How NOT to 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 job 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 or men, who take in cats, but 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.

Responsible rescuers are careful not to add to the problem of over-population. Spaying and neutering of all cats under their care becomes top priority.

In a crazy cat lady?s house, a typical scene could be piles of junk in the hallways and rooms, overflowing litter pans. The stench of so many untended animals along with the smell of decomposing animals (also quite common) is unbelievably rank. There is no honor here, only sadness, sickness and death.

In a responsible cat rescuer?s home, you will find well-cared for animals, scooped and cleaned litter pans and no strong, unpleasant odors.

Ill-informed people often throw the phrase, ?Crazy Cat Lady? around with little regard to what the term really means. Here are some ways you can avoid being called a ?Crazy Cat Lady,? these tips offered by responsible rescuers:

Louise Holton, founder of Alley Cat Rescue in Maryland:

? Rescue responsibly. Know and set your limits financially. If you can?t spay and neuter the animals under your care. You aren?t doing that animal any favors.

? Raise money effectively for your cause. When you work with cats who society has abandoned, the work can keep you in the poor house. ?You are not asking for money for you.? It is for the cats, to afford them the level of care they deserve and need.

? All rescuers should network with each other. Be there to support one another and take over when the load becomes too heavy. The internet is a great way to start a network. ?I would love to see a Nationwide network team of rescuers formed, covering every state.?

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 ( Cat Wrangling Made Easy) offers her thoughts:

? Learn to say ?NO! You can?t save them all, even if you want to. Keep a list of resources near your phone. Cat Behaviorists, Shelters, low-cost spay and neuter clinics.

? Don?t accept the guilt-trip someone is handing you as they try and pass off a cat or kittens into your care. It?s not your fault the cat is being abandoned.

? Establish a good relationship with a vet

? NEVER name the foster kittens. ?Naming them allows you to get more involved with the kittens,? Dusty explains. ?Leave it to the permanent family to name the kitties. Numbering them, or calling them by color enables you to keep your distance. Once you name them, you are sunk.?

? Work with rescue groups in your area. Establish communication with other cat people in the area. Where one can?t take a rescue, perhaps another can.

Across the world in Australia, an authorized RSPCA foster parent Tania Waterhouse suggests the following tips:

? Keep on top of litter box patrol. When you live in a multi-cat home, you need one pan for every cat. That?s a lot of scooping for you. So keep the litter pans clean at all times. Don?t let the smell rule your home.

? Don?t be a hermit. Don?t get caught up in the cats? needs and forget your own. Take time to be with friends, go shopping (not just for cat food!) Read a book, go for a walk. Just get away from the responsibility for small stretches at a time.

? Know your limit. Know when to say ?NO!? It?s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when the need is great. If you have to say to yourself ?What?s one more cat?? You are headed for trouble.

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.

10 thoughts on “How NOT to be a Crazy Cat Lady

  1. i have a question.

    since november i have been seeing two adult white cats ,which i had neutured, and this week i was stunned to find out ,1 looks identical to her sister,brother, who i did not neuture.
    They came on separate times, first one and left and tehn came back (i thought), but they all come closer now towards the feeding bowls near me. and there they were ,sitting, beside each other.
    I am pretty sure the one with the lighter ears i neutured but still could be wrong. i am just afraid i bring the one i neutured back to the vet.
    so funny
    did you ever have that happening to you and did you neutre her.
    i hate the thought she gets operated on again
    She or he must have been the one i heard crying and there is still an unneutured male? (house cat??)

  2. Carla,

    Ask your vet from now on when he neuters or spays, to ear tip the left ear tip of the cat. They do it while the cat is under, just take off the bare minimun of the tip of the ear and it makes for easy identification later. It doesn’t bother the cat because they only take off the bare tip, like a notch.

  3. thanks

    i will do that, normaly the animal society does too , but i did privately, but i think be best ,if ever they moved the street for whatever reason ,at least someone else will know, and not be like me having to go out wondering if anyone owns them.


  4. do you have any suggestions for me????????????
    trying to find out if a black cat with white socks is owned, as nobody in the street is even bothered telling me what colour black a cat is from a lady who seems to have 3 cats.
    I had 2 cats in the trap yesterday, (knowing htey are most likely stray)
    had to let them go as somebody may own them and they could be sued.
    (they will most likely get litters, and it will cost them more to drive up and down to catch the kittens (i will not catch new kittens as i did not get help)
    so they will make more litters.
    the black cat is not neutured but 100% could be owned, a black cat a lady owns with white.
    the people who asked me to help them live across the street from this lady and they also do not be bothered asking her.
    i am ther now for the last week getting taxi’s to catch a remaining female and if hse is owned well htey will have to pick her up to prove they are the owners

    that should be fun
    i go to make a picture of the cat and hang notes in the daycare centre of the churh and the playschool in hte church is going to hang a note
    They live across from this lady i heard (the friends) but do not bother asking and me sititng there day on end
    I hve to go back to catch a cat i neutured to make sure he is oke as he lost weight, most likely due to otehr cats eating the food the ladies put there.
    i feed him now at evening
    jsut so frustrating that a lady has the clue and nobody bothers to ask
    would save me getting taxis and go shopping for achange or a nice walk
    but all i do is sitting in the church ground with traps seeing the cats go in and i can neuture them as they can be owned, who owns them nobody knows
    They will all come running for me to get rid of kitty cats born in gardens
    but my door will be closed
    they could be sued the animal society if i did neuture them, but how are you picking up a house cat who will scrathc the eyes out of your face
    the owner who feeds them, IS THE OWNER OF THE CAT that woudl be ME
    CCTV camera’s in the church ground I CAN PROVE I FEED THEM

    would you go ahead and do it neuturing but females have stitches if go home to the people who own them
    i still think i go to neuture the black and white one i am sure she is not going to look at a certain place

    she be thanking me for it unless i give her al lthe kitty cats

  5. I think in your area because it is common to let pet cats outside, you may never know if the cat is owned or not. If the cat is scruffy, coat unkempt, oily, in bad shape all around then it is likely the cat is neglected, lost or tossed out and un-owned. Trapping so public has its hazards, so yes, it is likely that you might be sued by an owner (doubtful, but likely) If I am trapping and a tomcat wanders into the trap, I neuter him. The females it depends on their shape and if they are actively nursing or not. But I never let people know that I am trapping or where as they can be unkind to the cats and even to me. I try to stay low-key and fly under the radar and I have in the past neutered a neighbor’s cat (intentionally) because he was such a nuisance of a tom. He ended up living with us for years before some low-life shot him through the chest with an arrow and he died in our garage. 🙁

  6. hi

    in that area no hiding places for me, and the church has cctv camera ,which did not bother me ,as i went into the daycentre belonging to the church ,and they all said, nobody owns them, and please NEUTURE THE CAT
    i left promising a lady to sent her cat to the vet.
    YES ,hte cats are indeed owned, all of them , 7 cats, the lady has

    go to see her tomorrow ,as i had left my number wiht her neighbour,
    she works for rehab , and i am off to schotland with rehab on wedinesday seeing nessie, and than tomorrow i get the missing clues about the cats
    see the cats too ,at 4 , and hopefully they are coming purring as it is possible she just feeds them. all neutured!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    most likely sparky is hers too but he was not neutured

    if only i had known it 2 months ago

    i feel sorry for your cat

  7. hi

    if owners had to be found first, even though you knew there were no owners,
    and you brought back a microchipped kitten ,which you wanted to make a little bit more tame (just picking it up and cudlling it) to gardens just in case it had owners.
    and a state body or company put traps down and the microchipped kitten, which you have a house for but HAVE to wait to see if an owner is found, and if it entered the trap playing with house cats in certain grounds and fields of this state body ,who does not like cats wandering it’s property ,public property where kids go too, could they if it wandered into a trap on this public grounds, still put it down if trapped????????????
    even though it has a name on the microchip.
    could they put it down.
    i was told owners have to be found first???and now there is a possibility that everyone’s cat who enters the grounds may be trapped and maybe even , not sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, put down.
    just in case they were
    which means that if i had a cat coming into my grounds i could just bring it to a vet and put it down ,even if microchipped, so is tehre any point microchipping a CAT

  8. Of course there is a point in microchipping a cat or kitten. Once you have the chip placed in the animal, it is up to you to keep the registration office apprised of your current address. Once an animal is lost and then scanned at a vet’s office, you will be called that the cat has been found. If someone loves a cat enough to microchip it, they will pick up the cat as soon as possible to get it back home. If they have moved and left no forwarding, yes, then it is entirely possible that the cat will be put down.

  9. hi

    do small cat traps work on adult cats
    i may have ordered the wrong size .
    they had two sizes can adult cats get hurt in small traps

  10. Here in the states they have two sizes of traps for cats, kitten traps and cat traps. Many times, I have had adult cats go inside kitten traps. Although uncomfortable, it is just what happens.

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