelings when you stay away from their home. Hoarding is like an addiction, and it is very difficult to break. Chances are they had this problem when your husband was growing up and so he is probably defensive of his family. He might even feel your rejection of his parents' home is a rejection of them and by extension, a rejection of him.


Help your inlaws understand that there are just too many pets for you child to be around, but that you want them(the inlaws) around your DD. Plan activities that they can come to, meet them at a park near their home, be proactive about getting time together and you won't have to worry so much about hurt feelings and resentment.
I agree with this.

And I would add that I think it might be worthwhile for you and dh to have a counseling session together at which you can discuss the issue with a professional who can help you talk through it. I say that because it seems like for your dh there might be a lot of emotional baggage attached to the situation. Perhaps a counselor could help you guys navigate the conversation in such a way that you could avoid hurt feelings.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#22 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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No, you're not at all unreasonable. My mom is a hoarder and my kids (or my sister's kids for that matter) will never set foot in her house simply because it is dangerous and hazardous to their health. My mom knows this but refuses to acknowledge it and that's just her way of saying that her stuff is more important than having a relationship with her grandkids (or children). It's a really hard situation and I hope you and your DH find a way to deal with it

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#23 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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There is no way my children would be going to that house, no matter whose feelings got hurt. I don't care if it is an addiction. Okay. Fine. But, I refuse to endanger my childrens' health to spare someone else's feelings.
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#24 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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Nope, your not being unreasonable. A house where peopl are hoarders, and hoarders of an animal (*ANY* animal - dogs, cats, mice, rats, whatever) would be a HUGE no freaking way. *I* wouldn't set foot in that house... *shiver*
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#25 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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no, no way are you being unreasonable. just invite them to your house instead, that's what I had to do with my family
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#26 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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PLEASE call animal control. there is no reason anyone has to know it was you. that is so unhealthy for your inlaws and for those poor poor animals. maybe seeing an outsider's reaction to the situation (i.e. immediately coming in and taking away all the animals, recommending counselling) will help your DH and inlaws realize how serious the situation has become? if they started out with one cat, and then added a couple, and then a couple more, it could be easy for the situation to get a little fuzzy for the people most directly involved. often hoarders know there is a problem, but have convinced themselves it's not as bad as it looks. and it isn't going to get better without some serious outside intervention.
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#27 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:49 PM
 
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I don't have any issue with them having 32 cats in the house, EXCEPT that the cats are not well taken care of. I don't agree about calling animal control because they will just kill them all and that would suck.

I actually know someone who usually has around 30 cats in their house (sometimes up to 60 or so) but they run a rescue, and change the multiple litters daily, mop and disinfect the floors daily, give all of them shots and Revolution (flea/tick stuff) and the cats are all extremely healthy and happy. Yes, the house still sometimes smells, but sometimes it doesn't.

That said, I would not take my little one into a house where my purse would be in danger of being peed on. I would wait until the child was much older. Instead, I suggest you start inviting the inlaws over as much as you can, so that you can control the situation. Perhaps you could invite them every Sunday for Sunday brunch or Sunday dinner. Or choose more neutral locations like parks, restaurants, venues, etc. As long as your inlaws see your child and family frequently, I think it will help lessen the blow.

And I know what you can get them for birthdays, mother's day, father's day, etc.... litter, litter and more litter, electronic litter boxes, multipacks of Advantage or Revolution flea control, etc.

If I were you, I might tell a white lie, say that you were bitten by fleas at their house once, and the flea bites got infected and drove you crazy for days, so unless all of their cats are on something, and their house is completely clean, you feel you simply can't go over. Claim you might have a flea allergy or something and apologize for your over-sensitivity.
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#28 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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You should show your dh the show "Hoarders" that was on last night it was on A&E (google Hoarder Shirley to find it). Holy crap, there is no way I would let my child go anywhere near a house with that many cats. I would call animal control. It is just plain cruel to the poor cats.

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#29 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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No way, mama. I wouldn't go in their house myself (I have severe cat allergies and would die lol) and I would not let them come into mine either. Fleas can come in on people and they really are hard to get rid of.
I would have a serious talk with my husband and not bend one bit on them coming over or us going there. He needs to realize what a crazy, hazardous situation this is and he needs to talk to his parents. Then it's up to them to either do something about it (ie get rid of most of the cats) or accept the fact that they've chosen this lifestyle over a closer relationship with the granddaughter.

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#30 of 85 Old 03-23-2010, 11:08 PM
 
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No, I would not allow my children in that house. I, personally, couldn't go there because of allergy issues.

Personally, I think you owe it to the animals AND to your in-laws to call animal control. There is a good chance that some of those animals are suffering (especially if they are not having regular vet care and it sounds like they have a flea infestation). It is NOT safe or healthy for animals to be kept that way. Is there any way they would not know it was you who called? I'm sure your DH is protective and if he has been there as the situation has slowly worsened there is a good chance that he is in denial about the situation as well. Maybe you could have *him* watch the hoarders show with the multiple cats and it might help him realize that this could be a mental illness.

 

 

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