In northeast Philadelphia there is a sign on a fence outside of a home that reads, “I’m the crazy cat lady. And this is the crazy cat house.”
I consider myself (and so do many others) to be a Crazy Cat Lady, and I wear this badge with honor. But unlike the woman living in this Philly home, I do not share my abode with 260 cats, nor does my house smell like a giant cat urinal. I believe there is an important distinction between a healthy and unhealthy level of “cat craziness” – and when the cats’ or owners’ health is in jeopardy, there’s a problem.
Unfortunately, the crazy cat house became too much for her neighbors and the authorities were alerted to the rapidly deteriorating conditions of the woman’s home. The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that officials had been working with the owner of the northeast Philadelphia property, who actually had a license to run an animal shelter for several weeks, but finally the 260 cats had to be removed by officers wearing respirators. It took an entire day to capture all of the cats and transport them to SPCA’s north Philadelphia shelter, where veterinarians examined them.
The elderly woman, who was not identified, said she started a non-profit shelter called Animals in Crisis in 2002 in response to the great number of homeless cats in Philadelphia. However, over the years she claimed she became overwhelmed and unable to care for so many cats.
“This is a sad situation involving a woman who wanted to help animals but got in over her head and couldn’t provide the care this number of cats requires,” said CEO Jerry Buckley of PetSmart Charities who was providing some of the resources needed to handle the influx of so many cats at one time to the Philadelphia SPCA. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure the wellbeing of these cats.”
Recently, the PSPCA announced that their investigation of Animals in Crisis is still ongoing but they will likely file charges against the woman in the near future. All of the cats are healthy enough to go to new homes have been put up for adoption.
Next page – videos examining the psychology and stories of pet hoarders