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.