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The Crazy Cat Lady is my MIL!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My mother-in-law is a crazy cat lady. I love her to death, and she has a super big heart when it comes to animals. She's even a vet assistant. But sometimes I think she just doesn't know when to say no.....

Her house is very small and she has NEVER been a neat or clean person. We all have clutter here and there, but her house is absolutely disgusting and definitely not healthy/sanitary. You walk in and are greeted by 8 cats (Shelly, Seedie, Flirty, Fred, Miss Piss, Monkey, Puddles, and Poopaloop), as well as a poodle and a jack russell terrier. The house is wall-to-wall clutter, garbage, dirty clothes, and dirt. Dirty dishes and empty cat food cans have taken over the counter and are piled sky high. The floor has a lovely layer of loose dirt, dry cat food nuggets, papers, and tracked cat litter.

Her cat litter box is crazy. It's a HUGE, Rubbermaid container about 6 inches high and filled with clumping cat litter. Problem is, it looks like it hasn't been emptied in a week (with 8 cats!!) and the cats have tracked strewed the litter all over the floor surrounding the box. Oh did I mention the box is located in the middle of the living room? You practically trip over it...... so much for privacy.

The dogs have chewed everything to a pulp, including the couch. She crates them during the day while she's at work, but I don't know why she bothers because the house is already such a wreck.

She has 8 horses that are physically healthy but she never brushes or combs their hair, so they're full of burrs and knots that will never come out.

She also has 3 dogs that are strictly outside dogs, tied to 6 foot chains. (Sometimes I just want to go let them off and say have a nice life!)

But, after all this, her animals (especially the cats) are very healthy and well cared for. I guess they obviously come first! (Except for the litter box... I may have to say something about that ).
post #2 of 17
Personally I'd question on HOW well those animals are being taken care of from your description. IMO I don't see how they can be healthy living like that - its animal cruelty as far as I'm concerned!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Since they're all healthy I can't say much. They all have super good food to eat, plenty of water, medical needs taken care of ASAP. The cats and dogs don't understand it's a dirty house. But I do! Eww! I hate to go there... I feel so icky after. The only thing I feel that is cruel is keeping those poor dogs tied outside with no interaction. They feed them at night and fill up their water, that's all the human interaction those poor beagles get. Why have them then? Grrr.
post #4 of 17
A friend at work was just telling me about her MIL being a crazy cat lady. They built a cottage, that has separate rooms with cat doors, central heating & air, etc - for only the cats!! She said theres probably close to 35 (healthy!) cats living there. Man, those cats are living better than me! My bedroom doesnt have central heating or air to it!
post #5 of 17
Oh my. Now, I admit I'm a crazy cat lady but I have come to terms with the fact that 8 is enough...I think.

I have 11 of those "huge" rubbermaid containers...but they are scooped religiously...and tucked away in discreet locations spread over 2200 sq feet. If I didn't have so many cats, I could live in a smaller house.

They poop, I scoop. I'm just here to serve them.
post #6 of 17
They can have the best food in the world, but living in filth its only a matter of time before they get sick. Not cleaning the litter pan is an excellant way of spreading diseases, worms, etc.

I still stand by my statement being animal cruelty. Sorry but that's my opinion.
post #7 of 17
is there any way you could get some other people together and help/force her into cleaning up the place? that way she wont have a chance of SPCA being called out, or an animal getting sick or injuried in the mess.

also, that way she will know your trying to help, not jsut yell at her about things. maybe with helping clean up, she will see what a mess it was, and not let it get that bad again.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
I do agree with you somewhat. I'm surprised my MIL/FIL haven't gotten sick! Plus, how can you live like that? I admit I'm lazy, but my cat's box is scooped every night, and I don't leave garbage or smelly dishes around.... Barf!
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beandip View Post
Oh my. Now, I admit I'm a crazy cat lady but I have come to terms with the fact that 8 is enough...I think.

I have 11 of those "huge" rubbermaid containers...but they are scooped religiously...and tucked away in discreet locations spread over 2200 sq feet. If I didn't have so many cats, I could live in a smaller house.

They poop, I scoop. I'm just here to serve them.

Wow, 11? I'd hate to see what your litter bill is each year...
Besides, 8 is fine if you have the room.... she really doesn't.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liza24 View Post
is there any way you could get some other people together and help/force her into cleaning up the place? that way she wont have a chance of SPCA being called out, or an animal getting sick or injuried in the mess.

also, that way she will know your trying to help, not jsut yell at her about things. maybe with helping clean up, she will see what a mess it was, and not let it get that bad again.
Is that at all possible?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
I will definitely see what I can do. I've had it with that mess. It's disgusting. If she really does have a big heart for these animals, you'd think she'd be a little more clean. I'll talk to some of my family. It wouldn't take much, maybe a day's worth of cleaning and disenfecting. If everyone helped out, it would even be better. I'll keep you posted!
post #12 of 17
The clutter and mess are symptoms of something fundamentally wrong with this lady's thinking process. You can help her clean it all up, but it won't stay clean unless she also gets some help with what's wrong in her head.

This is a very specific and distinct kind of mental disorder that's hard to define and hard to treat... but there is work being done in the field. Here's an excellent website where you can learn more about it:

http://squalorsurvivors.com/

If you can gently talk with this lady about the issue and get her to read some of the stories on that site, she may "see herself" in them... and that could be the beginning of healing for her.

The most important thing is to understand that it's not about being dirty or slovenly -- it's a mental block that just won't let you do what needs to be done. Often, it has to do with being an extreme perfectionist! I know that sounds contradictory, but if you study it, it begins to make sense.

I hope you can help her find her way out.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
The clutter and mess are symptoms of something fundamentally wrong with this lady's thinking process. You can help her clean it all up, but it won't stay clean unless she also gets some help with what's wrong in her head.

This is a very specific and distinct kind of mental disorder that's hard to define and hard to treat... but there is work being done in the field. Here's an excellent website where you can learn more about it:

http://squalorsurvivors.com/

If you can gently talk with this lady about the issue and get her to read some of the stories on that site, she may "see herself" in them... and that could be the beginning of healing for her.

The most important thing is to understand that it's not about being dirty or slovenly -- it's a mental block that just won't let you do what needs to be done. Often, it has to do with being an extreme perfectionist! I know that sounds contradictory, but if you study it, it begins to make sense.

I hope you can help her find her way out.

I've known a couple of people like this in my time.
post #14 of 17
Wow - and interesting. My MIL was abused by her 2nd husband, she also lived thru the depression. She will not keep her apartment clean at all - its almost as bad as some of those pictures. So it could be other reasons - cause she's far from being a perfectionist!

A few of her kids helped her clean up once or twice, but its not long before its back to being trashy. Her one sister is also the same way! I would not call either one a perfectionist. Might also have something to do with depression.
post #15 of 17
I think it's a good idea to help her out. I think she means well, but just needs a bit of help with her pets.

If you do anything, please try to see her side. I always feel for some people who gets turned in for animal abuse, when they are trying their best to help these animals. I know it's not the best situation for the pet to be in, but think about this person who is feeding them.

Don't just turn her in for abuse please! I'm sure she loves her cats and dogs with all her heart.

I would try and help her out and get her to see about finding new homes for some of them.
post #16 of 17
Maybe I should clarify what I said about perfectionism...

Sometimes what happens when it's carried too far is that a person reaches a point where she no longer believes it's possible for her to do the thing as perfectly as it should be done -- so she becomes emotionally paralyzed by it, unable to bring herself to even try.

So while people like this may look like anything but perfectionists, that can actually be the underlying issue that's brought them to this point.

(I've studied this because I grew up in a family where nothing I ever did was good enough -- good, but never perfect, y'know? So eventually, I became afraid to even attempt anything. I'm still struggling with that to this day. )
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
No, there's nothing wrong with her. She's just a slob. That's the way she was raised.... her mother is the same way. At least my husband didn't inherit that!
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