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When is it time to kill the "too many" cats??

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/may/...ahoo_headlines
45 cats have perished in a housefire that ravaged a home housing about 80 cats in Florida. The owner was cited in 05 and 06, once for having too many outside (neighbors complained) and then in 06 when she took them back inside. Trouble was, she was apparently caring for them, getting over 200 spayed and neutered, vet care, etc. because, as always, it's just so easy for folks to dump off on the one overwhelmed person who refuses to give up, to call it quits.
When is it time for a person to just give up, when there is no other choice - "no room at the inn" elsewhere, and no where else to turn for help???? It it then time to take the cats to the vet for a peaceful, humane end or does one make the cat take a bad gamble at the overcrowded shelters
post #2 of 13
for me i am at my limit of four.
that is all i can do to keep the house and litter boxes clean(wife wont touch the litter box)

even though i live in the country, Eazy has been the only drope off that i know of(knock on wood).. but then again, i noticed the other day, that several houses on my street all had litter boxes or bags out with there trash.
post #3 of 13
I think the most we ever had was 10. Bogart was dumped on our Porch almost dead. He was about 4 weeks old. We saved him but he died before he was 3. The others were ferals. My limit is 5 Cats. I can only have 4 here though. When we get a House then I will have 5.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme View Post
When is it time for a person to just give up, when there is no other choice - "no room at the inn" elsewhere, and no where else to turn for help???? It it then time to take the cats to the vet for a peaceful, humane end or does one make the cat take a bad gamble at the overcrowded shelters
I think many things are worse than a humane death.

When you can't care for the cats in a reasonable manner, I'm sorry, but it's time to put your big girl panties on and do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.

I'm going to leave the article out of my answer, but IMO, there are reasonable standards of care for domestic animals that need to be maintained:
-Sanitation: Your residence needs to be sanitary for both the feline and human inhabitants.
-Welfare: Being alive is not enough. The cats shouldn't be living in a terribly stressful environment, and for many cats, that's going to be affected by the presence of too many other cats.
-Finances: Honestly, if you can't afford expensive vet care, I'm not going to throw stones. You can always make the argument that forgoing expensive veterinary treatment for one cat will allow you to save that many more other cats. However, you still need to be able to keep the cats healthy and humanely euthanize as needed, at a bare minimum.

I hesitate to declare a maximum number of cats for any one person. Obviously, if you don't have a job, are independently wealthy, have a staff of kitty caregivers, and own a huge house, you are in a better position to care for more cats than someone working full-time and living in a typical residence.

For me, personally, I'd choose to euthanize, rather than dump at a shelter in all but the rarest of circumstances.
post #5 of 13
Even though this doesn't sound like a typical hoarding situation because of all the spay/neuters that have been done, I think that is more cats than should be in one private home. Imagine all the litter boxes that would be needed for just minimal sanitation. I have two cats and that is my limit mainly because one has needed a lot of extra vet care which has been expensive. Everyones limit is different but I think 80 is too many for anyone to keep in their home.
post #6 of 13
When a person doesn't have the resources to properly care for their animals, then it's time to reduce the number, either voluntarily, or by law enforcement. Animals not being properly cared for could be construed as abuse and inhumane treatment. So, if there's no other way, then euthanasia as a method of stopping inhumane treatment is acceptable. You can't allow an animal to suffer. But there's so much subjectivity and gray areas, it's hard to tell when the line is crossed. So I suppose it first of all comes down to a personal decision, and then when an individual is incapable of deciding, or makes the wrong choices, then a judge is going to have to decide.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your considerate and wise answers - a woman whom I am helping rescue ferals is now leaving the country and has paid the vet to put down 11 so far because we can't find homes and @ the shelter it's mandatory euth. for ferals. I am facing that horrible decision myself soon because there may be 4 more kittens that she hopes to trap before she leaves,so my adult, totally wild, ferals may need to be PTS. Our vet does it very compassionately, and at cost, but it is soooo hard to contemplate.
Boringjen is so right - there comes a time when one has to "put big girl panties on" - just out of love and concern for the cats....
post #8 of 13
I'm just going to be one more "voice in the chorus", as I agree with everything posted above.... But here goes...

Too many cats, IMO is when the following conditions exist:

1. You have difficulty (or it is impossible) financially to have any vet care that is needed (annual vacs, emergency visit, etc.) done.

2. You can not maintain the litter boxes in a sanitary/timely manner (either too many boxes in number or too little time to scoop/clean them).

3. You can not afford to provide quality food (by this I mean "cat" food and not feeding them anything you can find) and clean water and change out said provisions on at least a daily basis.

4. You do not have enough living space to adequately house the cats AND YOU in a non-stressful and sanitary manner.... (i.e. IMO having 6-8 litter boxes per room in your house and having bowls out everywhere, leaving neither you nor the cats room to move around, or not having enough space for each cat to be able to "get away" is too much).

5. You do not have the time to adequately interact with EACH cat on a daily basis... This is where, IMO many people, even meeting the requirements above, would have to give some up... Realistically, if you had 80 cats, with just yourself to care for and interact with them, they would not get the individual attention that they needed and would most likely revert to being "feral" and unhandlable... And that, IMO is not an adequate situation for any domestic animal.

For me, I am at my MAX at the moment with just 3... chiefly due to the high cost of, mostly unexpected, vet bills... Who knew I'd have a cat with a heart condition, seizures, allergies, and a recent UTI and that the two kittens I adopted would have continuous ear/eye infections and now one also has a UTI? For me, the financial part is so key...I thought I'd have plenty of money (and some to spare) for routine medical care, food, litter, toys, etc. But now I find that I am skimping on things just to pay the vet bills....

I can only imagine the unexpected vet bills for 80 cats!

Art
post #9 of 13
I guestimate annual expenses about $700 per cat, with first-year costs double that. And that's healthy cats. So it's inconceivable to me that an average person on an average income could actually have that many cats. There would have to be something seriously wrong with the cats, or with the person, or with both.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by artgecko View Post
5. You do not have the time to adequately interact with EACH cat on a daily basis... This is where, IMO many people, even meeting the requirements above, would have to give some up... Realistically, if you had 80 cats, with just yourself to care for and interact with them, they would not get the individual attention that they needed and would most likely revert to being "feral" and unhandlable... And that, IMO is not an adequate situation for any domestic animal.
Art, I'm with you on this. I've known people who have cats living in various rooms of their house with no interaction unless someone makes the time to go in and visit with them. I just can't wrap my head around it, unless we're talking very unsocialized ferals. Even then, it still seems like a very sad, lonely, boring life. Before they were ever trapped, ferals would have at least had plenty of stimuli in their day-to-day lives.

catsknowme, I'm glad you elaborated on your situation. Unfortunately, it's a reality that often gets overlooked or ignored. Your friend is doing the best that she can, and that's more than most would/could do.

If you don't mind me asking, why might your adult ferals have to be PTS?
post #11 of 13
'Tis hard to put a number on how many is too many. Even if you could keep up with the litter trays etc. there is a point where there simply isn't enough space for each cat. They don't generally like living in crowded conditions, fights happen too often and it is stressful. Of course, if you lived in a mansion with a million rooms then 80 cats might be OK, but in an ordinary house? Too many IMO.
post #12 of 13
We have 13 adult cats. 3 of these are pets, 9 are breeders and 1 is half asian leopard.

The pets live in our home. For the most part the breeders live in the cattery.

In addition we have varying numbers of kittens through-out the year.

My wife is not employed outside the home, so she dedicates her time to caring for the cats. It is basically a full time job. She puts in a minimum of 8 hours per day, 7 days a week.

No one who has a regular full time job would be able to manage this many cats properly.

So how many is too many? It depends a great deal on circumstances and I agree with what most have posted so far. I think it's really important that all the cats get playtime and interaction. It's not enough to just clean up after them.
When caring for your cats becomes a dreaded chore, you've got too many.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boringjen View Post
f you don't mind me asking, why might your adult ferals have to be PTS?
Right now, I'm maxxed out and the majority of my cats are living at a 3rd house that is dilapidated. When I took on the cats, I was told that I would get S/N/V assistance for the ferals, but so far the program hasn't called. I have managed to get 6 taken care of so far, but one got his eye clawed and that has taken up what it would have cost for 3+ spays so far. He's getting quite tame, and is worth it, but the vet bills keep mounting.
So far, I've been able to hold on but unless I can get the S/N assistance for the others, the outlook is bleak at best. And I cannot allow them to start making babies They are around 7mos now. Plus, it's really tough keep that many boxes clean. If they get s/n, then I can let them be inside/outside cats (they have 10 acres to enjoy) and keep boxes outside,too.
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