Dozens of dead cats found in NY home. Why didn’t they let the cats go free?

This is a point made by a colleague of mine, Jan on Facebook, in reference to the story coming out of Montgomery, USA.

Is animal hoarding a mental illness?

A person was evicted from their home in upstate New York. The home was being cleared and they found 89 dead cats inside. Extraordinary. There were also 8 living cats. The story smells (literally) of long term cat cruelty. The conditions, as could be imagined, inside the home were horrific.

The body of one cat was inside a box labelled:

“RIP Zippy you were a good little girl.”

And we collectively scream, “Why didn’t the hoarder let the cats go free?”. At least they would have had the chance of surviving in the urban environment and perhaps be picked up by cat rescuers who manage feral cat colonies.

But there are two points to make here. Firstly, we have to be careful because perhaps everyone of the 89 cats lived good and healthy lives and died of natural causes well into old age. Although it is unlikely, we don’t know.

The second point is that cat hoarders – and I’ll presume that this person was a cat hoarder – don’t think like that. They have a mental disability. They can’t objectively appraise what they are doing which is being cruel to the cats that they think they are being kind to.

If they were genuinely able to deliver kindness and care to the cats in their charge they would not be hoarding huge numbers of cats in their home in the first place.

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