Please Help. I Am A Lonely Cat Hoarder

by M.S.

I have 13 cats. I recently lost one, one of my favorites and I buried him in the yard.

There are no dead animals in my home. Although I don’t walk in feces it is still very hard to keep a clean home the way I would love to have one.

And I know I would be a lot better without all those cats but the big problem is the following: I love each and everyone of them deeply and have a hard time to imagine giving them away for I don’t know if I would trust anyone with them.

They all have their own name, their own personality…

It just started with a couple of cats but I didn’t do what I should have done to prevent babies so I have to pay the price for my stupidity now.

And it is a high price: always being afraid someone landlord is going to discover all the cats; being so unhappy in my home because it is messy, smelly and I can’t invite anyone one here.

So it makes me even more lonely that I already am. It is a vicious circle.

One only thing I know for sure: most animal hoarders like me are not bad people. They do not intend to hurt the animals. They all start with a lot of compassion and love and it ends up hurting both the animals and themselves.

As for me I know the solution to my problems, well most of them, would be to give away some of my BABIES but just the thought of it is killing me.

I can’t even travel to see my family being 13 years since the last time I saw my mom because I am afraid to leave my cats.

I know too well for most people it is unthinkable but for me it is a sad reality, a lonely life and I can’t seem to find a solution.

Not that I don’t know what I should do but I just can’t do it…


Update: I have brought this post forward in time so that it is read afresh (Admin).

Hi M.S…. thank you very much for sharing. My heart goes out to you. I feel sorry for you. You seem to be a really nice loving person and you probably need a bit of help, so I changed the title a bit. There are some really nice visitors to this site who may be able to make some suggestions.

There is no doubt, as you say, that you need to get back to a two or one cat household.

If you could be sure that the people adopting the cats were reliable and kind you might be able to let them go.

Perhaps if you advertised just one for adoption and see how that went. It might break the habit, get things moving in the right direction.

What you say, indicates that my theory about cat hoarders, written some time ago, is correct: Cat Hoarding.

I would urge you to make a change. Do it small steps at a time. A small or very small step can be achieved and gradually you might break out of it.

Take a deep breath, count to ten and then choose one cat, make sure he or she is clean and in good health and offer him or her for adoption. Ask the adopters questions and ask if you can come around and see your cat. Then if that works, progress from there.

I can’t think of anything else.

All the best to you and your loved cats.

Michael Avatar

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Please Help. I Am A Lonely Cat Hoarder

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Jan 31, 2011 Any Updates How are You doing ?
by: ny

MS how are you doing ? Any updates, as this is an older post . You are not alone. There are many of us like you ! What else would we do if we we didnt have the cats !

Jan 14, 2011 From an outsider
by: Anonymous

My mum in law has 10 cats and she stays in a apartment the size of a hotel room. She spent about $1000 a month on cat food supplies. My dad in law only takes home $1200 per month. She hardly sleep at night ’cause she have to feed her cats. She never had proper meals ’cause she wants to provide for her cats. Her electicity bills is about $400 because her cats have to sleep in air-conditioning room. Because of the cats she have backpain (due to cleaning) therefore she is hooked on painkillers and sleeping pills. Recently she had a mild stroke and heart failure but she refuses to go to hospital as she needs to look after her cats. I do understand how you feel but as the person outside your world please spare us a thought that by loving so many cats you are slowly killing yourself by pushing your loves one away. Do remember by having 13 cats in a same confined space doesn’t mean you are giving them the freedom or attention as to 1 or 2 cats. I do pray for you and please start living your life now before it is too late.

Sep 23, 2010 Professional help a good option
by: Ruth Y.

Dear Friend,
I didn’t see it mentioned in the other posts, so I will add this to what others have said. You may want to consider the help of a good psychologist and maybe a professional organizer.
There are a lot of things in life we just can’t do on our own. I’m starting to realize I will never get down to a healthy weight or break my sugar addiction on my own. The times I’ve had success were when I was accountable to someone– like a personal trainer at the fitness center I used to go to. When I try to do what I did to lose the weight back then I just don’t have much success on my own. It’s not the same without her moral support and also being accountable to someone else.
Hoarding is also associated with OCD and depression. Some theorize that similar regions of the brain may be involved. Medications could help, though you can’t over rely on them– there’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s no magic pill, but some things are easier to tackle if your brain chemistry isn’t off balance.
Many of Sylvia’s suggestions will also actually help to balance your brain chemistry– like getting exercise and spending time talking with friends. I struggle with low levels of serotonin. I used to take Prozac, but now I don’t. (I do things that naturally raise those levels, but I’m also aware of signs that it’s not working, like when I stop sleeping entirely– then it’s time to medicate.)
But I didn’t get to this point without the help of a really, really good psychologist. He used to work with the kids where I taught school and I would see such a change in every kid he was seeing that I asked if he would see me at his office. He’s now passed away, but he was just a godsend, a real blessing in my life. There was also a pastor friend who really helped me. Most people who knew me probably didn’t know I was suffering– and the same may be true in your life. That’s where it helps to bring in a professional, someone who doesn’t know you, so you won’t feel embarrassed to really open up to him or her.
When you have problems in your life (big or small) sometimes the best thing is another person who is trained to help.

Jul 27, 2010 Speck 5
by: Sylvia Ann

As for sitting around with 13 cats because of depression, is there that much that isn’t depressing? ‘Rightly perceived, there’s nothing laughable under the sun.’ [Thomas Hardy] If we live long enough, we lose our animals through illness and old age. We lose our spouses and family. We’re surrounded by war. By Gaia’s degradation. And then we die.

In spite of it all, we can still be creative. Composers, painters and writers churned out immortal works of art in the depths of depression and privation. Think of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Henry Fielding, Flaubert, Chopin, Mahler, the frail and fragile Proust —the names go on. Unless it’s pathological – or unless we’re cowed when it flexes its muscles – depression can’t defeat us. We can still have exuberant highs – not from pills or a bottle, but through achievement. Never mind ‘talent.’ We triumph by grabbing a difficult challenge with pit bull jaws and not letting go until the d**nable ‘thou shalt not’ is drowned out by ‘I did it!’

As for feeling lonely – we’re all alone. Which doesn’t mean we have to feel lonely. No one but us – not even our spouse and family – knows the lay of the land, the hills and valleys we travel alone in our inner world. We can nearly forget our solitude if we have a soul mate (a threadbare cliché), if we have a few friends. But it never goes away.

Perhaps there’s an answer. Perhaps there’s none. But you sound articulate, intelligent and rational. Why not try, if you wish, to spiffy up your house. And hold on to your kitties, if that’s what you want – and if you can afford to. But have them spayed and neutered. Then get out of your house if you’re willing and able, if only for a couple of hours, and meet some fun people.

Best wishes,


Jul 27, 2010 Shard 4
by: Sylvia Ann

If you like staying home, you can read, paint and draw, pursue any number of arts and crafts, garden, cook, redecorate your home. You can also make friends on the Internet, though such friendships, in my view, can be a simulacrum. The Net – though sometimes a source of informative inspiration – can be addictive, an often as not time-consuming, idle diversion. It’s also unhealthful to sit in a chair for hours a day – whether reading a book, watching TV or surfing the Net. A few days ago a scientist on Sirius radio described the high risk of dementia, of osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease and cancer that can result from a sedentary life. We’ve evolved to be active. Walking and running, stooping and lifting are vital not only to bone density, but to metabolizing the glucose in our bloodstream. While I didn’t take notes, the foregoing gives you an overview of his comments.

As for not being able to go anywhere, many parents of animals are in the same fix. Two of my friends who’d like to travel are stuck in their house because of their menagerie. They haven’t had a vacation in years. Unless you have a trustworthy neighbor – or board your cats while you are away (and some kennels and catteries are germ-ridden) – you’re as nailed down as many of us. Could your mom come and visit?

There are other reasons for being housebound. Some of us cling to our houses and pets because we’re growing old. (Though for all I know, you’re 25.) In a culture that worships the Pitts and Jolies, it isn’t easy to ooze self-esteem when we look in the mirror. Wispy hair and shiny pates, crepey eyelids, pendulous earlobes, wattles and dewlaps, liver spots, pink and white dentures that clamp to the cob when we take a bite of corn, Cooper’s Droop, man-boobs and paunches, arthritic hip-joints, hazelnut gonads, uterine slump, varicose veins, bunions, nail fungus and looming dementia when the frontal lobes have shriveled fall short of conducive to self-esteem, and ardent looks from others. The sole consolation? We’re all bozos on the same bus.

Jul 27, 2010 Fragment 3
by: Sylvia Ann

Nevertheless, it’s also true my life has improved more than I can say. Does this sound unfeeling?

•Though I’ve cried for the cats, I like my birds – and the cats pulled the babies out of their nests. Every spring my yard was covered in feathers. I’m fond of my birds, who enjoy their birdbath for the first time.
•I also grow vegetables, and was always having to scoop cat manure out of my garden.
•There are no more yowling catfights.
•Best of all, I no longer lie awake at night, wondering how to bear the expense.

Have you low-cost spay-neuter clinics in Alaska? We have them here. Ours are free, though if you can spare it, the people are grateful for contributions. There are also ostensibly no-kill shelters in many areas, including mine, and the people who run them are animal lovers who screen every applicant wishing to adopt.

If your cats are old, you’ll have a problem finding them a home. But if they’re young and eye-candy cute, perhaps you could place a classified ad, tack up a note on a bulletin board in your supermarket, call around, or do an Internet search to locate some no-kill shelters. If you can donate a few extra dollars, the staff might even be willing to assure you your cats found a home with kind and caring people. If you could bear to relinquish a few, you may be surprised how quickly they’ll adjust to new parents, and how many good-hearted people there are who adore their cats and dogs.

As for your housebound isolation, would you consider getting out every few days? Cats are dependent and lovable, and deserve good care. But you’re not a cat, and most of us need some human contact. The more you sit in that house with your cats, the more your thoughts and feelings will devolve. Your cats don’t need to be entertained every waking hour Your giving them food and shelter is plenty, and endearing as they are, they can’t substitute for fellow human beings. There are billions of us in the world, and you’re sure to find some friends.

Where to begin? Cities and towns have volunteer groups, social support groups for widows, et al. (you can attend, even if you aren’t a widow), book clubs, quilting clubs, garden clubs, art classes, cooking classes, church activities, potluck political get-togethers, free evening classes at the U for retirees, Toastmasters’ meetings, grief support groups (you needn’t be bereaved to attend). You can easily find such listings on your own. Unless you live in a yurt on the tundra, they’re all over the place.

Jul 27, 2010 Installment 2
by: Sylvia Ann

Beyond the above, what makes housework so toilsome to many people is that the result is fleeting and abnormal. In two or three days the dust descends. The rug quietly covers itself with specks of dirt and cat hair. The cat food cans pile up on your sink unless you keep washing them non-stop, until your digits look like prunes. The crannies re-clog. Bottom line: clutter reflects the unfolding of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

To be more specific, while cats aren’t messy (assuming your cats are indoor cats), their litter box stinks, which is why you have to empty it every couple of days – or scoop and discard the droppings. Store-bought litter is not only pricey, it’s bad for the landfill. Since you live in Alaska, could you get sawdust from a lumberyard? That’s what I use. It’s soft and fluffy, and while it isn’t ‘enhanced’ with perfume, as is store-bought litter, it costs little or nothing, and is more ecologically friendly than the granular stuff.

As for your having 13 cats, some kitty enthusiasts have more than you, and enjoy them immensely. I’m sorry to say I lack their funds – and capacity for pleasure – and nearly collapsed when I was up to eight.

You say you can’t bear to give up your cats. I completely relate to how you feel. But if you can’t part with even a few, if you distrust anyone else to give them a good home, then your situation – unless they die off – might stay the same, worsen or improve.

Consider this. Many people love their cats as much as you love yours, and some may have more money to spend on their beloved pets. Are you able to feed your cats grain-free kibbles ($4.50 a lb.)? Canned and fresh meats and fish? If they are ill, can you to take them to a vet? Can you afford euthanasia? Can you have them spayed and neutered? Can you have them vaccinated, if need be? Can you buy them flea repellent? You used to be able to buy a can of flea powder for a dollar or two. Flea repellent nowadays is $18.00 for four or five applications. These costs are substantial. Over the past six years or so, I’ve spent $18,000 on cats that weren’t mine. Each of the eight cost nearly $50.00 a month in food alone.

I’m now down to two housecats and one – sometimes two – outdoor cats. I put to sleep the rest of them (all outdoor strays) when they sickened with feline leukemia, and paid $80.00 to a no-kill shelter to spay and adopt the one healthy cat. These events occurred last October, and I’m still brokenhearted.

Jul 27, 2010 Section 1
by: Sylvia Ann

Dear M.S. —

You give the impression of being a kind and loving person. Yet you write that you are lonely, that your house is so messy you can’t have visitors. For whatever they’re worth, here are a couple of my thoughts.

Cats are usually fastidious, so if there’s a mess, it might be caused by you – not the cats.
If so, cheer up: you’re in fabulous company!

Example 1: Think I read once that Beethoven lived in a state of chaos beyond belief. Among other items, the book described an overflowing chamber pot under his piano.

Example 2: Years ago I knew a lawyer whose house bulged with debris. He showered his wife with beautiful things: Faberge eggs, Waterford crystal, Persian rugs and jade vases, all of which were displayed amidst rolls of dust the size of small boulders, unmade beds, a sink piled high with crusty pots and pans. What is surreal, he and his wife were pleased as punch to invite everyone over to their house. One day, before asking me to sit down, he nonchalantly flung out his arm and swept off the sofa a plate of stale pizza, clusters of dog hair, eye-popping piles of laundry, stacks of newspapers, ski-boots, books galore, a box of half-eaten chocolates – the lid fell off, and the chocolates flew out of the box like shrapnel – some gadget resembling a tire iron, a camera tripod, a bunch of carpentry tools and hair curlers. Was he tetched in the head? He was nothing of the sort! The guy was smart, he had enough charm to bottle and sell. He was a jovial raconteur who loved to amuse you with his yarns while he sat sipping wine, oblivious to the piles of garbage that threatened to topple over any moment and bury you alive.

Why do so many intelligent people hate cleaning house?

I’ve read that some Native Americans – in olden days – also loathed housework. When things reached the point of no return, they dismantled their houses and moved on. The way some folks see it, housework is repetitious and mindless. You push and you pull. Is this intellectually stimulating? The objects you push and pull are a rag, a dust mop, wet mop and vacuum cleaner. As if this weren’t enough to hurry along the onset of brain-death, you need a brush – you need tweezers or something – to reach into crud-collecting crannies. And there are more crannies in a house than heaven has stars. They’re everywhere. They surround every faucet, they border the baseboards, chairs and tables. The stove and fridge are a weltering mass of greasy grooves. And the loo is a nightmare, with its knobs and bolt caps, its crevices where the lid is screwed on, its dusty and depressing ‘S-trap’ undulation.

Jul 25, 2010 The first step towards a solution
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi M.S. You are a good person and a brave one too. By coming to realise you have a problem, you have already taken the first step towards solving it.
Actually living with many cats does not have to be impossible – I’ve seen breeders do just that and still have nice and tidy homes. But it also takes lots of energy and money – and when that is missing, you get into a vicious circle.
I can’t add much to the advice that has already been given, but I agree you should ask for help from somebody you trust. And have a few cats adopted into other homes. This site is full of stories of happy adoptions, so why not give it a chance?
How many you eventually can keep in a responsible way only depends on your economy and how much time you have for them. Loving cats is nothing to be ashamed of, only mistreating them is. Good luck to you and the cats.

Jul 24, 2010 To Kathy and Babz
by: Ruth

Ugh Kathy, I’d rather clean a million litter boxes than dye a drooling man’s beard lol
I do agree with you though, there must be someone kind to help this poor soul and his/her cats.
I agree with you too Babz,it would be best to take in no more cats.
I think if we three lived in Alaska we’d be round that house right now with our pinnies on!
Oh and I think Michael would be there too !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jul 24, 2010 i wish I could help

What you need to do is find a cat lover like yourself to come and help you out. Im sure there is some kind soul out there like yourself who maybe would be willing to come and help you with your cats. A few years back I meet a handicapped man who was a cat lover like me. He couldnt keep any housekeepers because he needed someone to help with the normal cat maintence. Like cleaning litter boxes and the normal clean up of a few cat mistakes. Also feeding the very old one on the counter her special diet. I grew to love his cats as if they were my own. I feed, watered, cleaned boxes and also helped him with cleaning his house. Which wasnt always pleasant. Sometimes it included dyeing his beard while he drooled the whole time. But the satisfaction that I got in my heart with helping him maintain his little friends was overwhelming. When I saw the love on his face fore his cats it made me endure the sometimes not so pleasant task of cleaning his toilet. Ask around , see what you can come up with. Youd be surprised how sometimes one animal lover will be willing to help out someone in your position, When I had to find homes for my cats a few years ago many peop-le tried to help me. I know what youre going through. I had 13 babies at that time. Some of them Ill never know what happened to them. But God graced me with giving me back my beloved cat Lia after 4 years of us being seperated. Hang in there.

Jul 24, 2010 Cats can take over your life
by: Barbara

I’m not so sure you would be happier with less cats because I think you might feel worried about any that you parted with and maybe guilty for letting them go because as you’ve said you love each one of them and regard them as your babies. It’s just that they seem to have taken over your life and your home to the exclusion of all else, I also think the worry of all this, your isolation, and maybe the financial cost of caring for your furry family is making you depressed and so it all seems to be getting on top of you. Are you in touch with your mom at all? Do you speak on the phone? Could you invite your mom to your home, I’m sure she already knows that you love cats so she probably wouldn’t be too surprised at your large family. If you have a trusted friend I’d also say bite the bullet and invite him/her to your home. But first follow Ruth’s advice and start and clean your home room by room and lay down a few ground rules as to where toileting happens and where meals are taken etc, cats are a bit like people in that if they can get away with it they’ll opt for the easy life and take advantage of a willing slave.

Also, make a rule for yourself – no more cats!You are NOT a bad person, you are obviously a kind and sensitive person in a bit of trouble. Please let us know how it goes

Barbara avatar

Jul 24, 2010 You do need help
by: Ruth

Hello, my heart goes out to you too.It’s so very easy when you love cats to make room for ‘just one more’ and before you know it you are just living in a sort of cattery.
I wish you lived in England, Cats Protection would help you by paying for the neutering of all your cats,that would make sure they didn’t breed any more.
Also a volunteer may have come out to help you clean your house up and organise some sort of toilet area etc for you for the cats.
I’ve done that when volunteering, good job I’ve a strong stomach,the lady only had 4 cats but when they messed on the floor she merely threw a paper hankie over it and left it there…one cat used a built in cupboard with clothes on the floor,you can imagine the mess to clean up… it took me ages. She was also a hoarder of bits and pieces so everywhere was piled high,what a job ! She went off out for the day and left me to it, thankfully my sister came to help after work or I’d have been there for days lol We only found out about the state of her house when she was rushed into hospital and we had a call to look after her cats.She wouldn’t admit she had a problem.
So what I’m saying is,you aren’t as bad as that are you,you know you have a problem and you are trying to sort it.
It’s just that it’s all got a bit out of hand.
I can understand you can’t bear to part with any of the cats,they’re your family but you do need help to sort it all out.Do you have a cat lover in your family ? Or a friend or neighbour to help you ?
Tackle a little bit at a time, start with one room and clean it,try to do a room a day and once you see your house gradually looking nicer you’ll feel encouraged to do a bit more.
Organise some litter boxes and teach your cats to use them by gently lifting them in if they go to soil on the floor.Keep the litter as clean as you can, cats hate using dirty litter and with so many that could be your problem.Ideally you need one for each cat but of course with so many cats that’s impossible.
I’m so sorry I can’t think of much more to say.There may be someone willing to help you if you could pluck up courage and ask at a local vets.
It’s very obvious you love your cats and I think anyone could see that and help them stay with you in their home.
Good luck, I do hope things improve for you and your cats soon.
Come back and talk to us here,maybe someone in your area will pop up one day and want to help you without judging you,because fellow cat lovers WILL understand.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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