Help Needed To Stop Cat Hoarding

Help Needed To Stop Cat Hoarding

This is a serious problem in our family. What is the right thing for us to do? We have a situation that is going progressively from loving cats to hoarding. The house is disgusting, but my family member doesn’t seem to see a problem.

What should we do? So far, all of the cats get fed and are reasonably healthy, but each one is being denied the opportunity to live in a clean home where they are loved individually.

But because this is a mental problem I can’t use logic (ie, you can’t afford it, the personal hygene problems are going to make you lose your job, etc) to get it resolved.

Has anyone had any experience with this? Or know where to turn?


Hi…. thanks for visiting and asking. I hope visitors and regulars can help.

There is lots written about cat hoarding but much less on how to cure it because I am not sure that there is an agreement on what the underlying cause is. Here is another page on cat hoarding.

I think it is generally agreed that a genuine cat hoarder has some sort of borderline (or not) mental health issue. You agree this and you know the family member so we can take it that there is a mental health issue.

I’ll come back to this page later but all I can think of at the moment is to see if this person would agree to see a psychiatrist. That may sound ridiculous but mental health problems are dealt with by psychiatrists. If not a psychiatrist perhaps the family’s general practitioner may advise.

Failing the person involved agreeing to seek medical advice and help, it may be reasonable to find help to get the cats into a shelter. In other words to clear the house of cats while the person who is cat hoarding is out. That too might sound impossible and unreasonable. But something clearly has to be done and it may take something a little dramatic to fix the problem. In other words bold action is required before the local authority gets involved and clears the house under health and safety regulations.

Indeed the threat of animal control (if you are in the US) or some other official organisation getting involved may force the cat hoarder to take action now.

I will circulate this post on Facebook and see if some of the wise regular visitors can provide some good advice.

Good Luck

Michael Avatar

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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Help Needed To Stop Cat Hoarding

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Feb 28, 2012 cat horading mother
by: Jodi

Let me add I am going through the same thing with my elderly mother. She is a very loving person but, that does not justify taking on every cat in the neighborhood. They do not belong to her she has 3 cats of her own which have been spayed and neutered. Let me explain this to those of you that feel this behavior of feeding every stray that walks to her house is normal. She is living on a low income I purchased this house for my mother and i take very good care of her. They carry diseases they spray their territory which is nasty and ruins the value of the property and If for 1 minute you think I am gonna let my mother live in filth you are wildy mistaken. She has 3 cats she can love on and I don’t have a problem with her 3. But the strays alos make it hard on her own 3. And I can assure laying a guilt trip on the caretakers and family is not the answer because as good as me and my sister have treated and taken care of my mother and she choses to defy this one request I will not feel any guilt. I have begged her to quit feeding these animals and when her time comes the burden will be left to me to handle and the cost of freeing the property of the mess they leave.

Sep 26, 2011 I agree
by: Rose

I agree with the previous comments!
You sound quite immature in your need to come here and criticise your own mother for her kindness to poor hungry animals.
I take it as her cats are neutered they are vaccinated too.
Let her alone,a lot of elderly people give up the ghost once they have nothing to make them feel needed.
She isn’t hoarding,she is being humane!
A few tins of cat food isn’t going to eat away at your inheritence very much!

Sep 26, 2011 To Jodi
by: Barbara

Your mother is obviously a compassionate woman who empathises with other beings, it seems you missed out on that gene!
If your mother doesn’t see the cost as being a problem I don’t understand why you’re getting yourself in a stew about it, and as for disease well the woman clearly knows how to look after herself, as you describe her as “elderly” she must have been around the block a few times without succumbing to disease.
Let your mother be the adult that she is, she had a mind of her own long before she produced you. If you need something to exercise your mind you could either try for a bit of compassion or a bit of revision on spelling, it’s feral cats not ferril

Barbara avatar

Sep 26, 2011 To Jodi
by: Ruth

Jodi, treasure your mother while you have her !
I wish my mother was still here feeding hungry cats.
It’s different to hoarding, she’s like my mother was, doing a good turn and what we did was buy extra cat food to help her feed them.
PLEASE don’t fall out with yours, she sounds a kind soul who needs to feel needed.
It would be a better world with more people like her in it.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Sep 26, 2011 cat hording
by: Jodi

I am having this problem with my elderly mother and it is coming between our mother daughter relationship. She feeds every stray in the neighborhood including racoons. She has 3 of her own cats which are spayed and neutered. I do not have a problem with them. But, clearly I am not getting through to her on the cost and the disases
that these ferril cats carry. It is very sad we live in the country, well a small community and she cannot afford this cost.

It is driving me crazy !!!!

Apr 11, 2011 Sorry Michael
by: Elisa

I agree. DO NOT remove the cats while the person is gone. I’d probably kill someone if they did that to me. These cats are probably like children to this person. And the person needs to see that someone else will love the cats and provide a better home for a few of them.

Apr 11, 2011 Help them
by: Angel O

I agree with Ruth,help the person practically with the cats and also go about rehoming them slowly.

Sorry Michael but clearing the house of cats while the person is out would be very traumatic and if they have mental health issues that could tip them right over the edge and alienate them from the person who did that.

They obviously love cats and even though it’s a misguided way of helping them it wasn’t done on purpose.

Cat hoarders cats creep up in number because they can’t refuse any needy cat.

Help and understanding is the way to go.

Apr 11, 2011 My thoughts
by: Ruth

This is a very difficult situation and your family hoarder knows at the bottom of him/her that it can’t go on but is powerless to stop taking in more cats.

A cat hoarder believes that no one else can take care of cats and love them as they can.

So it’s no good nagging or threatening with trouble, they need help !

First with the basics, involve all the family to clean up the house and help with the cats, show your hoarder that you all care too but gently suggest that you start looking for good homes for some of the cats.

Don’t just take them away, do it gradually and don’t take them to a Shelter, they are already overcrowded and cats are killed in some if they aren’t adopted out.

Ask your local vets if you can put a ‘good homes for cats wanted’ poster on the waiting room wall and also if they can suggest to any clients looking for a cat that they contact you.

Praise your hoarder when he/she parts with a cat to a good home, make them feel they are doing a wonderful thing for the cat and the people who wanted a cat.

Above all do it patiently, slowly and kindly because your hoarder really does love cats, they are just misguided as to the number of cats you can care for and keep a happy home.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 10, 2011 Some tips
by: Elisa

Ask for help at area vets. Post a notice saying the cats will be free with a vet reference. That way you’ll be getting them into good homes.

Take out a freebies ad in the paper. Say the cats are free with vet approved homes.

If you don’t want to deal with phone calls then have a site with pics of the adoptable cats. All you’ll need is an email address. has a free web site service that I love because its easy to use. Look at this as a sample as I have a lot of cats and have put many up for adoption

Make the hoarder realize its best to adopt out a few of the cats to risk losing them all if the authorities step in. I cover cases of hoarders being charged with animal abuse and can tell you the fines aren’t cheap.

My email is if you need to contact me.

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