Living in a Tiny House with Pets Takes Planning
When we moved to Our Little House in 2007, we arrived with 4 dogs and 2 elderly cats. Living in a small space with pets is not easy, just like with everything else in a tiny house, it takes a lot of planning.
After watching the third episode of Tiny House Nation on the FYI channel on Wednesday night, let’s just say I was more than disappointed.
As the host was looking at the pile of clothes on the bed to be donated, he said, “As I look at this pile to donate, I can’t help but notice there is a cat sitting in the middle of it. Have you decided what you’re going to do with them? Because that is a big concern.”
The couple, who was downsizing to save money so they could travel the world, had one dog and two cats. The 8-year-old cats didn’t get along with the dog and they had them separated in their large house by keeping them on separate floors.
I was disappointed in the show, but not surprised. After the host asked the family last week if their dog could “become an outside dog” I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone on the show gave up their pets to live their tiny house dream.
(The family in that episode said that their dogs could not stay outside due to the rural location and they were afraid for their safety. This is just one reason a pet conditioned to living inside should not suddenly be exiled to being an “outside” pet).
The BIG thing I have a problem with in this last episode was that the cats were being presented as things that needed to be dealt with like the clothes and the guy’s home brew operation that he had to give to a friend.
As a matter of fact, the show’s host even called both the home brew operation and the cats a “sacrifice” that was going to have to be made.
PETS ARE NOT DISPOSALBE inanimate objects. They are living, breathing beings.
The couple featured in Tiny House Nation ended up giving their two 8-year-old cats, pets that they said had been with them throughout their entire relationship, to friends.
That doesn’t even honor the spirit of tiny house living which is to live with what you truly love.
I guess we can be glad that they didn’t dump them in a shelter as over 10 million animals are abandoned annually.
As an animal lover, pet journalist and a person who has worked in animal rescue, I can tell you that one of the top reasons people give for abandoning the millions of pets each year is that they cannot take them with them when they move (typically, they say, because their new rental will not allow pets).
I realize the focus of the show is not pets and I’m aware that these reality shows have to create some kind of drama (one thing I hate about them), but Tiny House Nation had such a great opportunity here to educate people on responsible pet guardianship.
These points should have been made in the show:
- Pets are a 10-20 year commitment. If you’re not in a position to take on that responsibility that could last a whole generation, don’t do it, wait until you are.
- Why was a dog brought into the family without first knowing if the cats and dog could get along. Was proper socialization and training given a chance here?
- You have the cats now, so a lifestyle change for the sake of a lifestyle change is not a good reason to give them up. Several things could have been done without making the cats “sacrifices” to this couple’s wants.
This couple did not lose their job or their home. They weren’t experiencing a financial hardship or a serious medical issue. They didn’t have a child who suddenly developed an allergy to their 4-legged family members.
They were moving so they could do what they wanted to do, travel the world. Damned be the lifelong commitment they made to the cats they took responsibility for.
They decided to give up their cats because the home the show designed for them could not accommodate their special need to keep their dog and cats separated.
For that, I call bullshit, because it shows people that any reason is a good reason to give up your pets.
They had originally thought of designing the space with a loft, why couldn’t a loft space be designed especially for the cats? Homes with special dog/cat rooms are becoming quite vogue.
It takes a lot of planning to live in a small space full time, especially if you have children or pets. You wouldn’t give up your kids to live tiny, why would you abandon your responsibility to your animals?
The show left me wondering where this couple will decide to leave the dog when they begin traveling?
Did you see the show, what did you think about the couple giving up their cats?