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My mother is 92 years old with major short-term memory loss and other dementia issues. She didn't really like cats when I was young, then in her 80s or so took a liking to them. For a while she had 3-4 cats, and did very well with their feeding, vet visits, and other needs. It seemed as she approached her late 80s and the dementia set in, she believed that having the routines with the cats is what kept her going. Using that sort of logic, she attracted stray cats into the yard by putting copious amounts of canned and other food out. By the time I arrived to help look after my mother's needs, there were at least ten cats. She was not getting them fixed or vaccinated and took no steps to control fleas or worms. They were inbreeding and rapidly expanding in population. It was out of control and when I tried to discuss with her to take steps (trap/neuter/release, etc) to get a handle on the situation, she shrieked loudly that I was trying to kill her. Someone heard that and called the police...who saw the situation and had animal control come remove the cats. It is simply impossible and has been for years to have any reasonable discussion with her. The animal control folks asked if I thought she should keep any. I suggested that the three cats who had lived in the house and were more domesticated and attached should stay and I would take good care of them. When they asked my mother, she said "just get rid of all of them" out of stubbornness. Which they did. By the end of that eventful day, she had forgotten the police were there. I went and rescued the three from the pound and brought them back. One got sick, and had diarrhea all over. My mother did not even notice. When I told her he needed help, she said "tough...cats die". I took it to the vet and after a few days there pulled through. So, that was in 2013. I am quite attached to the three cats and have kept them indoors, flea and worm free, give them good company, etc. It has been a constant struggle since 2013 to keep her from repeating the situation. Every day she puts food (people food...I took over all the cat food and keep it locked up) outside, and makes little shelters for cats in hope that a cat will have kittens etc. I am not against cats. I fell in love with those three and consider them mine. I have volunteered at cat rescue shelters. I have had to put extra locks on the garage and stuff as preventative measure. My problem leading to my question is that I am feeling like I have to be here almost all of the time to keep the flood of cats from coming back, and after three years it is getting really tiring. The animal control said if they have to come back all the cats are going and I will not be allowed to bring those three back. The animal rights type people in this urban area cannot take many cats in. Even if they take all cats my mother will actively attract more if she can. She wails that I have ruined her life because I try to control it. Anyone else have to deal with pet hoarding?

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Think of the welfare of the cats, please.
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Thanks for the responses. Yes, correct, I am staying in a room in her house. I retired from firefighting far from here in 2010 and just happened to be around when it turned out she needed help. Also correct on a home for the cats...I have already decided if/when I go they go with me, and if a good home was available I would put them there for their own good. (This sounds horrible but I was so frustrated once I said I should put her in a home somewhere and keep the cats). The situation with their welfare seems stable for a long time now as long as I look after them, but after what had happened I worry alot for them. Anyway, the issue is keeping her from "connecting" with more of them, which she will diligently persist in doing. She is pretty hooked on cats, she already had bird feeders and squirrels up in her avocado tree. It is crazy, like a test that was devised for me. I can put up with all sorts of abuse from her and odd habits I need to clean up after; but the cats hit in a weak spot because obviously they don't need to suffer.
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It sounds as if you live in the house with your mom. Is that right? If so, then I would get ALL cats off of the property. With her obsession and dementia which can cause obsession and lack of judgment, having cats around her may only cause her obsession to linger. Even though it's a sacrifice, I would put the animals welfare first. Plus, it's often stressful for pets to me in the home with someone who has advanced dementia. The animals sense the obsession and it can cause them undue stress. I have seen that happen first hand.

Once you get rid of all cats, it might be easier to distract her from the idea of cats. Focus on birdseed or nuts for squirrels. Something she can't get into the house.

It's often not possible to reason or negotiate with people who have her condition. I would take away anything she could bait the cats with. It sounds like she needs protection from her own behavior. If she persists, I'd report her to Animal Control.

Is she out of control with other areas of her life? She may need more restriction on when she goes outside and her activities if she's violating what the authorities have told her.
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I'm sorry, I don't have any advice but lots of sympathy. I had a aunt who was a dog hoarder - German Shepards to be specific. It wasn't as bad as it could have been as she had a large property, barn etc so at least they weren't all in the "house" - which really was a very large shed. My aunt could barely take care of herself but there was no dealing with her - mental issues including sevear paranoia. Eventual the sheriffs department went up - several officers escorting multiple animal control vehicles. It's was terribly sad and tragic - over 30 dogs. Several had to be shot because they attacked and were vicious, several were put down by the animal control people and the rest were taken and adopted out. The only bright spot was they quite a few of the young ones ended up being used/trained by that areas and others sheriffs department as police dogs. Now when I see a German Shepard police dog I always wonder if it's a relative.
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Can you take just the 3 cats that you like back to where you live? Then let animal control deal with your mom if she's trying to attract more cats? Has your mom been fined yet? That's probably the next step. I don't think a fine will deter your mom because of her dementia but it will keep animal control involved and that might be what your mom needs....someone to take control of this cat situation and fix it.

Or, try to get your mom interested in putting out nuts for the squirrels. Hang bird feeders. Get your mom distracted from the cats with something else.
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