A woman named Elly lives alone in Desert Hot Springs, California, with a significant number of cats. An official determination of hoarding disorder or even pet hoarding behavior has not been made. With that said, there are symptoms of hoarding behavior and possibly even hoarding disorder. The possibility that Elly is involved in cat hoarding exists.
California Adult Services Home Cleaning Services reached out to Eco Bear, a biohazard remediation company, to provide deep cleaning services at Elly’s home. Adult Services estimated that the process of deep cleaning the premises and addressing biohazards in Elly’s home would take two days with the efforts of two biohazard remediation professionals.
Site Inspection of Elly’s Residence
A physical inspection of Elly’s residence revealed a number of things:
- The residence is in a general state of disarray.
- There exists extensive filth throughout the premises.
- There is a large bin filled with cat feces inside the residence.
- There are cat feces located everywhere in the residence.
- There is evidence of feline urine throughout the house.
- As an aside, Elly is somewhat isolated because she does not have phone service.
Definition of Pet Hoarding
As mentioned a moment ago, there is evidence that Elly is involved in pet hoarding. Whether it has reached the level of diagnosed hoarding disorder is not certain. Understanding what pet hoarding is is important to understand better the matters in this particular cleaning and remediation project.
Pet hoarding is a psychological disorder that manifests itself in excessive acquisition of pets and an inability to properly care for them. People who suffer from this disorder accumulate large numbers of animals, which they often keep in unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions.
The animals typically receive inadequate food, water, and medical care, and their living conditions can lead to disease and death. Pet hoarding is considered a form of animal cruelty and can result in criminal charges. It is important to note that cats can carry and transmit these diseases even when they are not showing any symptoms. This makes it essential to take precautions when handling cat feces or cleaning the litter box. Additionally, young children, elderly individuals, and people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to these diseases and should be especially careful.
Commonplace Signs of Pet Hoarding
Cats are among the most common types of pets that are hoarded. There are some frequently occurring signs of pet hoarding, including of cats. The eleven key indicators that pet hoarding is occurring are:
- Having more pets than one can properly care for: This is perhaps the most obvious sign of pet hoarding. If an individual has more pets than they can provide for, it can be a sign that they struggle to care for the animals.
- Failing to provide adequate food, water, or veterinary care for pets: Providing adequate food, water, and medical care are basic requirements for owning pets. If an individual is unable or unwilling to provide these necessities, it may be a sign that they are hoarding pets.
- Living in unsanitary conditions due to the number of pets in the home: When there are too many pets in a home, it can be difficult to keep up with cleaning and maintenance. This can lead to unsanitary conditions that can negatively impact the health of both the pets and the people living in the home.
- Refusing to give up any pets, even when unable to provide adequate care: If an individual cannot provide adequate care for their pets but still refuses to give them up, it may be a sign that they are hoarding pets.
- Denying that the number of pets is a problem or that the pets are suffering: When confronted about their pet hoarding, some individuals may deny that there is a problem. They may also deny that the pets are suffering, even when it is clear that they are.
- Collecting stray or feral animals, even if they cannot be properly cared for: Some pet hoarders may collect stray or feral animals, even if they are unable to provide adequate care for them. This can lead to the animals’ suffering and can contribute to overpopulation.
- Failing to properly socialize pets or give them enough exercise: Proper socialization and exercise are important for the health and well-being of pets. If an individual is unable or unwilling to provide these things for their pets, it may be a sign that they are hoarding pets.
- Neglecting basic grooming needs for pets, such as bathing or nail trimming: Grooming is an important part of pet care. If an individual is neglecting basic grooming needs for their pets, it may be a sign that they are hoarding pets.
- Allowing the pets to reproduce without proper care or consideration for the offspring: Allowing pets to reproduce without proper care or consideration for the offspring can contribute to overpopulation and can lead to suffering for the animals.
- Failing to spay or neuter pets, leading to overpopulation and lack of resources: Spaying or neutering pets is an important step in controlling overpopulation and ensuring that resources are available for all pets.
- Refusing to allow other people to enter the home due to hoarding or unsanitary conditions caused by the pets: Some pet hoarders may refuse to allow other people to enter their home due to the hoarding or unsanitary conditions caused by the pets. This can make it difficult for others to help the animals in need.
Health Hazards Associated With Feline Feces
There is an array of extremely serious health hazards associated with cat feces strewn about a residence in the manner that exists at Donna’s home. Before diving deeper into the comprehensive deep cleaning and biohazard remediation services provided by Eco Bear, it is important to appreciate these health risks associated with feline feces:
- Toxoplasmosis – a parasitic infection that can be transmitted to humans through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems and can also be dangerous for pregnant women, as it can harm the developing fetus. Toxoplasmosis is caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite that can be found in cat feces. It can also be acquired by consuming contaminated food or water.
- Salmonella – a bacterial infection that can be spread through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Salmonella is usually found in contaminated food, but it can also be found in cat feces. If a cat is infected with Salmonella, it can spread the bacteria through its feces.
- E. coli – a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. E. coli is a type of bacteria that is normally found in the intestines of humans and animals, but some strains can cause illness. E. coli can be spread through contact with contaminated feces, food, or water.
- Campylobacter – a bacterial infection that can be spread through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe diarrhea, cramping, and fever. Campylobacter is usually found in contaminated food, but it can also be found in cat feces. If a cat is infected with Campylobacter, it can spread the bacteria through its feces.
- Giardia – a parasitic infection that can be transmitted through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. Giardia is caused by a microscopic parasite that can be found in contaminated water or food. It can also be found in cat feces, and if a person comes into contact with contaminated feces, they can become infected.
- Cryptosporidiosis – a parasitic infection that can be transmitted through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and dehydration. Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a microscopic parasite that can be found in contaminated water or food. It can also be found in cat feces, and if a person comes into contact with contaminated feces, they can become infected.
- Roundworms – a type of parasitic worm that can be transmitted through contact with cat feces. It can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Roundworms are usually found in the intestines of cats, but they can also be found in cat feces. If a person comes into contact with contaminated feces, they can become infected.
Insect Infestation in Residence
Because of the expansive issue of cat feces and feline urine, a serious insect infestation existed in Elly’s home. Elly faced a myriad of potential hazards, problems, and risks as a consequence of the significant insect infestation in her home. Insect infestation included a significant number of flies and maggots.
Examples, of hazards potentially included:
- Structural damage: Insects such as termites, carpenter ants, and powder post beetles can cause significant damage to the wood structures of a residence, including the foundation, walls, and roof. This can lead to costly repairs and even compromise the safety of the building.
- Health risks: Certain insects, such as cockroaches, can carry bacteria and viruses that can cause infections and spread diseases. In addition, some insects can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks, especially in vulnerable individuals such as children and the elderly.
- Food and water contamination: Insects such as flies, ants, and rodents can contaminate food and water sources, making them unsafe for consumption. This can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses and other health problems.
- Discomfort and irritation: Insects such as bed bugs, fleas, and mosquitoes can cause discomfort and irritation to residents, resulting in loss of sleep and decreased quality of life.
- Decreased property value: An insect infestation can lead to decreased property value and difficulty selling a residence. This is because the presence of insects can be a sign of poor maintenance and can be a major turn off for potential buyers.
- Difficulty eradicating the infestation: If left untreated, insect infestations can become difficult and expensive to eradicate, requiring professional extermination services. This can be a major inconvenience and financial burden for residents.
The surest way of minimizing risks faced by Elly and of returning the home to a safe and livable condition is to start the deep cleaning and biohazard remediation process immediately. A situation like that in Elly’s home really does call for immediate professional biohazard remediation and deep cleaning.