‘It’s a mental health issue’: Columbiana County sees rise in cat hoarding cases

Local News

PERRY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Hoarding of anything from house plants to animals is a serious issue. It can also be detrimental for local humane societies.

Columbiana County Humane Agent Erica Rice said they’ve seen a rise in cases of cat hoarding recently. In a week and a half, they’ve seen three cases and are overloaded with cats right now.

There’s no magic number when it comes to hoarding. Whenever there are too many that a person can’t properly care for, it’s considered hoarding.

Rice attributes hoarding to mental health issues triggered by stressful events.

People believe they can take in a cat, believing they are the only ones who can take care of it, even if they can’t. They then keep adding more and more animals.

Rice said more than 250,000 animals are involved in hoarding cases every year. Cats are common because they have a 90-day gestation period.

For humane societies, hoarding situations can be detrimental.

“If we take in 80 cats from a home, we have to spay and neuter every one of those cats, vaccinate them. They’re going to be unhealthy. Upper respiratory infections are extremely common in cats that come from hoarding situations because they’re breathing in ammonia and dirt,” Rice said.

It’s what makes donations to places like the Columbiana County Humane Society so necessary.

Rice also said the repeat rate on hoarding is 100 percent.

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