This week's blog challenge prompt focuses on the differences between collecting and hoarding. It's my guess that the difference between collecting and hoarding is rather like the difference between erotica and pornography: hard to explain, but you know it when you see it.
The difference may be in the type of thing collected. Like cats. I apparently collect cats. Six live in my house and one in the barn. The barn cat is a "working" cat; she controls the vermin population. Unlike those who hoard cats, I am able to care for those under my roof. No one steps into my house to find feces and dead animals scattered throughout. (Okay, sometimes a cat overshoots the litter box. That gets cleaned up quickly, though.)
I do, of course, wonder why so many people view having cats as aberrant behavior. In the romances I read, especially the "new adult" romances, the young heroines bemoan their loneliness and bitterly complain about becoming one of those crazy cat ladies. Why is having a cat or two so much worse than having a dog or two?
After all, dogs are needy creatures. I know, I've seldom gone for so much as a year without a dog. Currently, I have a big, yellow-bellied coward of a Great Dane. Talk about needy ... zeesh.
The nice thing about cats is that they take you on their terms. They like your or they don't. If they do, then they make delightful companions. Cats provide us with a lot of entertainment. Don't believe me? When's the last time you saw a cat video on social media?
So, collecting means one acquires multiples of the same type of thing: stamps, coins, cats, etc. That naturally sends my mind winging toward the correct names for groups of things. (Yeah, I'm weird that way.) So, we all know from Agatha Christie that a group of crows is called a murder. Collective nouns give rise to some interesting word and image associations. Think of it: a group of hogs is called a drift. There's nothing "drift-like" about swine. They're solid, heavy creatures. One might think of a more suitable term, such as a "bog" or a "squeal" of pigs. Soldiers and peacocks come in musters. There's some justification for that, when one thinks of old fashioned uniforms in their bright, bold colors, fancy braid, and shiny buttons and medals.
But hoarding: that bears a connotation of too much. Too many cats to take care of, too many knickknacks to display properly, too many books for the shelves. I hoard books. Yes, I admit to the vice and I'm not ashamed. Anyone intrepid enough to take a look at my too-be-read pile downloaded to my Kindle will realize that I truly enjoy frivolous reading and that I have enough books to last more a couple of years, even if I read one a day. E-books enable discreet hoarding.