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What would be the right thing to do with my sister's pets?

My mother asked us to move into her house for the winter, as she isn't here very often and wanted us to keep the pipes from freezing, help her financially, etc.. My SO had just been laid off, our lease was up, and we had just found out we were expecting our 2nd child so we figured this was the best move financially and otherwise. We've been here for 5 months and things have been GREAT. Two months ago my sister (who is nearly 30 and has a young child herself) moved into an apartment where she isn't allowed to have pets. She has two cats and two ferrets. My mother said she could bring them here (which I was very against as I'm very pregnant and don't want cats around my newborn baby, but it isn't my house) IF she came by daily to take care of them. She doesn't and the burden and costs have fallen on my mother and me. (continued...)

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:36 PM on Dec. 7, 2009 in Pets

Answers (12)
  • She 'forgets' every time she is here, no matter how many times we remind her, and almost always leaves without caring for them. That we can sort of live with, as we are animal lovers and have a few pets of our own. My issue is- a few weeks after her pets moved in, both cats started defecating and urinating all over the house. They know where they are SUPPOSED to go, as they occasionally use their box. One cat even goes on my BED, in my son's toys and play area, the shower, in the middle of the room, on our freshly clean clothes, and as of lately under our Christmas tree-- this is an almost DAILY thing. They also constantly get on the counters and tables. I don't even need to get into how disgusting this is, I'm sure. I have a 3yo running around the house AND I'm several months pregnant and getting ready to bring a new baby into this house. Obviously, there are major health risks here. (continued...haha)

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:38 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • I've spent countless hours and a LOT of money washing and rewashing bedding and clothing and furniture, shampooing carpet, sanitizing all my son's stuff, etc DAILY. When we confront my sister about this and point out that this isn't our responsibility, that she is putting my children's health at risk, and that it isn't fair to us to have to deal with it... she either completely ignores us, gets angry and storms out, or gives us a guilt trip ("I'll take them home and you'll just get me kicked out of my apartment and we'll have to move in here.") My mother continues to give her one last chance to find them new homes before she just takes them to a shelter. That one chance comes and goes daily and I'm still stuck with her animals and their messes. (continued...)

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:38 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • But this isn't my house and I'm not sure if it would be my place to take them to a no kill shelter/give them to new owners myself. However, it isn't right that my family and I should have to deal with this regardless of who owns the house. I'm just sort of confused on what would be the right thing to do in this situation. Any suggestions, insight?? Thanks!

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:39 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • Well it has now became a health risk to your children and your mothers grandchildren I say take them to a shelter or give them away. She had her chance.

    Answer by armywife2009101 at 7:41 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • Either that or I would be getting my own place again. That way it's for sure not your problem anymore

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:43 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • i think you are COMPLETELY right. you should take them to a no kill shelter or give them to a new home. post them on and ask for a rehoming fee. this way you can get at least a minimal amount of your hard earned money back. its not fair on your part. i hope you get this resolved. goodluck!!!!!

    Answer by mommykayti at 7:43 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • I would just take them to a shelter, its not like they are even her pets anymore, they live with you and you are caring for them which makes them pretty much your pets. And its really unfair to you, everyone knows a pregnant woman isn't suppose to be changing cat litter and stuff and its wrong to put you in that position and generally speaking ferrets are not good pets for children, there are exceptions of course but usually they are too mean

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:44 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • Id give her one week to find them new homes or take them herself. No longer because then she'll slack on it. If she doesnt figure it out, tell her youre taking care of it and either rehome them or take them to a shelter. The animals are obviously upet and thats most likely why theyre going to the bathroom all over the place. If her pets meant so much to her, why would she get an apt where they couldnt go? I have two small dogs and when my ex and I got divorced I had to find ALL of us a new home. I paid $900 for them just to move in and then a pet rent. I know its a lot of money and it was very tight but I couldnt get rid of them.

    Answer by Aqua_Jen at 9:38 PM on Dec. 7, 2009

  • These poor cats are very stressed! This is not unusual for this sort of thing to happen. Instead of immediately kicking them out you need to tell your sister to take them to the vet because there could be something else going on. In the mean time you should get a comfort zone with Feliway plug in for the house it may help.

    Answer by KyliesMom5 at 12:10 PM on Dec. 8, 2009

  • My cousin pulled the same thing on her hamsters. However, I was allergic, and I took over payments on her apartment when she was moving in with her boyfriend. She started with 3, and by the end of 3 months, I hauled all 58 hamsters to the pet store.

    If you feel obligated, give her a deadline to have a place for them, especially since you're pregnant. Reiterate the fact that cat feces is NOT healthy for you, and ferrets STINK. Regardless if their scents are taken out, they still stink, it's the urine and the shavings... it's all gross, and if you don't want the responsibility, I'd call Mom, tell her this is their last shot, you're done, and if it's not solved in a week, YOU'RE going to do it.

    And I mean it, do it. During the weeks time that you allow, post an ad on Craigslist to see if you can find them homes ahead of time, that way, you can say, "You come get them, or I'm giving them to the homes I found for them."

    Answer by matobe at 5:00 PM on Dec. 8, 2009

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