HomeHuman to cat relationshiphoardersCat Hoarding: Court Order Versus Owner Surrender


Cat Hoarding: Court Order Versus Owner Surrender — 21 Comments

  1. Alexandra and her mother has never stolen one animal in their life. Unfortunately, I am just coming across this article today….

  2. I can’t really begin to analyze a hoarder’s psyche, but I do believe that it is a serious mental disorder. I’m not sure if the DSM has it listed, but it should.

    I can’t imagine stealing cats in the U.S. If you just sit and wait, herds will just come to you. I’ve never, actively, sought out any cat. They’re everywhere.

      • I wish I were more secluded; but, being known as the cat lady has left me wide open for dumping for years now. It’s maddening and so sad to find litters of kits on my deck, unprotected, at 2 AM. I had 2 cameras installed quite a while back, but people have just worked around them.

      • I wish I were more secluded; but, being known as the cat lady has left me wide open for dumping for years now. It’s maddening and so sad to find litters of kits on my deck, unprotected, at 2 AM. I had 2 cameras installed quite a while back, but people have just worked around them.

  3. There are two different types of people raided for “hoarding”. Most are the true sick hoarders with their hundreds of sick cats in filthy conditions. Occasionally it is the true rescuer who has either gotten in a bit over their heads or gotten crosswise of someone with a grudge. I know a woman who fell into the latter category. A distinction should be made between the two. True hoarders should be banned from owning any animal, ever, and there should be follow up for some years. Mandatory sterilization of pets would make it harder for them to get pets to hoard, and easier for rescuers to keep up with a reduced number of the homeless pets there will always be.

    • I agree with you Jennie and there is that distinction. Hoarders are NOT those where animal love got out off hand. Those usually know they are in trouble and cry for help. True hoarders will act like ALL is fine with their collection and the world. They will NEVER ask or seek help, and continue as long as they can get pets, regardless of how they are capable of taking care of them, for they simply don’t see the problem they are causing.
      Mandatory sterilization will not make things harder. They will simply steal pets of other owners or shift onto other animals. There are not only cat and dog hoarders, but bird hoarders, horse hoarders, lizzard hoarders, aso, aso. Even rats!

      • I agree that a hoarder will always be willing to go to whatever lengths to obtain their victims, bu if nothing else mandatory sterilization would free animal control officers from their current business of warehousing and euthanizing homeless pets and give them more time to follow up on actual hoarders.

  4. A question was recently asked on the Greenville County Pet Rescue Facebook page as to “must we all become hoarders to save these cats?” This article seems to back this statement up. Rescues and fosters are at risk of becoming hoarders to save more animals than they can handle.


    I write about as many unique cases as I can trying to find homes for these cats and dogs, but I could write 24/7 and not even touch the tip of the iceberg.

  5. Your article throws up questions on major matters.

    If there were absolutely no unwanted cats there would be no hoarders or very few so if the big challenge of setting out a strategy to reduce unwanted cats was met the cat hoarding phenomenon would gradually fade.

    I believe commitment is a major factor. If there was commitment to eliminate cat abuse courts would grant injunctions against hoarders and they would be enforced.

    At the moment it is laissez-faire (anything goes). The whole system is slack and lacks commitment.

    This is typical in most countries when it comes to cats because for the authorities they are low down on the list of things to do.

    Good and thought provoking article. Thanks Elisa.

    • The worst part about reporting on these cases is I’m powerless to help except by trying to find these cats a home through my writing. I do Pinterest boards and have a lot of followers, but it’s so hard knowing I can’t personally save any of them. I get dozens of emails a day asking for help until sometimes I feel my brain will explode and my mind just goes blank.

      I did go on strike awhile back over a kitten in Greenville who was sick and about to be killed. I was about to give up even on writing when I couldn’t help save this one little life.

    • Sorry to disagree… the hoarding problem is a psychological problem that’s w/i a personality and not because of unwanted cats. I have been involved by catching and stopping a horse hoarder a couple of years ago. The hoarder was raided, horses taken away (sadly many, many killed 🙁 )and she was convicted… yet THREE days after the horses were taken away from her, she was caught (by a friend) trying to start hoarding Australian Shepherds. I immediately contacted ALL breeders and vets in the area to try and stop her. Today we don’t know. She prob is hoarding again. Previous to the horses she was hoarding parrots…. There’s ALWAYS something to hoard… It’s like an addiction. And OCD is definitely part of the disease.

      • Agreed, it is a mental illness of sorts. There could be a 2 pronged approach.

        1. A court injunction to prevent her hoarding again and

        2. Treatment/therapy under a court order.

        This requires commitment from the community. Also some hoarders are fraudulent and criminal as well. That means deliberate actions not actions dictated by mental health.

  6. I realize that if cats were fixed, it wouldn’t solve the hoarding problem, as hoarders tend to get cats from neighbors, etc. But if the majority of cats were fixed, there wouldn’t be as many cats available for hoarders to get their hands on. Irresponsible cat owners with litters of kittens wouldn’t have those kittens to offer to a hoarder to take off their hands. The litters turned into local shelters (the shelter I follow may get in 200 kittens a day during season) wouldn’t be there because the cats that would have produced those litters would have been spay/neutered. Of course that’s an ideal world that may never come. I even know of several shelters who don’t spay/neuter before sending cats out the door with rescues.

    From what I’ve seen this year, hoarders are very organized in moving animals off of their property before officials arrive. I wonder whether someone tips them off or how they know when police or animal control are going to show up at their door.

    • Hoarders will litterally STEAL cats from neighbours if they get a chance. I know… I’ve been through it with a friend whose cat had been stolen and never appeared again. She could prove her cat (as many other neighbourhood cats with good homes) were with that hoarder, but the hoarder fled the country right before the raid, cats and all. 🙁

  7. Hoarding hasn’t got anything to do with fixing. Hoarders will do ANYTHING to hoard again, including stealing cats from neighbours if they can. The problem with dealing with hoarders lies in the fact that they will need constant announced and unannounced property checks for the rest of their lives. And even then there are the smart ones that will hide animals from officials, even in containers if they have to.
    So the problem is manyfold: the way dealing with hoarders is organised simply isn’t enough to really deal with the problem. There aren’t enough resources to deal with the problem right now, and there isn’t enough education.
    People still have no real comprehension about the extend of the problem, and will keep on enabling as long as they haven’t.

    • Oker, you are quite possibly correct. It is about resources and commitment to enforce injunctions. If there was the commitment an injunction would be enforced. It is just that cats are low down on the priority list.

    • I’ve been keeping up with the cases on this page. I never realized there were so many cases. https://www.facebook.com/groups/52165232734/

      The animal control units in the upstate are so busy checking traps and going out for field surrenders that they don’t have the time or the manpower to police the hoarders. Perhaps a hoarding division needs to be created just for that purpose.

      Another upsetting trend is people aren’t speaking up and reporting these situations until many of the cats are dead. This is also happening with dog cases. Dogs left freezing in the cold and people posting photos on Facebook yet doing nothing to save the dog. Several have died this past week due to people doing nothing.

      • Elisa, if the officials wouldn’t put so much $$ and time into trapping but TNR instead, those resources could go into education about hoarding, and monitoring those that need it.
        Your US system is a thorn in my eye. Around here, we don’t have pounds (“shelters”)! We haven’t killed any pets randomly for at least 20+ years. People are educated (most of them anyway) and it’s socially Not Done Not to s/n your cats. We have national TNR and then some… ALL of our cats (we simply do not have many stray dogs or owner surrenders) are adopted w/i 2 or 3 months, with some exceptions to that rule. The frustrating thing about KNOWING how things CAN work and seeing the US-system is, that YOU HAVE the basic structures there to save lives AND to save loads of $$ of taxpayers money. If the pounds in the US would join with the rescues, there would be no need to pts (if TNR is in place), and ALL of that $$ could be spend on education and problem sources like hoarders.
        I could write a book about this. Unfortunately not many are willing to even imagine how things can be (and are in many countries in Europe).
        Having that said, we still have the hoarding problem here too… and it needs proper dealing with! And yes, there are WAY more than most can imagine… A friend did some research and found that in her little street there were already 3 pet hoarders. You do your math! (and yeah, I know not all areas or streets are the same! It’s nothing scientific, but still shocking)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>