Cat Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A few years ago my wife started taking in kittens from a population living in a warehouse where she worked. At the time we had about 8 adult cats.

I am on disability and didn't mind, although I thought 4 adult cats should be the limit in an average sized home. She said she would find homes for them. That rarely happened.


Needless to say the number of adult cats has skyrocketed to what you read about in the papers. The house smells like the dickens and I imagine it would be a lot worse if you didn't live here. The house has
become one big scratching post to say the least.

I have tried to reason that it is unhealthy for all of us and even though her childbearing is over cleaning up after so many cats has to be very very bad for her health.

I have become the bad person in the family for complaining about it. Not daily but maybe every other week. I'm the bad person and she brought in all the cats.

My older son who works has moved out and rarely visits, I'm sure if he has kids he will never bring them here. He said to me that he fears that he it will affect his career should the cat thing make the papers for some reason. Both sons consider me a wimp for allowing this to go on.

Yet I am the the only one who lives in the house and doesn't retire to my room.

No one but one or two family members has been in the house for 5 years.
I haven't allowed friends of my younger son to come over for fear they would tell their parents and so on. Plus the possible ridicule of my younger son becoming catkid in school.

My younger son rarely goes out and is very introverted and angry. When I point out that he is obviously unhappy she says he likes to be by himself that it is his nature. Which is just crap.

I want HER to to do something rather than take steps myself. You can understand why I hope. She is a good person and I want her to get things back to normal and be normal and so we, my son mainly, can have friends over.


I need advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
722 Posts
Sounds like she is a cat collecter. She needs to understand (but probably wont sadly) that not only is it dangerous to your health and hers, its very unhealthy for the cats as well. Collecters think they are saving these cats when in reality noone but a millionaire could afford to keep up with all the vet bills these cats will incur, even if they are all in perfect health they still need shots/neutering. Unfortunately collecters don't see that instead of being part of the solution they are part of the problem.

Whether she understands or not its important you put your foot down. I know its hard but this is a MUST. If you truly feel you cannot directly confront her id suggest getting in touch with the local non kill animal shelter and asking them to interven and say they got an anonymous tip. I PRAY all those cats are spayed and neutered, and that none have any contagious diseases, if even one has feline leukemia its entirely possible the entire population has them.

YOU are not a bad person, neither is she really, shes just very VERY misguided.

Here's a good article to read about it: http://www.stpetersburgtimes.com/2003/12/14/Pasco/Cat__collecting__out_.shtml

Heres another one: http://www.catrescue.ca/collector.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
656 Posts
Oh how sad! It is a good thing you are there to help, imagine if your wife was all alone like so many cat collecters, nothing would ever be done until to late.
I applaud your decision to help. Are al the cats spayed/neutered? Have they had shots? I also truly hope so.
Please get help quickly! Dont waight for your wife to do so. It is not only important for you and your sons, it is also important for the cats. They can not be getting all the proper care they need with so many of them.
Please get help, and please keep us updated with what happens. I will keep your family in my thoughts. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,451 Posts
It sounds like everyone in the family is keeping their thoughts to themselves in this matter, which is causing the rift to get bigger. Your wife getting closer to the cats and your sons further away from home. Occassional complaining doesn't seem to be doing the trick -- probably only annoying your wife. She is in denial about your son too, I think. It sounds like everyone in the family needs to tell her how they feel. Payge gave some great advice and the websites should help -- I hope you check those out. I would also suggest talking your sons into confronting your wife as well. Perhaps you could ask your older son to tell his mother he is embarrassed and afraid of losing his job if it gets out -- it is NOT healthy. And perhaps you could tell your younger son that you want to get the cats out of the house. Ask him to talk to your wife as well about how he feels. The family needs to tell her that her cat collecting makes them unhappy. It sounds like any kind of complaining about the cats is just leading your wife further into her cat collecting -- she needs to listen to how it's damaging her family. Hopefully that will help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
I truly sympathize with your situation...I imagine it is truly unbearable for you and the rest of your family. Please realize that your wife is not a bad person for collecting/hoarding cats...she is most likely doing it out of love and compassion. She has basically lost control, and she needs serious help with her addiction. Because that's what cat collecting is...an addiction that leaves many people in financial, emotional, and mental turmoil.

Like many obsessive/compulsive behaviors, cat collecting will often leave the individual in a state of helplessness, isolation, and DENIAL. It seems as though your wife is denying how her behavior is affecting your family, and that it is destroying the beauty and more importantly, the sanitation level of your home. I'm assuming the cats are not spayed/neutered...and I'm sure you shudder when you think of the costs involved in that endeavor...not to mention that the basic medical care of the cats are being neglected as well.

You need to do two things...and neither will be easy.

First, you need to contact your local Humane Society or no-kill animal shelter (there is a listing of them on the forums on this site), and seek help in finding these animals homes that can provide them with the care they need. This will upset your wife greatly, no doubt. But she needs to understand that this is an unacceptable lifestyle for you, for her, and the other members of your family. It simply cannot be tolerated. She will be angry and distraught over your actions, but she needs to realize that it will be the best course of actions for the animals, and for the rest of you...and she also needs to know that you are doing it not to be spiteful or out of revenge...you are doing it because you love her, and are concerned about the welfare of your children, and the cats as well. Unfortunately, I don't believe she is in a fit enough state of mind or emotionally strong enough to care for any pets at all at this time...not until you complete step #2...and only when and if step #2 begins to be successful.

The second step will be to seek professional psychological assistance for your wife ASAP. She may resist this at first, due to the fact that she seems to be in denial that there is a problem to begin with. However, she needs a full evaluation, and then professional counseling / therapy if the evaluation dictates that is what she needs. Like I said earlier, cat collecting/hoarding is an addiction, and it needs to be treated as such, like any other addiction would be treated...such as an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, etc. No one can recover from addiction alone. It takes time, patience, and support from the people who love her to overcome this...but she will NOT discontinue this behavior if she doesn't receive psychological treatment for it.

I hope this helps. And if you need any more information or support, please don't hesitate to post. I truly hope that there will be some type of resolution to your situation...so that your family (and the cats) can begin to enjoy life again. Please let us know how everything is going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
All are fixed, all have shots, none declawed. In fact 1000 was spent saving the life of one.

The vet even sends reminders when they need shots. You'd think he or she would sit her down and offer assistence in the area of advioce.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
All are fixed, none declawed, all have their shots. One's life was saved at the cost of 1000. That will never happen again.

The Vet even sends shot reminders. You'd think he or she would sit her down and offer assistance with advice. Seeing as how he or she must realize there is problem just by the number of visits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Well...your most recent response does lead to an interesting question...

When does one have too many cats, and when does it actually become cat collecting/hoarding?

It becomes a problem when the needs of the cats (nutrition, veterinary care, the level of human-to-animal interaction [is there enough of your wife to go around for the cats-playtime, lap time, affection, etc.], the level of sanitation, and YOUR NEEDS AS A FAMILY are neglected.

And you mentioned that the cats all have been vaccinated and altered...which on one hand is wonderful, and on the other, must present a staggering financial blow to you and your wife each year.

Salem, if you think the number of cats will continue to go up around your household...the situation will become more and more unmanageable for her, and eventually neither of you will be able to cope with it financially or emotionally. It will not be her intention to neglect any of her pets, but if her behavior continues, and more and more cats are taken in to your home, then at some point it will not be doable for her anymore.

It still seems to me that you should call the Humane Society/no kill shelters and investigate the possibility of re-homing the cats or adopting them out, and seeking professional help for your wife. Although the cats seem to be receiving basic medical care (which is wonderful, and I do commend her for this), one has to ask if she will continue to take them in, and at what point does the situation reach beyond her control?

There are many of us on this forum who value the lives of our pets to such a degree, that $1000 for medical treatment is not out of the question...for our 1-4 beloved cats. Many of us have spent this amount of money when our animals are in need. But I also believe that it would be next to impossible for most of us to dole out that kind of money on multiple cats...I know I would never be able to do that. I do understand your frustrations over this...because it isn't just about the $1000. It's probably hard to think of the amount of money that is spent on the other costs of pet care too...the expense of feeding multiple cats a quality diet, toys, scratching furniture, grooming supplies, litter, etc. must seriously be adding up for you.

I hope that you can find a way to resolve your situation. Like I said earlier, I still think you need to make contact the Humane Society and a mental health professional. But in the end, the decision is yours, and in any case, is not an easy one to have to make. I don't feel that your wife is a bad person (the opposite is probably true...she's just doing what she thinks is right for the cats, which means she has a kind and nurturing heart), but I do feel that all of you need some help with this situation from outside resources.

Best of luck to you, in whatever you decide. :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top