It is tiresome. Everyday we read on the internet about a cat hoarder who, through their mental disability, have been abusive towards their cats despite being convinced that they are doing some good. I say that cat hoarders would have great difficulty in existing if there were no surplus of cats. It is this surplus of unwanted cats which feeds and facilitates the behaviour of people who feel the need to collect and hoard cats as if they were collecting and hoarding any other object.
I will go so far as to say that cat hoarding is a byproduct of the large number of unwanted cats in America many of whom are still euthanised at shelters although there has been a dramatic improvement in that regard in recent years.
The huge number of unwanted cats in rescue centres or on the streets or wherever they are found, has had profound consequences. Most important of which is that it devalues the life of a cat. It turns cats into objects to be collected by a tiny minority of people who rather than collecting and hoarding inanimate objects such as CDs or books, turn to living creatures. Because the cat is readily available, this companion animal finds himself an object of desire for a hoarder. It is about as devalued as a cat can be; turned into an object.
Hoarding of objects is very common. There are varying degrees of it. However, quite a significant percentage of the population hoard objects. They don’t want to throw them away. They feel more secure when they hang onto them, just in case they are needed. There are far more hoarders of inanimate objects which you can purchase than there are hoarders of cats. This is because there are far more inanimate objects to be collected but there is still far too many cats to hoard as well.
There are other negative spin offs as a result of the large number of unwanted cats. Cat abuse comes to mind which is a result of the devaluing of the life of a cat, at least in part.
The most recent example of cat hoarding comes from a New Jersey couple living in an apartment who hoarded 85 cats and dogs, all of which appear to have been living in crates. Officials call it the worst animal cruelty case that they have seen. There were 81 crates stacked in the home.
In some crates there were 10 cats – astonishing and shocking. The cages were stacked from floor-to-ceiling.
Animal control officers found the animals in horrific and deplorable conditions. They were described as emaciated and filthy. The hoarders are a mother and daughter and they have been arrested for animal cruelty. A third person is sought.
The room in the apartment where the animal cages were stacked up has been described as a house of horrors by a humane officer Geoffrey Santini.
A veterinarian who treated some of the animals that have been seized in a raid on the apartment said that many of the animals had to be put down because they were in such poor health. He mentioned that almost half were in a grave condition with severe dehydration. They were emaciated. They had ringworm and herpesvirus infections. They were really bad. He had to end their suffering, he said.
All of the dogs had severe dermatitis because of their matted fur. That is the picture and it is severely depressing. However, the point of this article is as stated, namely that the irresponsible public, a minority obviously, who allow their cats to breed informally, feed and facilitate the errant behaviour of cat hoarders such as this mother and daughter.
Yes, there are other reasons why people hoard cats. I’m just making one point, discussing one factor in this often highlighted process, which we see too much of on the Internet.