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How to NOT be a Crazy Cat Lady
Unless you have been living with your head in the cat litter for several years, you have probably heard the term “Crazy Cat Lady’ once or twice in your life. Perhaps, you have even been called a “Crazy Cat Lady” when someone saw you feed a stray cat or two, or grab a flashlight in the pouring rain and rescue a kitten caught in a storm drain.
In an article in Psychiatric Times, Allison Cardona- the chief hoarding investigator for Manhattan’s ASPCA is called to the home of an animal hoarder. Her assignment is difficult. She has to convince a hoarder to spay and neuter as many animals in his home as possible and then allow her to put the animals up for adoption.
Responsible cat rescuers are a far cry from being crazy cat ladies. Crazy cat ladies are animal hoarders. Women, who when they take in cats, they do so for reasons other than the cats well being. They do not spay, neuter or vet the animals. Thus, two cats become six, six cats quickly become ten, and so unchecked, the cats keep breeding and the number of cats keeps multiplying.
In a crazy cat lady’s house, a typical scene is piles of junk in the hallways and rooms, overflowing litter pans, and the stench of so many untended animals (along with the smell of decomposing animals) is unbelievably rank. There is no honor here, only sadness, sickness and death.
Ill-informed people throw the phrase, “Crazy Cat Lady” around with little regard to what the term really means. To escape this title being applied to you, here are some ways you can avoid being called a “Crazy Cat Lady.” These tips are offered by responsible rescuers:
Louise Holton, founder of Alley Cat Rescue in Maryland:
Has Louise ever been called a crazy cat lady? “Only by a few uninformed people, who have no knowledge of the amount of work stray and feral cats require.” Louise says. She never over-extends herself, even though she realizes the need of hundreds of callers coming into their helpline will not be answered. “There are only so many foster homes and vet clinics (where we board cats) to go around.”
Pet author, Dusty Rainbolt (her next book Cat Wrangling Made Easy is due out December 2007) offers her thoughts:
Across the world in Australia, an authorized RSPCA foster parent Tania Waterhouse suggests the following tips:
Cat hoarding and cat rescuing are miles apart in definition. “The media loves to pay attention to the cat hoarders.” Louise says. "It then makes anyone who is legit and really rescuing look as though they are cat hoarders. There is a definite distinction. “
If you want to rescue that stray in the backyard, your rescue attempt should not stop with just feeding the “poor starving kitty.” Trapping, neutering and releasing or re-homing cats takes you out of the realm of crazy cat lady and puts you into a responsible rescue situation. If you are unsure how to trap-neuter-and release,use the Internet. The Web has hundreds of resource sites to help you. Rescuing is a serious business. Those who misunderstand your intentions may label you crazy, but the healthy, well-fed happy cats under your care know better.