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Animal Farm in small house

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My daughter and her husband live in a very small two-bedroom, one bathroom home with two gigantic dogs and two cats. The dogs are sweet but are constantly barking and will practically knock down anyone who comes to the door due to their size.  Recently, a new neighbor moved in next door with their own dog. When that transpired, my daughter’s dogs started fighting through the fence with the neighbor’s dog, causing a huge disturbance.  My daughter and SIL (son-in-law) are extremely passive and seem to have acquiesced to keeping their huge dogs indoors most of the time now.

Problem number two.  One of the cats starting spraying shortly after my granddaughter was born 2 ½ years ago.  The entire house reeks of urine so much that you can actually smell it outside the closed front door. When I pick up my grandkid for visits, the diaper bag, her toys, her clothes, her body, everything smells of cat pee.  

Last year I sent my daughter an article on the health hazards of breathing in the ammonia and other noxious elements associated with cat urine.  I followed up with a phone call, and she got angry at me and made it clear that she would not give up the cat.  At the time, I thought that if she had him fixed, it might cure the problem, but now I’m fairly sure that ship has sailed and according to a vet I talked to, is actually no guarantee that he will cease this behavior. 

To make it worse, her child, my granddaughter, was diagnosed with Autism. I worry a lot about the long-term health implications of this situation.  My daughter and SIL seem to be sick very often with respiratory conditions. We are all animal lovers in my family, but there comes a point where you have to cut your losses with a pet that is making you sick and destroying your environment. Ideas? 

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Unfortunately unless there's child abuse/neglect or building code or pet ordinance violations there's not much you can do. If you want to report them for something the consequences could mean a rift with your daughter. Are they hoarders? Is their house generally unsanitary? 

It's unfortunate their home is messy but as you found out sending articles will usually get a "buzz off and mind your own business" type of reply. 

How old is your granddaughter? Does she attend any schools or programs? If she goes to school smelling like animal urine it may prompt a visit from child protective services. 

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Thanks all.  As I said, my Grandkid is 2 and 1/2.  Also the dogs are not known to bite or be aggressive, they're just so big they are imposing and love to jump up on people.  So no worries about attacking. They are not hoarders, but yes the house is unsanitary.  You make a good point about my Granddaughter about intervening.  It's just a delicate situation, but I think I can frame it in such a way as to not have her write me off.

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Just because there are no guarantees that neutering will automatically curb male cat spraying, that doesn't mean that it won't help. I've seen it work wonders with many a male cat, and yes, many have stopped completely. It would also help to know whether the other cat is fixed. If not, they should both be done together to bring down the combined hormone levels--along with the reactions to those, including the dogs.

As for daughter, I would use a soft approach by apologizing to her for sounding critical. I recognize that she has so much on her plate. I hope she will please consider this, and If she's ever willing to forgive me, I hope she will please let me know. 

If she will allow contact, I'd reinforce my understanding that she's handling so much, and I'd tell her that I'm proud of her. I'd listen to her. I'd wait for an appropriate time, and I'd ask her how I can help. If she doesn't know, I'd ask her to take some time to think it through, because I'd like to be assigned something to support her.

When appropriate, I'd tell daughter that I'd like to make an offer of a way that I might help. I'd be willing to take one or both cats to the vet myself and pay for the neuter. During that time, I would also offer to pay for a professional steam cleaning of the home rugs, floors and furnishings along with prevention treatment if available for when the cats return.


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3 hours ago, bungalo said:

It's just a delicate situation, but I think I can frame it in such a way as to not have her write me off.

I would -sadly-risk the write off.  I get that they are not known to bite.  If I entered a home and was jumped on by a big dog it would be a terrible situation if the owner chose not to control the dog when people walked in.  You don't want someone to report them for being jumped on or harmed in that way.

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Many many people have pets with kids. Eh, the cat spraying would irritate me but not something that constitutes abuse .Neither does having dogs. It also doesn’t mean they will bite the child either. 

My son is Autistic, we have pets , no health repercussions from having pets. He loves animals and we had four cats at one time. Now we have two. 

Like cat feeder said if you are that concerned offer you have the cats fixed and the home professionally cleaned . 

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