Rant time

Yes, it’s that time to “preach to the converted” and have a rant about hoarding. (And no, there are no kittens yet!!)

I’ve had a few fosters from hoarding situations, notably these guys. I was lucky; with only mild socialization issues, most of my hoardees didn’t have any long term health issues. Gilbert & Sullivan had to be shaved and had bad colds. But that was about it.

HOWEVER, that is not always the case. There was a Toronto Star article posted on the Foster Parents Page about a recent cruelty conviction (rare!) for a hoarding situation. One hundred and seven cats were removed from the house; one survived. ONE!

Right now one of our foster parents is fighting to keep a bunch of kittens alive. She has two moms and originally had 13 kittens all from a hoarding situation. No one knows if the kittens belong to the moms or not — there were other nursing queens and kittens in the house — but the moms are looking after them all together. The foster is having to supplement and medicate ALL the kittens (and medicate the moms). Most of the kittens will lose their sight in one or both eyes due to infection having damaged their corneas. Two have already died; two more are fighting for their lives. The kittens suffer, the queens are sick, and the foster certainly suffers; from the workload and the heartache. THIS is what hoarding is. It is not just an eccentric person with a bunch of happy cats running around. Shelters, with all their skill, care, and cleaning, cannot keep disease under control. How can a hoarder  — too embarrassed or financially unable to seek help — possibly manage?

If you suspect hoarding — and truly, I cannot imagine that people can’t smell* or see the signs — please, please report it! Report it to the police, the local shelter or human society, a local rescue group, even by-law enforcement. SOMEONE. And understand that it is not a fast process; gaining access is extremely difficult. Don’t be discouraged that “nothing’s happening”.  If you’re wrong, oh well. But if you’re right? Yes, the hoarder will lose most (if not all) of the animals. Yes, they’ll be upset. But suffering and dying (and I guarantee you they’re there) cats will be rescued or humanely put out of their suffering.

I am blessed to not have witnessed a severe hoarding case. But a number of people in Toronto Cat Rescue have. One look at their faces when the subject comes up is enough to tell me I never want to see it.

*in most severe hoarding cases the damage to the house, from urine and feces, is so bad the building has to be destroyed.


About Adventures in Cat Fostering

I am a cat fosterer for Toronto Cat Rescue. I also have two cats of my own, Jonesy, the black and white, and Murphy, the brown tabby, in the photo. Both were adopted from Toronto Cat Rescue.
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5 Responses to Rant time

  1. gamerswifey says:

    I had no idea that could happen with cat hoarding! That’s crazy! How do people even get a hold of so any cats and why? Is animal hoarding classified as an addiction? …So interesting and sad. SO sad.


    • Mostly it’s because of not spaying and neutering. A female cat can get pregnant at four months and can have three or four litters per year. Doesn’t take long for a couple of fertile cats to get out of control! Some cases are legitimate mental health issues. Some are just ignorance and selfishness.


  2. Connie says:

    it is heartbreaking, and so infrequently talked about. Hoarding in general is a pretty horrific disease, but when the person’s hoarding involves live animals.. the damage is done to everyone involved..

    This is a true case of mental disease, these people need professional help beyond just having someone come and take the animals away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I used to be all about the mental health aspect, but having seen/heard about so many suffering cats, I’m getting less tolerant. In this (The Star article) case, the judge seemed to feel it was less about mental health — hence the cruelty conviction. But generally yes, I agree, the people need help as well.


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