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Idle question, crazy cat/dog ladies

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Old 06-18-2013, 04:56 AM   #1
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Idle question, crazy cat/dog ladies

An idle question this morning. Maybe it is not so idle.

You know all those crazy cat ladies that we've all heard about? They usually live alone; they are hermits with few, if any, human friends. They may have kin, but they are usually estranged from them. They accumulate cats, dogs, strays until the house is bursting. They don't seem to notice that their house is filthy and dilapidated.

Every once in a while you read in the newspaper how the animal shelter would discover a house full of neglected and diseased and malnourished animals. At the center of it all would be a hermit, which seems the endpoint of the aforementioned "crazy cat lady" in the absence of earlier intervention.

Here are my questions. Do you think dementia is a likely driver for these crazy cat ladies? Or do you think most are just psychiatric cases? What usually happens to these crazy cat ladies once they are arrested for animal abuse? Does anyone have any insight, personal knowledge, or statistics? How does one intervene positively before they progress into the severe "cat lady" stage?

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Old 06-18-2013, 05:43 AM   #2
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Re: Idle question, crazy cat/dog ladies

Interesting question, and I too wonder if there has been any research into the causes of animal hoarding. I would not be surprised one bit of a portion of the "crazy cat ladies" did have dementia. OCD and hoarding can be a symptom of dementia so why not hording pets? A hoarder does not comprehend his actions and that definitely fits with dementia, as well as some other psychological illness profiles.

I have seen a number of stories in the new lately and wondered... "Did that person have dementia?" A few times I have found the answer was yes. Lady hits the gas instead of the brakes and ends up in the front lobby of a pizza parlor... she had dementia. An elderly man with a sterling reputation shoots his wife and then calls police.... he had dementia. In Seattle last year a man was shot by police. He called 911 regarding an incident outside of his house. The fire department had responded to a medical call on his street. When the police arrived the man came out with a gun threatening police and the situation escalated. There was a similar situation in Greensboro/Winston Salem area this year. I often wonder, when I hear stories on the news like this... Did that person have dementia and what if they had received adequate intervention and care?

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Old 06-18-2013, 07:27 AM   #3
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Re: Idle question, crazy cat/dog ladies

There is a movie Home alone (in NYC) and the kid met the lady with birds. She fed the birds and was homeless in Central Park. She was heart-broken.
I am sure some of them may have dementia. More likely homeless people are mentally ill because there are shelters to go but they prefer to be outside. Hoarding is one addiction and may not have to be dementia.


Old 06-18-2013, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: Idle question, crazy cat/dog ladies

Sounds like my first husband, only with him it is dogs. He has 7 of them and none of them are housebroken. I don't see him anymore, as I am dealing with my second husband's vascular dementia--my information about my ex comes from my kids, but they don't think he has dementia, he just doesn't have any friends. Anyway, I have enough problems.

Old 06-21-2013, 09:02 AM   #5
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Re: Idle question, crazy cat/dog ladies

In some cases, regarding hoarding, I think it may start out because the person is lonely and seeking love of any kind. They find it to a certain extent with the animals. Some may have a caregiver instinct and they think they are helping the animals. Still there must be some sort of unrealistic thinking on their part when they don't realize that they can't care for that number of animals. Hopefully if goes as far as the police being involved, the person is sent to a care facility.

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