When does it become too many cats?

bshcatlover

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I may be opening a can of worms with this one, but I thought it would be an interesting topic. How many cats is too many?

I just saw this video for a new series on National Geographic Wild called "The Lady with 700 Cats" premiering July 30th, and I just can't help but think "Is that sanitary?"

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/...-on-earth.html

I mean, don't get me wrong, I appreciate what she's doing and I'm sure she is helping a lot of cats... but 700?! How do you control the spread of disease and illness, I'm sure she and her staff can't visibly inspect every cat each day... It just seems a little excessive to me.

We were taught in school that cats are solitary creatures and generally don't like to live together (unless they are from the same litter), so you have to make sure that they can avoid each other at all times and that they can access everything they need (e.g. food, water, outside, litter, bed) without having to pass one another. Being forced to live in close proximity to cats they do not get along with can be very stressful. Now, having said that, I myself have two cats not from the same litter, so that's not what I'm trying to argue, but 700?!
 

odiakkoh

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So about 66 cats an acre and 26 people watching over them.

I unno, cats are generally pretty low maintenance animals. For accepting all cats and being a no kill, I don't think you could realistically ask for something better.

And tell my cat(s) that they're solitary creatures lol. Mine wont leave me alone even for a bathroom break
 

carolina

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I don't agree that cats are solitary creatures unless from the same litter.... My cats are not, at least... Lucky and Hope for example can be found together at ALL times - like they were born joint at the hips. Only...... they were not.
Before Hope came into the Picture, it was Bugsy and Lucky. Then Bugsy became "my" cat, and Hope and Lucky, a pair. Lucky and Bugsy still play catch though, and Bugsy is very much loving with her - is often found grooming her, given the opportunity.
As much as Gracie, my Senior and latest rescue hates other cats, Bugsy can't have enough of her either
and if it was his choice, they would be best buddies.
IMHO, you cross the line when you no longer can properly provide for them - being food, space vet care and attention. If you have all that, I see no specific number. I am on my limit - with Bugsy's VERY high vet bills and all my work traveling, which takes a lot of my money with pet sitter (mostly live in, as I just can't leave them behind without love, attention and proper care
), I simply can not afford more than that. There are people here who live in much smaller spaces with many more cats than I have, offering them a wonderfully rich life.
I find hard to believe that any one person is capable, or financially fit to support the demands of 700 cats though. That IMHO, has crossed the line into hoarding - unless she is a millionaire living in a farm.... Then I have nothing more to say


EDIT: Ok, IMHO the original post is not really describing this situation - so, to anyone who will post on this thread, I urge to watch the video
- This is a Rescue! This is a great place IMHO - they have 12 acres of land, vets/veterinary hospital fully capable of performing not only small duties, but surgeries as well, a nursery, an ICU, and even a retirement place dedicated only for the seniors. On the top of it, 25 full time employees, the place looks very clean, the cats did not look at the least stressed out, in the video she was seen doing TNR, and serving good quality wet and dry food.
This is a completely different situation from what the OP gave the understanding to be IMHO. This is not a woman who "owns" 700 cats - it is a woman who runs the largest rescue place in the World IMHO, Thank God for her - because of her, 700 cats that would most likely be dead, are alive.
 

resqchick

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Originally Posted by Carolina

I don't agree that cats are solitary creatures unless from the same litter.... My cats are not, at least... Lucky and Hope for example can be found together at ALL times - like they were born joint at the hips. Only...... they were not.
Before Hope came into the Picture, it was Bugsy and Lucky. Then Bugsy became "my" cat, and Hope and Lucky, a pair. Lucky and Bugsy still play catch though, and Bugsy is very much loving with her - is often found grooming her, given the opportunity.
As much as Gracie, my Senior and latest rescue hates other cats, Bugsy can't have enough of her either
and if it was his choice, they would be best buddies.
IMHO, you cross the line when you no longer can properly provide for them - being food, space vet care and attention. If you have all that, I see no specific number. I am on my limit - with Bugsy's VERY high vet bills and all my work traveling, which takes a lot of my money with pet sitter (mostly live in, as I just can't leave them behind without love, attention and proper care
), I simply can not afford more than that. There are people here who live in much smaller spaces with many more cats than I have, offering them a wonderfully rich life.
I find hard to believe that any one person is capable, or financially fit to support the demands of 700 cats though. That IMHO, has crossed the line into hoarding - unless she is a millionaire living in a farm.... Then I have nothing more to say


EDIT: Ok, IMHO the original post is not really describing this situation - so, to anyone who will post on this thread, I urge to watch the video
- This is a Rescue! This is a great place IMHO - they have 12 acres of land, vets/veterinary hospital fully capable of performing not only small duties, but surgeries as well, a nursery, an ICU, and even a retirement place dedicated only for the seniors. On the top of it, 25 full time employees, the place looks very clean, the cats did not look at the least stressed out, in the video she was seen doing TNR, and serving good quality wet and dry food.
This is a completely different situation from what the OP gave the understanding to be IMHO. This is not a woman who "owns" 700 cats - it is a woman who runs the largest rescue place in the World IMHO, Thank God for her - because of her, 700 cats that would most likely be dead, are alive.
How many pounds of kitty litter do you suppose she goes through? Who scoops it? I'm kidding of course. If cats are well taken care of, there isn't drippy eyes and scratched up kitties, I think it's great that someone cares that much. All rescues need volunteers, they are what makes a rescue organization work, I'm sure there are people on every shift taking care of those kitties.
I'm going to watch the video once I fully wake up.
 
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bshcatlover

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I agree that she is doing a wonderful thing, but at the same time, 700 cats may be overwhelming, even for a staff of 25.

I mean, are the FelV/FIV positive cats kept separate from those which are negative? How do they enforce parasite control? What about cats with special needs diets (I only have 2 cats and I can't stop them from getting into eachothers food)? And there is definitely no way you can stop cats from fighting amongst themselves. I think there comes a point when the quality of care should come before the quantity of care you can provide.

Here's another video:

In my honest opinion, it kind of seems like she is using the rescue as a cover or front for her 'hoarder-ism'. Just my opinion though.
 

aprilyim

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The video above which you posted states how she confines and isolates and treats cats that have diseases.

A hoarder is someone who cannot provide for her cats but keeps them at their own expense - the cats' and the hoarder's. It is a terrible thing but I don't think it applies to this sanctuary or woman, Lynea Lattanzio.

She trades adoptable cats to shelters for "un-adoptable" cats (traumatized, old, etc.)

These cats can live their whole lives here safe and free from abuse, have plenty of shelter, friends, and fresh food and water. Doesn't sound like they are getting hoarded to me.

It seems to me that you are balking at the idea from your personal experience and the sheer number of cats. But she looks like she has things under control and if she didn't she wouldn't have been featured on "Animal Planet." Imagine the chaos if it was found out that she were mistreating or neglecting any of the animals!
 

ducman69

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Usually with hoarding, the conditions are horrible, and this is clearly very functional and well thought out.

It is true cats are not adapted to live in large colonies though, that is biological fact. Their immune systems are much weaker than pack animals like dogs for example, as historically in nature (not counting dumpsters behind restaurants and the like) they typically would have minimal interaction and would defend their territory due to limited food supply.

Looking at the video though, 700 is excessive, but I think its based on the simple reality of having the best intention of not making the difficult decision to accept euthanization there or in other facilities and accepting more cats even when they're clearly past a reasonable capacity. That's not hoarding IMO, that's just having a heart of gold, but without the steel to cope with painful but necessary decisions for the good of the majority. Unfortunately, I think if you check back in five and then ten years, the number of cats still will not have stabilized and the venture will prove a failure. You just can't save ALL cats, and she needs to pick a stable number say 250 and do what's needed to ensure the facility remains close to that without being overrun.
 

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Oh piffles. That's only 27 cats per caretaker. You really think someone can't manage to pay attention to, clean up after, check the health of, and look after the needs of 27 cats in an 8-hour shift? I don't think they're overextended at all. They appear to be doing quite well.

And I don't think cats are solitary either. They may not be pack/herd animals, but they definitely enjoy having other cats around (other than one who has been raised alone and doesn't know how to be around other cats) and living in a group is not necessarily stressful. The more I have, the more contented my cats are, the better they get along, the less they fight. I suppose this is because the attention is spread around, so there isn't the one-on-one tension that can occur in smaller group---if one cat is a bully, she picks on each cat occasionally, instead of picking on one cat all the time. I have even taken in "only cats" who have never lived with other cats, and they settled in nicely and seem to enjoy being in a large group.

It's too many cats if you can't afford to take care of them: If they aren't spayed/neutered (unless they're part of a well-run breeding program). If you can't/won't get vet care for those that need it. If you can't buy (at least) a brand-name food, enough for all of them. If you can't keep the house and litterboxes reasonably clean. If you can't keep up on de-parasitizing. If you can't keep cats who hate each other separated. If you can't give each on individual attention when they want it.

If you can do all those things, there's no such thing as "too many". If you can't do all those things for one cat (and I know plenty who can't!), then one cat is too many.
 

ldg

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Originally Posted by Willowy

Oh piffles. That's only 27 cats per caretaker. You really think someone can't manage to pay attention to, clean up after, check the health of, and look after the needs of 27 cats in an 8-hour shift? I don't think they're overextended at all. They appear to be doing quite well.

And I don't think cats are solitary either. They may not be pack/herd animals, but they definitely enjoy having other cats around (other than one who has been raised alone and doesn't know how to be around other cats) and living in a group is not necessarily stressful. The more I have, the more contented my cats are, the better they get along, the less they fight. I suppose this is because the attention is spread around, so there isn't the one-on-one tension that can occur in smaller group---if one cat is a bully, she picks on each cat occasionally, instead of picking on one cat all the time. I have even taken in "only cats" who have never lived with other cats, and they settled in nicely and seem to enjoy being in a large group.

It's too many cats if you can't afford to take care of them: If they aren't spayed/neutered (unless they're part of a well-run breeding program). If you can't/won't get vet care for those that need it. If you can't buy (at least) a brand-name food, enough for all of them. If you can't keep the house and litterboxes reasonably clean. If you can't keep up on de-parasitizing. If you can't keep cats who hate each other separated. If you can't give each on individual attention when they want it.

If you can do all those things, there's no such thing as "too many". If you can't do all those things for one cat (and I know plenty who can't!), then one cat is too many.
 

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That woman is awesome!!! She has a big heart and is able to delegate and get things done in an organized manner. Lucky kitties and doggies! Shes my new hero!
 

resqchick

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I really liked how healthy and happy the cats look. It seems like a good place for unplaceable cats.

She's really dedicated her whole life to them, but look at the love they give her.


I want to visit! All that kitty love.
 

denice

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From what I see in the video I don't think there is a problem. The cats look healthy, get vet care including spay/neuter, and the buildings look clean. It's not the best situation, the best situation is every cat has a loving caring home, but unfortunately there is a need for places like this. There needs to be more rescues and sanctuaries like this. I know it takes a lot of money to keep a place like this running. Hopefully in this bad economy her funding doesn't dry up.
 

luvmyparker

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They have a website and if you look through it, you'll see that she runs this place perfectly.

All new cats get standard tests, vaccines, flea treatment and are spayed/neutered immediately. Ill cats have their own space, as do cats that don't get along with others. They have free run of the 12 acres (which is completely fenced with chicken wire above and below it), both inside and outside of the home. She says the home is cleaned and disinfected with bleach daily, the yard is raked and litter boxes cleaned.

So despite the large number of cats, they seem more than capable of providing no less than the best of care for ALL of the animals. Dogs too. I think it is amazing, what she does. I would love to volunteer for someone like that. God bless her little heart.
 

ducman69

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I do have a feeling that the 12 acres comment is misleading. You are unlikely to see cats dispersed evenly sitting out in an empty 12 acre field.

Most likely the cats are crammed together taking up every corner of the building and the larger nearby trees, and likely rarely venture out into the big wide open field which would make most cats feel vulnerable. So what you really have are 700 cats squished together in a building, but at least they are cage free unlike the dogs and she seems very organized.
 

Willowy

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Most tame cats have no problem with wide-open spaces. Probably they have things set up to make the cats feel more comfortable anyway (climbing things, benches, etc.).
 

luvmyparker

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Originally Posted by Ducman69

I do have a feeling that the 12 acres comment is misleading. You are unlikely to see cats dispersed evenly sitting out in an empty 12 acre field.

Most likely the cats are crammed together taking up every corner of the building and the larger nearby trees, and likely rarely venture out into the big wide open field which would make most cats feel vulnerable. So what you really have are 700 cats squished together in a building, but at least they are cage free unlike the dogs and she seems very organized.
I watched a few more videos about this rescue. Can't say all 700 some odd cats were all inside, lol. They're scattered everywhere! The property has areas for certain kitties too. A huge fenced off area with a few buildings, trees and things for FIV cats. A seniors section, a boarding section, a kitten section. Its amazing really. It many videos, you can see cats scattered over a large part of the yard.

However, if they choose to all congregate in the house, that is their doing. They have cat doors in almost every room to come and go as they please.

They even have a live cam on their site. It's pretty cool.
 

cat person

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Originally Posted by Meowers

I wouldnt want to care for 700 cats, but shes saving alot of kittie lives!
I very very much agree. I have worked with that many cats in no kill shelters and trust me that is a lot of cats
. Way way way more then I would ever want personally.

But anyway I feel a person has too many cats when they can not afford to care for there basic needs (food. water, and clean litter) and/or when the person no longer enjoys caring for the cats!
 

carolina

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Originally Posted by Cat Person

I very very much agree. I have worked with that many cats in no kill shelters and trust me that is a lot of cats
. Way way way more then I would ever want personally.
Really?! Where is this gigantic shelter? Because if this woman's sanctuary is the biggest not only in America, but in the World (with 12 acres of land!!!), I am very curious now to to know about a no kill shelter that supports such capacity - let alone dogs and other animals! Can you please give us a link of this amazing shelter?
 
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