My friends are showing signs of hoarding - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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My friends are showing signs of hoarding

My best friends Ray and Sarah (not their real names) have always loved cats. They've had multiple cats for as long as I can remember, and have 15 indoor cats now.

A few cats live in the attached garage and a couple of cats live in the basement. So in their small house they have 10 cats. Two, for some reason, are isolated in a back bedroom, which is so filled with junk that the cats barely have room to walk around, though they do have a window to sit in.

The rest of their house is like that, too...piled with magazines and stuff. In the middle of the kitchen is a big pile - canned goods, cases of water, cardboard boxes. OK, so their house is a shambles and smells like ammonia from all the litter boxes, plus one cat marks everywhere.

On the positive side - they do have money and they take their cats to the vet all the time. They never, ever shirk taking a cat to the vet because of the expense. I know they feel they're doing the best they can for these cats, but to me some of the cats - those in the nasty basement and those two marginalized in the back bedroom- lead very low quality lives.

I did say something along these lines to Ray, and he's still speaking to me.

For years they have talked about building an outdoor enclosure that can lead from the house, but it hasn't happened. I offered to help them build it.

Would seeing your best friends in this situation concern you? Maybe I should just keep my big mouth shut?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 01:47 PM
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It would concern me. It sounds like they are collectors, almost hoarders including stuff other than cats. Call Niecy Nash...(lady from Clean House)

If they are really best friends, they shouldn't be offended in you offering your opinion. I feel sorry for the cats stuck in the basement and the back bedroom. IMO it doesn't seem any better than living at a shelter.


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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:39 PM
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Have you asked them why those cats are separated? I have six of my own and, for many months, had two more (my daughter's) in one of the spare bedrooms. I didn't like having them separated - and there's no doubt they were lonely - but they fought viciously with my cats and there wasn't any other choice. So there may be a reason these few are cut off from the others. Do your neighbors have any plans to find new homes for them? If it's a temporary thing, that's ok. If not, though, that's no way for a cat to live.

I think an offer to help... to help clean, to help change the litter boxes, to help re-home some of the cats, or even a cheerful "Hey, this weekend's looking to be a great day to build that cat enclosure. What say we start laying out the supplies for it?" would be the best approach. They may very well have the good of the cats at heart and are just getting a little behind on some of the housecleaning for some reason or another.

AC
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Have you asked them why those cats are separated? I have six of my own and, for many months, had two more (my daughter's) in one of the spare bedrooms. I didn't like having them separated - and there's no doubt they were lonely - but they fought viciously with my cats and there wasn't any other choice. So there may be a reason these few are cut off from the others. Do your neighbors have any plans to find new homes for them? If it's a temporary thing, that's ok. If not, though, that's no way for a cat to live. AC
I did ask them why the two cats were separated, since they are from the same litter (four females) as two of the cats that have free range of the rest of the house. Ray said they don't want to come out. I believe they are so marginalized back there that they are not social. They were feral before they were trapped, spayed and put in the back bedroom.

No, they want to keep all the cats, they aren't looking to re-home them.

You are right, though. If I really want to improve life for the cats, I should push the outdoor cage project. They own their home and have the perfect back yard for it.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 03:47 PM
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I sounds like your friends have a hoarding mentality even with cats out of the picture, though I suppose the two often go hand in hand, a lot of hoarders tend to have junk everywhere in their home... what worries me is, when does it end? If they found a litter of five more kittens, would they keep them, too? Hoarders think they're doing what's best, but it really isn't in the best interest of the cats, and I think you're seeing this in the case of the cats in the garage and the bedroom.

Mind you, I have to keep Blaze in a separate room in the house, he pees on anything soft, even his own bedding. Sometimes there are situations where the cat just can't be allowed free reign of the house if they aren't monitored, and the option of re-homing isn't possible; for example, no one wants a cat that pees, and not only is Blaze 15, but he's a biter (out of the blue), he takes months to adjust to new locations, and he takes about a year to become himself around strangers, even if they visit often. I think we do the best we can for him, at this stage in his life. If he was a lot younger though, I don't think this would be a long-term situation.

I also know someone that has two cats shut in a guest bedroom; the cats were feral. They apparently seem content in the room together, and while they enjoy the company of the woman and her daughter, they don't crave it, and they don't like anyone else at all, even other members of that family. It's a tough call, but I suppose between being in their guest bedroom and the option of being at the cat sanctuary, with 600 cats other cats where they'd be stressed out, they figure the cats are better off where they are...

If my best friends were in this situation I'd be very concerned. 15 cats in any home can't be good. I doubt the cats are all getting the attention they deserve, and it impacts your friends lives, as their house smells terrible... I know what that's like, and it isn't something I will ever be willing to live with again after Blaze, no matter how much I love the cat. Life is too short.

I agree, try and motivate them to build the enclosure. It might help the situation. I don't really know what else you can do without alienating yourself from your friends.


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Last edited by Carmel; 06-17-2011 at 03:50 PM.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I sounds like your friends have a hoarding mentality even with cats out of the picture, though I suppose the two often go hand in hand, a lot of hoarders tend to have junk everywhere in their home... what worries me is, when does it end? If they found a litter of five more kittens, would they keep them, too? Hoarders think they're doing what's best, but it really isn't in the best interest of the cats, and I think you're seeing this in the case of the cats in the garage and the bedroom.
I have seen those hoarding shows a few times. It is kind of repulsive but you just can't help looking. Never watched a complete show, only a few minutes because it was too disturbing. The animals were the saddest things in the world.

But yes, my friends - and they really are my best friends - do show some of the same characteristics. They can't use their kitchen to cook because the stove and counters are buried under stuff. They are casual about repairs. The kitchen sink has only a trickle of cold water and no hot water, and it's been that way for years.

Sarah's sister Maureen is also a good friend of mine and once she said to me, "I want to say something, but if told Sarah how I really feel she might never speak to me again."

Carmel, I can completely understand having to keep a cat with special needs confined. It might happen to me someday. Because if you don't keep them, they have no chance at all.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 05:07 PM
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... But yes, my friends - and they really are my best friends - do show some of the same characteristics. They can't use their kitchen to cook because the stove and counters are buried under stuff. They are casual about repairs. The kitchen sink has only a trickle of cold water and no hot water, and it's been that way for years. ...
Whoa. That's a little more than just getting behind on housework.

If the house is unsanitary, and I'm not saying it is - that'll have to be your call, then it's unhealthy for human and feline occupants alike. A phone call - from a pay phone, natch! - to whichever agency is best placed to help your friends might be the kindest thing you can do for them.

You're in a tough spot, for sure, Greenport. But from the sounds of it, an intervention might be in the best interests of your friends AND their cats.

AC
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 05:13 PM
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IMO it doesn't seem any better than living at a shelter.
Almost anything is better than being stuck in a cage.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 05:14 PM
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With hoarders that have pets, they have so much "stuff" everywhere that they sometimes have pets die and not even know about it. One of those shows found several cat remains, skulls, etc in some woman's house. It was sad and disgusting.

And with 15 cats, how can they really keep track of each cat and it's health?
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Auntie Crazy View Post
Whoa. That's a little more than just getting behind on housework.

If the house is unsanitary, and I'm not saying it is - that'll have to be your call, then it's unhealthy for human and feline occupants alike. A phone call - from a pay phone, natch! - to whichever agency is best placed to help your friends might be the kindest thing you can do for them.

You're in a tough spot, for sure, Greenport. But from the sounds of it, an intervention might be in the best interests of your friends AND their cats.

AC
And the cats might end up in shelter cages,or even at a kill shelter.
And if the call has to be made annoymous from a pay phone, then it shouldn't be made.

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