Friday, March 30, 2012

The Cat Hoarder

Last post I mentioned that the woman who came in with the 10 cats was a Hoarder, and she was! But she proclaimed herself as a rescuer so I changed the name to "Rescuer" and titled this post appropriately "The Cat Hoarder". Last posts' lady brought in a total of 10 cats or less a day and many of them were spayed and neutered, meaning she at least tried to take care of them. They were not malnourished and seemed to be better cared for than other hoarders I've seen. Although they were all sick with URI and Feline Leukemia and least they didn't multiply like rabbits!

Allow me to share with you one of the craziest things I have seen to date at the shelter. A true hoarder that brought in a total of 30 cats...all at once. The woman who brought them in was the daughter of the older lady who was the actual hoarder, so I had to call to confirm with her that we had permission to receive the cats. The reason she was giving them up was that she had too many, obviously, and she was in the hospital because many viciously attacked her whenever strangers would enter her home. I couldn't take a picture of this for confidential reasons, so I thought maybe I could show you through a little diagram. Picture this:

1 Mini Van       +             5 Cages              +         30 Cats

The putrid smell that reeked from the van hit me like a heavy wall that made me take a couple of steps back and look for fresh air. The cages had cats packed into them and were piled up on top of each other. They were all panting and breathing very heavily because of stress and dehydration.

None of the black cages had a plastic bottom to them, so there were huge holes on the bottom of each cage; here laid the problem. Each cage held at least 15 cats and if we tried to move the cage up and out, they would easily slip out of the bottom holes and bolt away. So we either had to remove the cats one by one into smaller carriers or somehow cover the bottom and move the cages onto these rolling carts. We attempted to move them into carriers, but turns out they were actually very feral and wouldn't let any of us get close to them. Somehow we managed to slide these square plastic boards under the cages and slide the cages onto the carts. Finally, we were able to transfer the cages with the cats into the buildings with fresh water and air conditioning!

I don't know what the legal issues were that she got into because of this or if she was penalized. I do hope she was because this to me is cruelty to animals and many of them had to be put down because of the diseases and bad conditions they were in. She didn't even bother spaying or neutering ANY of them, and the daughter told me that at one point 7 of them were pregnant. How someone allows that to happen is beyond me.

All of these different cases I've been seeing at the shelter is alarming to me and motivates me even more to pursue a career in Veterinary Science. I have decided to work in the field of Shelter Medicine and help reduce the number of unwanted pets as well as rescue those that are homeless. I want to better understand the protocols and legal issues regarding shelter medicine and the urgency of the problems associated with it. This way I can start to help those pets who need it and still pursue my dream of becoming a Veterinarian. Maybe then I can prevent cases like these from happening and be able to help the animal victims (and people) that go through this.

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