Usually I prefer to keep Feline Fridays upbeat, but with the recent news release about a search and rescue operation in which 113 dead kittens and 51 live adult cats were found housed in horrible conditions, it was clear that the issue of animal hoarding needs to be addressed. This particular story is from Seaside, California, but a similar story just came out of Kansas City, Missouri which gives better insight into how the desire to love and nurture can turn into an unhealthy situation that affects the cats, people, and whole communities.
Ms. Dunn fits the typical stereotype of a "crazy cat lady," being single and elderly, though one third of animal hoarders are men. This is a complex issue where the people involved often feel that they are the only ones able to help the animals, but in reality, in severe cases, living in a hoarder's home is a slow death for the trapped creatures due to neglect.
According to the ASPCA, "It's important to note that not everyone who has multiple animals is an animal hoarder. A person may have a dozen animals, and all are spayed and neutered and provided with regular veterinary care and a sanitary environment. This person would not be an animal hoarder. Even rescuers who occasionally become overwhelmed are not considered hoarders if they are actively trying to modify the situation. That said, if you think you might have too many animals to care for properly, please contact your local shelter or a veterinarian for help."
Visit the ASPCA's site for more information on the signs of animal hoarding and guides for helping people and the animals involved in hoarding situations.
Photo by AP Photo/SPCA for Monterey County.