When I saw this photograph of a cat hoarding woman living in Waukegan, Illinois, USA, I thought that it was a classic; an unfortunate classic because people who love cats do not want to see images of classic hoarders on the Internet. The reason is because cat haters latch onto the pictures and use them against cat lovers. They help to perpetuate the stereotypical image of an independent, older woman, living alone who, because of mental health issues, ends up with far too many cats and as a consequence neglects them. The result is animal abuse.
And I know I am picking up on a stereotypical image. But I’m using it to make a point. This woman looks like the classic “crazy cat lady”. And, I for one, want to get rid of that label for women who like cats.
It not only applies to people like this woman but decent-minded ladies who look after the cats to a very high standard. There is no strict definition of “crazy cat lady” but they always have a larger than usual number of cats. It might be from about five upwards. Not all of them actually love cats in my view. They collect them like they collect other items.
The attitude of the worst kind of cat hoarder is often unsympathetic towards domestic cats. Their views are not enlightened. Their mentality is not sensitive. They’re not caring. They are collecting. They are not coping.
The Waukegan woman, Linnea Kohl, is 54 years old. She’s going to be punished. She has been charged with three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals which in Illinois is a class III felony (i.e. a serious crime). However, in a better world she wouldn’t be punished because she wouldn’t exist. Proactive steps would have been taken on her mental health which would have prevented her predisposition to hoarding cats.
The police were alerted to the Waukegan woman after complaints which is the usual course of events in cat hoarding. It’s impossible for them to prevent the ammonia smells from impacting on neighbour’s properties. It leaks out of the house like a poison and a strong signal. The ammonia smells adrift on the breeze up and down the street and neighbours eventually pick it up and then complain. The ammonia smell is from urine deposited inside the home because the cats are urinating inappropriately on a large scale.
Approximately 113 cats have been recovered from this woman’s property, according to the police. The population includes 74 domestic cats and 11 feral cats. Twenty-eight of the cats were dead. This is another unfortunate aspect of cat hoarding. It highlights the fact that hoarders relate to the cats as objects not sentient, living creatures because they still hoard their dead bodies. It provides an insight into their minds.
The woman could face up to 5 years in prison for each count if she is found guilty after trial. She was released from Lake County jail after posting 10% of the $20,000 bond.
I hope that she gets treatment. Focus should be on treatment and, yes, she should be punished as well but the priority is treatment. The judge should make an order in regards to that.
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