Cat Hoarding

Most people are horrified to find out I have 20 or so cats living with me. My own family has warned me about becoming a "collector," also known as a pet hoarder. You know about those people, right? The people you hear about on the 10 o'clock news, rousted out by authorities for having 40 cats and/or dogs stuck in tiny cages, languishing in filth, starving (or already starved) to death?

Well, I'm not a collector. All my cats are healthy, happy, and have full run of the house - unless one becomes sick or is having a behavior problem. Those are put in comfortable, clean cages for treatment for a few days, with lots of attention as I attend to their particular problems.

How does a person end up with dozens of cats (or dogs)? In my case it grew out of the desperate need to rescue so many unwanted cats in my community. Similarly, I believe even collectors start out with good intentions, and many have big hearts, but they seem to lose sight of how to properly care for so many. Maybe they just gradually become overwhelmed and can't admit it. Or perhaps they have no true compassion for the animals they collect. However deluded, they fake themselves out by believing they are doing a good thing, when in fact, they are being cruel and inhumane.

There are many reasons a person might become a hoarder, but most cases seem to boil down to the fact that they are suffering a mental illness, maybe an addiction of some sort. They could be neurotic, psychotic, or any other "-otic" in the dictionary, and need treatment. Getting it for them is a huge problem, though, as they generally do not recognize they have a problem. Admitting illness is the first step toward treating it, according to some authorities.

Running a multi-cat household requires some real dedication, as there is a LOT of work involved - something hoarders and collectors never seem to do. It's also rather expensive to support many animals. Hoarders generally are lower income and rarely can afford to get all the animals in their "care" spayed and neutered, vaccinated, groomed, and fed a high quality diet.

Hoarders typically do not welcome visitors or any kind of attention from outsiders. They are not finding new homes for the animals. This is my mission... to find new, loving, responsible homes. I really do not want that many cats in my home. For a list of cats that are available, please visit my website at HiPaws, or select a Petfinder shelter in your area. Give a homeless or displaced pet a new home.

Copyright 2009 - Dr. RJ Peters 
The Problem Cat