Cat Hoarder Infographic

The title is rather a bold one because this image is more my thoughts on what can influence a person who I describe as a “potential cat hoarder“. It is very basic by infographic standards. I would suggest that some people have a psychological makeup that predisposes them to “collecting cats”. The superfluous cat (unwanted cat) is a vehicle or a means for the cat hoarder to express their insecurities or whatever which drives them to hoard cats. No one has, as yet, provided a definitive analysis as to why it happens. For me it is not solely about what is inside the head of the cat hoarder; there are external, influencing factors.

Outside influences encourage these people to hoard cats as described in the image.

 Cat hoarder encouraged by outside influences
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat hoarder encouraged by outside influences

If anyone would like put this, at 500px square, on their website just cut past the following code into the page:

<iframe height="500" src="" width="500"></iframe><a href="">Cat hoarder infographic</a>

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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20 Responses

  1. Geri says:

    I agree with Harvey.People should offer assistance to someone they know who is trying to take care of several cats.And Animal Control should be willing to spay/neuter the cats for free instead of taking them away and killing them. Of course,in many places, that is the law….confiscate and kill. If the laws for cats were proactive many problems would be resolved.

  2. Harvey Harrison says:

    You summed it up very well Michael. here i look after my cats in a more complex way than most people. My aim is the conservation of the genuine Anatolian Turkish Angoras so neutering and spaying rarely comes into it. These cats are under threat from all sides. Perhaps the most important threat is from the dear ladies who adopt “strays” the first in line being the beautiful long-haired pure white Angoras. They are immediately operated for the owner’s convenience, thus eliminating any future generations from the gene pool. This means that their beauty works against their survival due to unthinking human interference. The unattractive cats are ignored for the most part and left to breed unless captured by the local animal welfare association. But there are many in this latter category and their survival is not affected. Not so the Angoras.
    To return to the original point. My females are kept inside and are entire (intact), in the company of 2 half-grown males who also live inside because they want to and do not get on well with other intact males who live outside. Several other males which i consider to be more valuable or prone to problems outside are kept in enclosures where they can smell as much as they like. They use the litter boxes and do not spray. This way I can keep an eye on them all and give the females their weekly pill during the times of the year known as the high season. This is the way I keep the situation under control whilst retaining breeding capabilities to fill orders from European Angora breeders. Four of my Angora kittens have recently gone to breeders Germany and several more are on order. Having 30 cats may prompt some people to call me a hoarder but they have no idea of what conservation means or what I am doing. To them any number above what they consider to be usual is hoarding. On that account the Ankara Zoo are hoarders too.
    Any breeding is thus controlled and in line with requirements. .

  3. Harvey Harrison says:

    Hi Michael. It’s a lot easy to vilify the “hoarder” than to look for deeper reasons, or to ask why the authorities or animal welfare organisations are totally ineffective in this matter. . This would also include neighbours and friends. Not everybody is an expert in planning, organising, or resolving problems. This also applies to those who claim to be an authority on cat welfare. And cats do breed, well, like cats.

    • Michael Broad says:

      I agree that the authorities (the establishment) far outstrip the odd cat hoarder with respect to the casual slaughter of the domestic cat. It is legalised cat abuse just like the vets who declaw.

  4. Harvey Harrison says:

    Good point Dee. Not all but many people do know that delivering an animal to a shelter, even healthy attractive ones, is virtually a death sentence. That is the last thing people who love their pets would want. It’s not a cut and dried situation of uncaring incapable owners. The factors that bring it about are varied and complicated, but mainly it’s because they don’t or can’t get any help either for the cats or for themselves.

  5. Harvey Harrison says:

    Here is a quote from Wikipedia defining animal hoarding.
    “”Animal hoarding is keeping a higher-than-usual number of animals as domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Compulsive hoarding can be characterized as a symptom of mental disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals. Hoarders are deeply attached to their pets and find it extremely difficult to let the pets go. They typically cannot comprehend that they are harming their pets by failing to provide them with proper care. Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care for their pets.[1] The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides a “Hoarding Prevention Team”, which works with hoarders to help them attain a manageable and healthy number of pets.[2]””
    The first qualification is interesting,
    “”without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability””

    Many or most registered shelters fall into that hoarding category and have to resort to killing them on account of their inability to care for them They initially accept them indicating that they do believe they have that ability and later backtrack and euthanize them. There are examples of cats being put down within hours of being delivered to them.
    ”Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care for their pets.[1] “”
    So do animal shelters but the facts speak otherwise.
    The ASPCA’s Hoarding Prevention Team seems to be quite inactive and certainly a lot less active than their inspectors who descend upon a so-called hoarder far too late when the situation is out of control and resolve it ;like a bull in a china shop. Prevention seems to be just a word.

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    When does a cat rescuer become a cat hoarder? I think your infographic is very informative Michael, outside influences do seem to play a part in that transition.
    I’ve known a few cat rescuers who have started becoming overwhelmed with cats people dumped on them or homeless cats they took in, but I’ve only known one who actually started to neglect some of the cats, our ex ex neighbour who had ill cats hidden away when she abandoned her house!
    It was a shock to see the extent of stuff she had in her house, along with cats, unworn clothes, so many unused possessions, even shelves full of prescription medicines she hadn’t really needed! Some people seem to collect cats like they collect possessions.
    I wonder if looking upon cats as possessions instead of living creatures has anything to do with a cat hoarder’s mentality?

  7. Harvey Harrison says:

    Some animal welfare organisations have at any one time upward of 100 cats. Why are they never accused of cat hoarding? Well because they handle it better or are perceived to. They are able to get enough financial support and free help to take care of the cats. But that is not always the case. Often cats are put to sleep and not always kept under the best of conditions. Nobody raises a finger to help the hoarder but that is in part because the hoarder is not very good at obtaining assistance, Lack of financial resources to spay and neuter, lack of time, lack of energy, ill health, and a lack of a clear picture of their situation lead to often horrendous conditions. They lack the skills to work with other people and try to do everything by themselves. The results may look like animal cruelty but I think it is more a matter of not being up to the job, being overwhelmed, and unable to plan a way out. I know of a lady in S Cyprus who had 120 cats but no-one accused her of hoarding. The financial resources were there and so was the help.

    • Nice comment Harvey. I believe that there are different types of cat hoarder. Some people are callous and do it for personal reasons and some have mental health issues but some are genuinely organised. The lady you describe is not a cat hoarder but an organised cat rescuer.

      When cat rescue descends into chaos hurting and killing cats it becomes cat hoarding. I don’t think it is always because of lack of funding or abilities. Sometimes it is due to mental health issues – insecurity and OCD – these sorts of health issues.

      • Marc says:

        Harvey is absolutely right. I agree. Surely a private person will have alot more trouble getting donations than a registered orgnaization and yet those registered official places seem to have the right to kill whatever comes through the door and not be called hoarders.

        In other words – if this lady took the cats and euthanized them with a legal injection then would that absolve her of being a hoarder?

        It has also to be said that by registering a shelter you are showing you can be responsible, legal and organized, so there is a difference. But my previous question still stands. It’s very apt. Why are shelters allowed to kill when they haven’t the space and not be called hoarders? It’s not quite right because in a way they are the biggest hoarders of them all – ‘bring your cats and if we have a bit of time and space we’ll lift a finger and try to adopt them, if not they die’ – some kind of Shelter.

        Hence the language continues to cloud the issue.

        ‘Shelter’ means something very different.
        ‘Euthanize’ is nonsense.
        ‘Hoarder’ is most likely something we will learn more about and there will be categories, the word alone probably isn’t fit for purpose beyond being very general, especially in light of Harvey’s idea that shelters hoard cats by definition.
        Then there’s more of course like ‘declaw’, ‘put to sleep’, — there’s a ton of total bullsh*t language around dealing with cats – it’s depressing.
        I also agree with Ruth that they probably are not encouraged to stop collecting cats like possessions since the law and the society deems them to be owned and kept under the same universal law of personal property.

        They don’t say you ‘steal a child’, they say you ‘kidnap a child’ because the child isn’t an object.

        But of course you can ‘steal a cat’ and nobody will flinch at the expression (except a few of us ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but it shows exactly where things stand in the mainstream of cultural human thinking.

        Shame on all those who dump cats on anybody, hoarder or not. They are the start of the problem. A hoarder is a nasty side effect of society’s illness. Society and law and the system should adapt, quick time.

        I took Lilly in this morning, it was awful. They couldn’t find the issue and gave antibiotics and said call in a week and if it’s still bad she will be given anasthetic for an xray. Not below the knee on either side but she was too stressed to be relaxed enough to check the hips and thighs so we left it. I think it’s a muscular thing. She is eating. Her leg(s) just hurt, that’s all. Hope it’s not diabetes or cacer – but I doubt it is. She was a star, in my bike tyrailer in a box in the rain, me pulling by hand completely soaked 20mins to the vet. The others were scared cuz she left. Pretty unusual morning all in all – stressful. She really got angry after a while in the vet office so I put her back in the box when it got bad. She’s the strongest and most experienced. The other two I would not be able to get in the box let alone to the vet.

        • Why are shelters allowed to kill when they havenโ€™t the space and not be called hoarders?

          The answer, I believe is because the whole cat rescue shelter system is distorted and off-track. Even the name is wrong “shelter”. That alone tells us they are off-track.

          I have said it before, shelters are processing facilities. Some die some live. They are not shelters.

        • God…the vet experience sounds awful and I can totally empathise. Personally, I have some concerns about veterinarian’s administering antibiotics to cats when they have no real idea what the problem is. It’s guesswork but this kind of veterinary treatment goes against modern thinking with respect to prescribing antibiotics to people in that you gradually undermine the effectiveness of antibiotics and also antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in the gut so there can be some negative side effects there.

      • Marc says:

        “When cat rescue descends into chaos hurting and killing cats it becomes cat hoarding.”

        This is what countless shelters do day in and day out. Cats get sick there and then they are killed. It’s class A hoarding industrialised for the masses. No different in my mind. I’d rather they have to survive on a farm with nothing than sit in a shelter cage for a few days and then be killed.

        To each their own opinion I suppose. If I were a cat I’d rather have a chance to change my own fate, than just be mudered. Sure there is a question of suffering. But would a person prefer to be in a plane about to crash, or on a boat about to sink – I’d choose the boat becvause I’d want a chance no matter how small, but I might suffer more in the end.

        That’s my own opinion, but I don’t know what’s right or wrong here.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          I agree Marc, I’d rather take my chance at surviving no matter how hard it might be and I’m sure all cats would too.

        • Michael Broad says:

          I think you are probably correct. Organised, legalised cat hoarding. There is a slight difference in that the true cat hoarder just hoards cats and that is the objective while the objective of shelters (what a name!) is to rehome. The cats are meant to be processed – in and out – rather than “in and dead”. Of course many cats don’t get out.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      Very nice comment, Harvey.

      What I see as one of the main reasons why people here wind up with more cats than they can manage is because they can’t bear to take any to the county shelters. Most no-kill alternatives always spit out the same line: “We are over capacity now and can’t take any more”.

      I strongly believe that kill shelters should be abolished and mandatory spay/neutering made law. I’m not giving up on my fight to close kill shelters. But, I know that in a country 40 times the size of England, making any across the board change is nearly impossible.

      • Dee (Florida) says:

        I, also, think that a lesser number of animals would be abandoned to the forest or streets if people didn’t see that as a better life than the “no life” shelter.

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