Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another cat leaves the hoard. RIP Ralphie...

Yesterday was a fun day.  Had friends in from out of town, and I swear we spent our day shopping and eating our way across the mid state.  Eating mainly.  But anyway... as we were leaving the latest round of restaurants, I got a text from my hoarding mother's neighbor.  Apparently one of her cats died that day.  Ralphie, a cat that she found in a snowstorm 4 or 5 years ago.  The neighbor said he had a kidney issue and was blocked completely... but to not let my mother know she had told me.  I apprised her that I had company in, and I would call my mother tomorrow (today).

Today I have been lazy, and did not leave the apartment for any reason.  Tomorrow I will go into the office, and it will be a long day, most likely.  I decided to just get it over with and call her today instead of tomorrow.  When I spoke to her last a couple of days ago she was on her 'psychic' kick again, morosely intoning things like "I feel like something is about to happen.  I just HATE feeling like that!  I do not know what, but SOMETHING is bad is about to happen!"

Okay.  Right.  Talk to you later... So I brace for this call.  And I know that I must seem to be the most unsympathetic person ever, but this is not a normal relationship or interaction.  Ever.  

So I call.  And she immediately comments on me 'not doing anything for a couple of days when all [I] do is run..."  I reminded her that I had guests in... again, choosing to ignore the fact that I know she writes anything I tell her on her wall calendar... things like vacation dates, people visiting, etc.  She complains about the weather, goes on about the neighbors social activities, and talks about how it is so much effort to wash her hair.  YUK.  I think I might escape this call when she intones the morose soothsayer voice and says- "Well, you know how I had a bad feeling something was going to happen?  Well it did."  I was watching my stopwatch on my iPad to see how long she would make the dramatic pause... 32 seconds.  "Ralphie is DEAD."  

She went into the story, and her stories have a formulaic quality... all of them.  She weaves so many tangents and details in to any story that it is difficult to follow.

  • She tries to build drama to finish with a climatic ending 
  • She focuses on what she thought, and her incorrect medical assumption
  • She gave the cat a cat laxative (he cannot pee!) and sat and watched him all night instead of calling the emergency vet
  • Finally at 8 am she starts calling vet offices
  • She talks about all those who failed her by not answering their phone at veterinary offices or the emergency vet- and she did not leave a message at any of them
  • She knew her vet was in until 3pm, and the cat is straining so hard to pee that he is drooling and the inner lid is showing and since she got the voice mail she called the humane society who told her to do the # 9 thing to get a human
  • She did, and took the cat over at 1pm
The long story short is he was completely blocked, in monstrous pain, and his bowel was blocked off.  She was presented with several options, and the vet was not optimistic about any of them based on presentation.  My mother elected to euthanize Ralphie.  She held him, and stayed with him until the end.  My heart does hurt for him, and for her.  Each time I have had to do that, I have had a friend with me to support me after.  She did not.  

Now the real crazy kicks in.  She buries all her animals in the back yard, and there must be easily 40 of them out there now.  She gets Rubbermaid boxes and does all this prep of the body.  I got this huge description of the tote bag they gave her to carry Ralphie home in.  And the kicker?  She kept the bag, and did not leave him in it.  She has alienated many of her neighbors, and several are having health issues and cannot dig a hole for her.  Of course, in her typical way of not seeing anything from any point of view but her own, that is a serious failure on their part.  One neighbor had the audacity to not be home until just an hour ago!  She called some man she used 2 or 3 years ago to dig a hole on the next street over, and he came and did it for her.  He shared that they just lost a kitty this week to the same thing, and a couple of my friends have lost cats this month to renal issues.  

She began wondering aloud if she should start feeding all her cats the kidney diet food and distilled water as a prophylaxis.  She stated that her one cat had glaucoma and a heart murmur, and "kidney and heart are related you know!"

She then rebounded from my lack of agreement on that to maligning the folks next door to her neighbor that alerted me.  2-3 years ago the one neighbor's goats pushed her fence down and got in her yard, and this couple came over and herded the goats out.  My mother was screaming, hitting the goats with a broom, ranting, and carrying on... but now in revisionist historical fashion... she has no idea why they do not return her calls and she has manufactured a whole list of things that she has tried to do that is nice that they are missing out on.  
My response this was to just tell her I have heard all this, and she got Ralphie buried, so it is all good, and if this is going to be the topic of discussion I am getting off the phone.  

WOW.  I cannot even extend my condolences to her in a way that is somewhat normal.  She just cannot do it.  She is now, allegedly, down to 4 or 5 cats.  

<Counting on fingers... Pretty sure it is 5 cats that she admits to...> This is the least amount she has had in 20 years or more.  She has 2 distinct cohorts, ones that are over 10 years old, and ones that are under 2 or 3 years old.

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.  Especially dependent children or pets.  


  1. Wow! She does not see her pets as anything other than an extension of herself, no feeling for their pain or discomfort.

  2. No, sadly, she does not. It breaks my heart.