My ex, a malignant narcissist who has been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, is an animal hoarder.
When we were married, at one point we had 15 cats. I was always too embarrassed to tell anyone how many we had because it was way too many for us to afford or care for properly, and it just sounded crazy to say you had that many cats.
I’ve always loved cats and always kept a few around whenever I could, but my ex thought it was his duty to bring home any stray kitten he found–and he always seemed to find them (or maybe they found him). I really think it was about control though, not a real love for animals. He knew I disapproved of having so many cats (and the lion’s share of their care and litter box cleanup fell on my shoulders, of course) so he’d bring them home just to annoy me. When I objected, he’d gaslight me by telling me I was an animal hater, which is far from the truth. I tried to reason with him, telling him that we weren’t helping these animals by having so many and that we were unable to give them the proper care and attention.
As much as I love cats, in the double digits (or even upper single digits), they are no longer much fun. Cats hate being overcrowded and cat fights in our house were a daily occurrence. On top of this, “Michael” wouldn’t allow them to go outside (though sometimes they escaped anyway, probably just to get some space). We kept 7 litter boxes (about 1 box per 2 cats) and they had to be cleaned daily and changed every other day. Vacuuming was constant; I had to vacuum the entire house twice a day due to the enormous amounts of cat hair and the litter tracked in from the litter box area on the screened in porch. In the summer, because the porch would get so hot, the boxes would be swarming with flies and sometimes I even found maggots in them. The cats hated that and several began to do their business outside the litter boxes, requiring a lot of poop pick up.
The cats were unhappy and several didn’t look too healthy either. We didn’t have the money to take them all to the vet, so we started reading on the Internet about how to give vaccinations and medical care ourselves. Veterinary supplies, including injections, were purchased at a local feed store that catered mainly to farmers and people who kept domestic livestock.
The house smelled terrible, no matter how much I tried to keep on top of it. I couldn’t invite anyone to the house. Many times I tried to talk to Michael about the situation, but he always refused to listen and we always wound up fighting. Our kids were small at that time and of course since kids love animals (and Michael tried to turn them into miniature flying monkeys against me anyway), they’d cry when I threatened to give some of them away.
After our divorce in 2005, Michael moved in with his girlfriend, a pillhead who had 2 large dogs–a pitbull and a mixed breed. Soon they had 8 dogs, most of whom were kept in large cages most of the time since they both worked and the dogs were never housetrained. When you went to their house, you had to make sure you didn’t step in dog poop. It smelled like hell. On top of that, Michael had brought along the 5 remaining cats (I wasn’t allowed to have them in my apartment at the time) and then adopted several more. He also became interested in bearded dragons but had no idea how to care for them properly and most of them died.
When Michael lived with me, he adopted a Jack Russell/Beagle mix he named Barnaby. I told that story in my article, How My ASPD Ex Used a Dog to Gaslight Me. Again, I had no say over the dog even though it was the worst behaved, most destructive dog I ever met. We only got rid of him because Michael himself decided he didn’t want the dog anymore (after we were threatened with a fine for the dog disturbing the neighbors for the third time in a row).
He always had to have the last word. He’s a class A control freak.
He’s hoarding animals again. He already has 4 cats and a dog. That’s not so bad, but I’m sure there will be more as time goes on.