Author Topic: My Dad's Situation  (Read 2281 times)

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Offline Tikhon29605

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My Dad's Situation
« on: May 05, 2010, 09:36:27 AM »
Hello Everyone. It has been several years since I have posted. I am very worried about my 85 year old father and need some common sense advice and prayers about the situation.

Let me explain.  My 85 year old father is a widower. He used to live by himself. Several years ago my unmarried sister moved in with my Dad to try to save some money and make paying off her college loans easier. Nothing wrong with that. I perfectly understand that situation. However, when she moved in she brought some cats with her. Fast forward several years and the situation has gotten horribly out-of-hand.  I went over last night to visit my Dad. (He lives in the same city.)  He was already asleep in bed and resting peacefully, so I did not wake him. But I was in sheer horror at the state of his house. The cats have simply TAKEN OVER.  When I walked in the front door, the pungent smell of cat urine was so strong it it nearly overwhelmed me. As I walked back to the bedrooms at the rear of the home, the odor intensified.  I discovered, to my horror, that at least two dozen cats now live in my father's house, all of which belong to my sister. The home has four bedrooms. Half the cats are kept in one bedroom (with the door closed) and the stench so bad it burns your eyes when you open the door. The other half of the cats are kept in the Master bedroom and Master bath (which my sister has taken over and is using for her bedroom.)  In addition to being smelly and unsanitary, these cats have not been de-clawed. They have shredded the carpet and destroyed the furniture in the two rooms that they are kept in. It looks like a scene from some Jerry Springer show where the animal control people are called in. I am really worried about my Dad's health living in such a place. And I don't know how to deal with this situation.  I have tried reasoning with my sister, and it is like reasoning with a brick wall. She is of the mindset, "if you love me, you love my cats."  She will not compromise or meet me half-way.  I have begged her to have the cats de-clawed so that they won't destroy the house. She refuses and claims that de-clawing the cats is "abuse."  My Dad has become very passive and docile in his old age and will not stand up to or assert himself against my sister.  I am really worried that living in such a filthy condition is harmful to my Dad's health. In fact, he has recently developed some health problems and is having difficulty swallowing now and may have to have surgery for that. I wonder if breathing in all the cat dander and living with the pungent smell of cat urine might be contributing to his declining health? It can't be good for him. And I know it depresses him. And I hate to see my Dad depressed and hopeless. As I said before, I live in the same city as my Dad and I have a 3 bedroom house. (I'm single.)  I have begged my Dad to move in with me, and he refuses. I want to provide a clean, safe, place for him to live out his final days.

I am at a total loss of what to do.  My sister cannot be reasoned with. She seems to think it is her inherent right to destroy my Dad's house and turn it into a cat sty. My Dad will not stand up to her or even question or challenge her. He refuses to move in with me, which would benefit his health (and he wouldn't be so depressed either in my clean, sunny, cheerful home.) 

I find myself every day getting angrier and angrier with my sister and this anger is brewing. I see a horrible situation bordering on elder abuse, and I feel powerless to solve it.

Is there ANYTHING I can do? I feel really bad about this situation. Every day I feel more guilty about what my Dad is enduring and am growing more bitter against my sister for putting him in this situation. 

Should I call the Department of Social Services to investigate? Should I call animal control?  Should I go over to my Dad's house secretly when no one is at home and remove all the cats and take them to the pound? What should I do? I can't stand to see my Dad living like this. It just tears me up. And I'm sick of being passive and not doing anything about it.

Sane, level-headed advice would be most appreciated.


Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 09:40:59 AM »
While she may not care about what she is doing to your father (and her own) health by living in such conditions, keeping the cats in such conditions is unhealthy for them.

I would call Animal Control/ASPCA and the Board of Health. Many towns have ordinances that you can only own a certain number of pets. What your sister is doing is consistent with animal abuse, whether or not she recognizes it as such.

May the Lord have mercy on the situation and grant you wisdom to deal with it accordingly!

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2010, 10:05:42 AM »

Sigh!  That's a toughy.

As hard as it is, I would call Animal Services, as well.  Your father will feel embarrassed and humiliated by having strange people in his house, frowning and catching the cats...but, in the end he'll hopefully get over it and be happier in the end.

Your sister...well...she needs a dose of reality.  How can she treat her father like this?  It is selfish.  What if you just found her some human friends...and then she'd have to get rid of the cats because she would be embarrassed to have friends come over and see the mess???

I wish I had better advice.  You are stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

May the Lord open your sister's eyes to the situation and give her the will power to change it for the better.
May the Lord grant your father good health and you peace of mind!

Lord, have mercy!

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline Schultz

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2010, 10:13:21 AM »
While she may not care about what she is doing to your father (and her own) health by living in such conditions, keeping the cats in such conditions is unhealthy for them.

I would call Animal Control/ASPCA and the Board of Health. Many towns have ordinances that you can only own a certain number of pets. What your sister is doing is consistent with animal abuse, whether or not she recognizes it as such.

May the Lord have mercy on the situation and grant you wisdom to deal with it accordingly!

What she said.  People who have that many animals cannot take care of them all properly.  You've tried reasoning with her and discovered she is being irrational about it, so it's time to call in the bigger guns.  Let Animal Control know what's going on and they'll, at least, take most of the cats away.

Be prepared for your sister to hate you, too.  She won't (or possibly can't) understand what is going on.  It's been my experience that people who collect animals (usually cats) like this are incapable of seeing the damage, both physical and emotional, that this many animals cause when not properly cared for.
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2010, 10:26:16 AM »
Lord, have mercy on Your servant Tikhon and on his family!
Love never fails.

Offline EofK

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2010, 10:39:50 AM »
I must agree with the above advice:  Please call whoever the authority is over Animal Welfare and also the Board of Health.  You might want to discuss this with your sister and explain to her that the living conditions are not just unsanitary (which they are) but are bordering on abuse and neglect and that you feel the best thing for everyone, human and feline, is to have the appropriate authorities come in to investigate. 

I will say that I am a cat person and I'm totally against declawing cats, but I'm also all for taking good care of the animals and that means keeping them to a manageable number.  It's difficult to take care of two dozen cats unless it's a full time job and they need much more room than it sounds like they've been allotted.  Schultz called it what it is: animal collecting. 

In any case, Lord, have mercy! 
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline SolEX01

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2010, 02:26:10 PM »
Lord have Mercy.

People have served jail time in my part of the world for hoarding many cats and/or abusing the elderly.  If I were in the OP's position, I would call 911 and let the chips fall as they may.

Offline Papist

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2010, 03:25:58 PM »
Lord, have mercy.
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Offline mike

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2010, 05:03:32 PM »
Lord, have mercy!
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010, 07:46:16 PM »
Thank you all for your prayers, concerns and comments. I think Schultz is right, my sister is a collector of animals. I emailed the local Humane Society today and asked if they could come to my Dad's house and do an investigation. I am also going to check with the law enforcement authorities and DHEC. I will keep everyone posted. Again, thank you all for your concern.


Offline PrincessMommy

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 08:36:40 PM »
You may want to look up animal hoarding to see if there's anything you can do or suggest for your sister.   From my limited understanding this is the problem that doesn't just go away when the cats are taken.  She may turn around and start collecting again.

prayers for this situation.

Offline jnorm888

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 08:41:08 PM »
Lord Have Mercy!

I love cats and all, but two dozen is beyond the ability for two people to take care of. Let alone one.

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2010, 10:08:15 PM »
An update on the situation: 
I got a response from the Humane Society.  They gave me the number to Animal Control and told me that I can arrange for them to make a visit to my Dad's house at any time to inspect the situation.  They also agreed that it needs inspecting. They also gave me a link to the county's animal regulation laws. I discovered that cats kept indoors in Greenville County have to have 24 square feet per cat, any less than that is considered unlawful crowding of animals. Also, as I expected, the urine stench and feces smell is not permitted either and are considered a health issue.

My Dad called me tonight and we pleasantly chatted at first. Then he began to tell me about his health problems. He said he has developed difficulty breathing. He also said that his throat is producing excessive mucus. Every few minutes now he has to clear his throat.  I finally broke down and told him that I think the cats are causing his health issues. He admitted to me that he thought they might be causing them too. I told him that he's living in a toxic environment and those toxins are making him ill. Again, he agreed.

Then we discussed my sister. And I told him that she doesn't have pets. Rather, she's an animal collector. He agreed with that too. And we all know animal collectors don't change or improve on their own. Someone or some authority usually has to go in to remove the animals in the end. That's when I told my Dad I had had enough of this situation and wasn't going to watch him die from some health problem caused by my sister's cats. I was going to take action.

Well, Dad hit the ceiling. He told me I had no right to interfere in his life. He was completely incensed when I told them I had already asked the Human Society for advice on how to deal with the situation. And he basically forbade me to take any action. I told him he has until June 1st to get the cats out of the house. After that point, I will call Animal Control and ask them to investigate. Oh, he ranted and raved and threw a fit. He told me he would disown me.  He told me he had lost all respect for me. I told him that didn't matter. I was concerned about his health and that the cats had to go. Period. He got so mad at me he hung up the phone.

Well, about 15 minutes later he called me back. Calmer, much calmer.  He said my sister is taking tomorrow off from work to remove the cats. He also said she is extremely angry with me. At this point, I don't care if she's angry, happy or sad. I just want my Dad to be in a healthy living situation.

I think my sister is actually quite afraid of having to deal with Animal Control. She was evicted from the last house she rented and her landlord had to call animal control to remove all the cats from the rental house that she left there. So Animal Control knows who she is and already has one case against her.

I sincerely doubt this situation is going to be over soon. Apparently the plan now is for my sister to remove the cats and take them to her friend's apartment. I don't see how that can realistically work. Who in their right mind would take two dozen cats in a small apartment? I think in the end these cats (at least the majority of them) will have to be taken to the pound. I see no other alternative.

My Dad is scheduled to visit his doctor on June 8th about the breathing/mucus problem he has developed and I am driving him. I plan to inform the doctor about the cat situation too, even if the cats are gone by that time.

At least now I am having some ray of hope and having visions of opening the windows in my Dad's house and mopping the floors with Murphy's Oil Soap to get rid of the cat smell.

Thank you all for letting me know I am not alone.



Offline Fr. George

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2010, 03:55:45 PM »
Lord, have mercy.
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: My Dad's Situation
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 10:29:30 PM »
I thank God that your father has a son like you.  May God grant you mercy in your dealings with your family.
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