By Priscella King
This article was written partly in response to another AC article on pet hoarding, in which my friend Juniper raised the question of whether readers think I'm a pet hoarder. I am, after all, living in an old house in the Blue Ridge Mountains with a lot of cats. I commented that the main difference between me and a pet hoarder is that I'm not old enough to have Alzheimer's Disease. Then I signed off for the night.
Then I woke up thinking that these comments may have passed too lightly over a real concern for somebody out there. If a 70-year-old chooses to share her or his home with ten or fifteen cats, is that behavior a healthy, public-spirited animal rescue project, or the early stages of a senile, demented condition that will harm the human, the cats, and the neighborhood affected? How can you tell ("you" being either the 70-year-old or a concerned relative), and what can you do?
During the past 25 years, I've supported my writing habit with a wide variety of skilled and unskilled odd jobs. Most long-term clients have been elderly or disabled or both. I've had a lot of opportunities to observe the aging process, even been certified as a Geriatric Nursing Assistant. Based on this experience, here are ten suggestions for those who may be concerned about "crazy cat lady syndrome." (There are also crazy dog people, crazy pigeon ladies, crazy squirrel or wildlife lovers...it seems to be the same general pattern.)..." More