My mom isn't remembering to feed her cats and denies/fights with me about it.

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She lives in an apartment inside my house, and is at the mild-moderate stage of Alzheimer's. She doesn't bathe much if at all, sleeps in her clothes, I have to sneak in on the one day she goes to the program I enrolled her in through Medicare (they take care of her medical issues and require at least 1 day at their center, and she grudgingly goes to that), and do her wash. When it's done, I have to put things back wadded up in the chair or wherever I found them, or she'll pitch a fit that I was in her apartment.

Now, she's started putting the bag of cat food in odd places (under a blanket in the closet?) and then the cats don't eat regularly. If I feed them when I come in (usually once a day), I have to brave my mom's yelling and trying to physically block me from feeding them or freshening their water bowls. She is in total denial that she has any serious deficits, and just stares blankly when I point out where I found the cat food and why it's important that she let me help her with her cats. She spits out the nastiest bullsh*t you can imagine when I say this. It's unbelievable.

She has 2 cats, one is very elderly, and I cannot take them in (I have 3 of my own, and they pee all over in protest if I bring in strange cats - I've tried) and they'll be put down immediately if I take them to a shelter around here. My mom would also be truly, deeply heart-broken if I took her cats away.

SO... I just needed to vent. I need to wear her down on my filling their bowls when I come in (I will go in every day now that I've seen that she can't even keep track of where the bag of food is), and I'll just have to deal with the yelling and nastiness in the meantime. I am so tired of her being awful about any assistance whatsoever. I just hate even looking at her sometimes, I'm so tired of it, and I know it's only going to get worse. I only hope that she becomes less aware of being helped as her memory and confusion get worse - if she remains as paranoid and ready to pounce on ANY sign that she's being treated differently, I don't know what I - or any caretaker - will do.

Rant over... thanks for listening.


laurie, you are doing the right thing. Some things we can let roll past us, but feeding the animals is not one. I know the cats appreciate you. Your mother will just have to get upset. I am so glad you are looking out for them.
Hi Laurie,
You have your hands full there. I applaud you for doing all you do! I take it the cats don't go out at all or you could keep food and water outside for them. I hear you about cats peeing in protest. My one does that if we don't let him out. I hate letting him go out but what choice do we have? Other than that he is an awesome cat - so loving and sweet. ANYHOO- just really wanted to say I heard your rant and feel for ya! (((hugs)))
don't even get me started here. :/ Grrrrrr...
If your mother is like THIS and she is only mild to moderate alz, IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE. How is her health? Pretty good? SHE GOING TO LIVE FOR A DECADE OR TWO? So, how long were you planning to let her live in your place and you be miserable?

If I begin to talk about the cats I will absolutely LOSE IT. Frankly I'd call the ASPCA on her. She shouldn't be allowed them.
Those poor cats!!!!
Ok there is something I do not understand here. You are taking care of your mom. She lives in an apt in your home. So what if she doesn't want you in her apt.? You have every right to be in there. Ignore her vile words. They're only words. If she is getting physical you need to get that under control before someone gets hurt. I'm a "take no prisoners" type of gal and not for one minute would I put up with that crap. Just because your mom has AD doesn't mean bad behavior should be tolerated. There are just some things, like your safety and sanity, that you shouldn't ignore. (I loved my dad immensely (had AD),but I wouldn't have put up with this behavior, not even from him.) it sounds like you're a prisoner in your own home. My heart goes out to you for helping your mom on this journey neither one of you chose. You need to find some ways to help yourself not feel so frustrated.
The only suggestion I can offer is to tell her you are going to make sure those cats are fed or she will not be entitled to have them. Given those two options, your mother hopefully will allow you to make sure those cats are cared for. Who cleans the cat litter boxes? Pets have a right to proper care. Alzheimer's does not trump an animals welfare. Sounds like your mother's care is becoming more than you can handle. Your concern for the cats and your mother shows you are a kind and generous person. Be kind and generous to yourself also! Maybe it is time for a more secure placement for your mother.
Laurie, As I fellow cat lover I understand everything you stated. I'm sure she loves her cats but her illness has overcome her memory and judgement and you are the only thing she can lash out at in frustration. I don't suppose she would agree (or has the capability to agree) to both of you setting a time to feed and care for the cats together. That way, you know it was done and she retains some control. She might be hiding the food b/c in her mind she is feeding them and you are interfering so i fyou can't find the food...
One other possible solution. If I understand you correctly, you have a house. Do you have a yard? There is a product called purrfect fence (and there are other versions of this fencing and some sights that tell you how to make your own. This fence (made of deer fence netting) will let her cats and your cats in the yard but unable to escape from the yard (they can exit and enter thru a door or windor or any other opening from your house. That might help let the cats out release some stress among both the cats and the people. And you can leave fresh water and feed them out there where she won't be so focused on wha tyou are doing.
You are venting and that is healthy. You didn't ask for advice, but I think you've gotten some good stuff.

Take the cat food out of Mom's apartment. Go in with it once a day and ask if she'd like to feed the cats or if you should do it. Be firm. Let her rant. She can't help it.

PamelaSue is right. The dementia will get worse. But not necessarily this particular symptom. That may drop out entirely. My husband was paranoid for several months early on, but then not again. Dementia is a very difficult disease to predict.

If you can establish a new routine for caring for the cats, that may help. Perhaps later you can establish a laundry routine. But one thing at a time, and the cats come first.

Hi, Everyone.
Thanks for your feedback. I was just ranting, but the comments have been helpful overall. I bought her more cat food yesterday, and kept a big bag for myself, which I can use if I see on my daily visits that she's out of food or has misplaced the boxes I got her - that way the cats will have no gap in feedings.

Last night when I went to visit her (she comes up to my part of the house for her morning pills), there was very little water in one bowl (I refilled it and ignored her "I can DO that!!!" comments over my shoulder) and there was food in the 2 dry food bowls. I had to make her stop using canned food, because she left the cans under inverted coffee mugs on her sink, and they made the house smell like low tide. She denied doing that, and pitches a fit at the grocery store when I won't let her get canned food, but I have stood firm.

You're right about my having to just ignore her commentary, and the cats' health must come first. That was always my point of view - I love animals much more than people! :-D She cleans their litter box pretty well, and I give it a complete empty-out and refill on Tuesdays, her day at the senior center. She never notices the purge has occurred (or that her refrigerator, bathroom, and kitchen are cleaned once a week). Before she was gone for that one day a week, I couldn't do any of it without pissing her off and a big fight ensuing.

Over time, she'll go to the center more days a week (based on their doctor's ongoing evaluation) and if we need home helpers, they send them in, too. It's a pretty good arrangement, but they do expect the family to take care of bathing issues, which is a problem (or is now) because mom won't admit she doesn't bathe very often. I hope by the time she totally stops, that she'll be less militant about getting help and I can turn on the shower, hold her robe out and say "Get in!" We don't have a close, girl-friends kind of relationship (and never did), so I may have to ask for help on that one from the place that's taken over her medical care. I think they "get" our situation here and will play ball and understand that while I'm here and could physically bathe her (when that time comes in her continuing slide), the fighting makes it better that a paid caregiver do it, someone whose feelings she knows she can't play with.

ANYWAY... thanks again for the support, everyone!

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