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 When is it not just a quirk anymore?

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coldmodesty

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PostSubject: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:01 pm

I'm still rather new on the forum so please excuse me if I dont have my ranting privileges yet but I've been giving my mother a lecture for the last hour or so in my head. I don't want to actual lecture her but I want to get it out of my system.

My mother is strange and she as grown my stranger in the last 10 years. She had a rough childhood and an even worse young adulthood but her life got much better when she met my step father. He had a house, a new bright red convertable, a truck, an awesome job. We were used to slightly above poverty so this was a nice change. A couple years later my step-father came down with lukemia and during treatment had a stroke. Although he survived he has been slightly disabled physically and mentally ever since. He lost his job (assholes), his car, his truck, and they barely held on to the house. About two years after this my mother (who hated cats just a few years before) decides to start up a cat shelter rescuein the twenty some odd cats from next door (lady's husband died and she lost her mind and had to be institutionalized). The shelter was nice a first, a large shop/garage that my step-father had built a few years before was useless to him in his state so they converted it into a shelter for cats. It started out with about 50 cats and 5 in the house, only the ones that were really sick and needed constant supervision could live in the house. Each year since these numbers have steadily increased. Flash forward to today...

My mother is on vacation and my sister and I delivered her newspaper route and took care of the shelter while she enjoyed her vacation and watched my sisters son. My mother gave me a hand scribbled map of her route and figured since my sister delivered with her (bagged paper in the back) that she knew the routes. The routes usually take them 14 to 16 hours. So my sister and I got up at 4:30am to quickly feed the 80+ (they really dont know how many there are anymore!) and then delivered papers from 6:20 am till 2:30am on Wednesday this only includes bathroom breaks, a drive through the McDonald's drive-thru (which we ate between stops), and a Sheetz dinner that was eaten in the car before doing the last 4 hour route. My sister was expected to feed the cats after the route but I couldn't drive us back to the cat pit so we crashed at my house. This morning we went back to the cat pit where I cleaned the shelter that is seperate and did the cats at the house. Three hours later we were finally finished with the "daily morning routine". My sister points out that it usually only takes two hours with my mother, step-father, and her doing it... great. After which they all go to their normal jobs, just to come home in the evening and do the nightly routine.

Ok... there are over 30 cats living in the house at this point. Cat vomit, shit, and hair is permanently plastered on to every wall of the house, only slightly hidden by the fact that every wall is shredded from the ground about four feet up. The smell... you can't imagine. My mother and sister have had to get treatments for exposure to rabies and have repeatedly suffered from cat scratch fever and ring worm. They have no dish washer, clothes washer, or dryer because all have been repeatedly clogged with cat hair and my mother decided they didn't really need them. They have no central heat because my mother realized that running the fire place constantly along with several space heaters was cheaper and more "efficient". They have no hot water and have not for the last 6 weeks because the pipe cracked or something and my mom hasn't gotten to it yet. This will probably be the next thing to go. My poor sister had shampoo caked in her hair because she missed a spot when she was pouring the water she heated up on the stove over her head. You cannot cook anything without cat hair spices thrown in, nor can you eat it without being attacked for your food. When you say anything about this my mother rolls her eyes and points out that people are starving in Africa and that you should stop complaining, things could be worse... Quite frankly I can't do anything about the people in Africa and I don't see them weekly. But I do see my sister, my nephew, and my step-father living in absolute squawler fighting to survive against a pack of felines. No I'm really not exaggerating! No one has enough imagination to exaggerate this! She has gone from the silly phrase of "crazy cat lady" to attracting the attention of the men in white coats. I love my mother, she worked hard to raise me and my sister with no support from my spear doner father, but I seriously think she is losing her mind and I don't understand why she doesn't just stop, for god sake... for her own sake...

Ok, I think Im done... thanks for letting me rant... alot
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gaboman

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:51 pm

As someone who used to live in similar conditions (not completely out of choice, but I guess I could have always left) I know exactly where you're coming from. I don't know at which point people go over the edge and become 'crazy cat people', but the longer I live the more I'm convinced it's a real condition that affects people who had difficult lives. Why? I'm not sure, but I have honestly tried to change a couple of people who have been affected by this condition and usually just leads to estrangement.

Sucks about your step father, that's just bad benefits on the part of the government out there man. You'd think they'd be able to look out for stroke victims, but seems not.

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Whidden

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:19 pm

My grandma on my mothers side lived out in the woods with a hobo, they lived in a pull trailer with no truck to pull it. No electricity, no water.

They drank beer and wine, and cashed the ss checks once a month.

We went to visit, and I looked in the trailer, and there was actual garbage on the bed. They slept on garbage. Old cans, sacks of garbage, food, all on the bed.

They never took a bath, it was just the pits.

My mom was freaked out and yelled and stuff.

I was repulsed by it, but Grams seemed happy with her life, she was enjoying living that way.

I can see the drunk part, I can't see sleeping on garbage and not bathing, but they seemed to dig it.

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gaboman

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:32 pm

It's hard to clean up when there's no garbage pick up.

We put my dad's mum in a home when it was clear she wasn't going to be able to take care of herself (as far as hygene and that goes). My mum's mum lives with my aunt. They both tell me every time I see them 'goodbye, I won't be alive next time you come visit'. They haven't been right yet. It's like they're just WAITING to die.

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coldmodesty

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:01 pm

It almost seems like at a certain point you start to adjust. The shock of living in crap conditions wears off and you adjust. My sister and step father only seem to notice the awful conditions they have been reduced to when it is pointed out to them. My mother doesn't notice at all because no one has been brave enough to say something. On top of that she is constantly recieving encouragement for the good work she is doing rescueing all these cats... I hate feeling like I am the bad person who wants her to stop her good work but I really think it has gone over board.

I agree, it is a condition. She has a friend that live in a house that is in almost the same condition... she also had a really crazy, trouble life.
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gaboman

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:05 pm

Bummer.

It's nice that she rescues cats, this is true. But she should also have some sort of system in place where she rehomes them at the same time. If she's just hoarding all these cats, it's not good for her or the cats. it may be a bit of work, but with some online advertising, craigslist posts, maybe a facebook page and stuff like that, it may be possible to slowly start rehoming cats and improve the conditions.

Lot of work though, it'd suck to have to do that all alone.

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coldmodesty

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:16 pm

To follow up Whidden's comment. I can understand living in those conditions from a survival aspect... and from an escapism point of view. Refusing to be a member of society. I have no desire to do it but I understand it. But choosing to... I don't understand... she doesn't have to keep bringing in cats and reducing their living conditions... why would you choose to???
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coldmodesty

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:20 pm

LOL, she has all that... just printed this years fundraising calendars! Every Saturday at Petco adopting out. She was very excited because she managed over a thousand in donations for Christmas (but a quick calculation of the food, litter, vet bills, etc. should make it obvious that that is not enough). She has a very nice website... the shelter looks at lot better from cyber space.

I think I need a drink... can't sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:31 pm

Well, yes, drinking was always my solution too.

That's great that she has all that setup, so she's not going into it all half-assed. But yeah, perhaps just gotta work on the cleaning aspect. A friend of mine runs the Taiwan SPCA, but previously he had an animal shelter where he employed someone that was basically just a cleaner (and all-round lacky). They got plenty of volunteers too, who were all willing to scrub floors and walls and that; change litters and wash food bowls. I think there're always people willing to help animal welfare organizations.

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coldmodesty

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:39 pm

She has volunteers but she gets pissed off at them, then they get pissed at her, then they leave. I think she just need to have a limit that she sticks to and needs to keep them out of the house!!!

But my sister and my nephew are going to move in with me this coming year so that she can get her feet on the ground and move into her own place... I just need to get full time job but that is yet another rant...
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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:16 pm

How come they get mad? Cat people are normally friendly folk.

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coldmodesty

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PostSubject: Re: When is it not just a quirk anymore?   Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:40 am

LOL, I don't know. My mom is pretty friendly but she is awfully bossy when it comes to things she cares about and takes all suggestions as criticism. She doesn't handle criticism well. Hot temper.
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