mum with dementia and struggling with her four cats

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by jen54, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. jen54

    jen54 Registered User

    May 20, 2014
    Cats and someone with dementia - dilema

    I posted recently, mum seems to be declining, on a gradual level,
    then last week one of her cats got an ear infection, only picked up due to its ear swelling up- so this meant vets appointments,
    ear drops and pills have been given, but we do not see mum every day..two times a day to help with this, we can only take turns in doing it when we are there..
    mum is managing just about with the notes and system where we ring and get her to tick off when she has done it all.
    The problem is with four cats(all 13 years and a bit) and her being forgetful and her hip making her shuffle and have difficulties I feel they are too much. sister as a cat and insists having four is no more problem..
    BUT mum has cat trays in the kitchen - the cats actually come in to use be fair, because mum chucks poo and cat litter all over the garden down steps- we shovel it all off and bin it, but it is a pointless game trying to get her to bag it-she ahs forgotten she always used to do that- now says it is good for fact it is disgusting and is everywhere..especially this weather!

    all the mess in the house is all cat connected, mum keeps the bathroom spotless still but elsewhere where the cats go..hairs everywhere, catlitter and cat litter powdr spread everywhere due ot cats walking around after using trays, cat food all over-mum forgets she has fed them, so there are lids, saucers, plate of food..dried biscuits on every surface, milk in lids all over I spend a good deal of time wiping down the sides..even inside fridge, breadbin..window sills..shaking out mats full of dust, all of it cat mess!!
    The last straw was yesterday, as the cat has a bad ear. so laong side her keeping giving the cat warm milk, as it isn't fat as anything and getting all her pork pies, chicken etc along side their food! mum started putting tray upstairs for it to use at night..alongside more bedding on landing I told her not to have one upstairs,

    I checked the toilet to see if she was still using the harpic..and found she had poured cat litter down it, of course when I said I was having to clear it because of that..she wondered what I was doing.. she insisted she would never do that, and someone else had done it..

    I just feel we spend more time sorting cats than mum- even the putting stuff in wrong places is cat related..she puts unopened tins in freezer..opened pouces in fridge, opens tins and pouches when she already has one 5 opened tins in freezer..alongside unopened ones!
    she is constantly asking where one or the other is, and checking on them- and they all crowd over her when she is eating, as they know she will give them her food-

    I realise she loves them, and a pet is a sister commented mum wont be alble to live on her own much longer, I feel a lot of the unhygienic stuff is cats..and mum isn't coping with them more than anything
    even mum comments at times how much work they all are, and how she hasn't done this or that due to sorting out the cats
    I dread if another one of them gets an is hard enough her looking after the one with the ear, plus she is washing its face and mauling its ear around
    it really is driving me mad tbh- dread going in and seeing what mess they have made
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Hi jen54
    sorry your mum's situation is deteriorating

    I have to declare an interest before I continue - I am not a cat person - on the other hand I won't have a dog because I wouldn't, at the moment. be able to take care of it properly and I firmly believe any pet should be well cared for

    so you've probably guessed what I'm going to write ;)

    It really does sound as though it's time to rehome at least 3 of the cats - they need to be looked after and your mum's house sounds a disaster in the making

    If your sister is considering it's time to think of a care home for your mum, well, you'd have to deal with the cats then on top of all the arrangements for your mum - might be better to start soon.
    The one with the infection could go into animal hospital 'until it gets better' - and just not come home. And there could be various excuses for 2 others - at least.
    Maybe leave her with the one best suited to her circumstances, for the company - if you think that's best for your mum.

    I'm not saying this lightly, honest - you do say even your mum says how much work they are - and I do appreciate that a pet can be good for our well-being
    but 4?
  3. jen54

    jen54 Registered User

    May 20, 2014
    thanks for that- I am of same mind, I even have an idea which cats should go LOL
    I have pointed out to my sister, that if mum cant live on her own..she will either have to go into a cats will have to go(I actually think its kinder have them put to sleep?? as they are not the most social cats, are so used ot being together, and are not young)but vet may not like tat, so rehomed is OK

    or, as I would prefer, mum would come with us..(still trying to find a suitable house to move to)in wic case I at a pinch would only take one of the cats as company for mum- and that would be the least shedding, healthiest way would I take on all 4

    I ma not sure wheter to talk to the vet, next visit? it is so hard, but I see time is coming, as mess is getting more evident that mum is not coping-and it may be all the cats will end up limiting the time left she can live alone-she can cope for herself, as we do everything practical
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Hi Jen
    I am a cat lover and it would break my heart if anyone took my two cats away. Many years ago my Mother had my Grandma's cat put to sleep when she was in hospital and it broke her heart and broke her spirit. Those of us with cats would tell you that they are exactly like a member of the family and if someone took a member of my small family away I would start a personal vendetta against them. HOWEVER (before I get shouted down) - if there was a choice between being with my daughter and being in a care home and still keeping one cat (or maybe 2 at a push??? as one would desperately miss the other 3 trust me), then there would be no question that I would choose my daughter :) No question at all. I also understand that for someone who is not a cat lover to take on four cats would be asking someone to fly to the moon - I wouldn't be able to do that with 4 dogs. So......................................... I don't envy you this one in any way at all and I wish you good luck and send your Mum a hug because it will be a horrid journey for her too.................but maybe 2 cats and a daughter would make her happy :)

    Take care of yourself xxxxxxxxxxxx
  5. its a struggle

    its a struggle Registered User

    Hi Jen54

    I AM a cat lover and I would give you the same advice as Shedrech, although I'm not quite sure why you are talking to the vet & not Social Services.

    The Cinnamon Trust may also be able to give you some practical guidance.

    I hope it all works out for mum as I couldnt imagine being without Smudge, my 15 yr old cat!
  6. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Its a Struggle - perhaps because Social Services are not very good at rehoming cats but a vet might be more use?:D
  7. jen54

    jen54 Registered User

    May 20, 2014
    #7 jen54, Dec 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
    thanks for the reply, I am not sure why I wanted to ask vet, will leave that one..I will look at your link-I suppose I was scared to involve or even ask advice from ss, mum hates outsiders, social services etc..bad experience of her attitude to them when dad was ill...also worried they would want to get involved..and at present mum is quite adamant she doesn't want outside there is nothing wrong

    I do know she dotes on her cats- and as she is still aware, I cant just whisk them away-even though I am sure one or two would make her life easier.

    it is more of a progressive thing, brought on by the fact mum is declining, the house is getting more unhygienic..and the cat was taken ill...had it been more than one, there would be no way mum would know what meds to give what cat-and we cant check 24/7

    I am just trying to work out the best way to keep mum at home- she wont move due to cats..but its the cats that may well make SS decide she cant cope

    so I am torn between knowing mum needs to look after a cat or two..............but knowing increasingly, 4 are too many, and the more help mum needs.the less time we can spend trying to keep everything going smoothly on the cat front-
    at present if SS came in they would say mum isn't clean etc..but it is the fact she cant run around after cats, and as no memory of when to feed, etc,
    we do our best, but I can see problems arising if mum declines any more-
    I have had cats too- but dealing with all the mess, poo etc, has me thinking this can't go on.
    I am in the doghouse for saying they need flea treatments as mum doesn't believe in that :( as they may lick it etc..
    at present am cleaning up, sorting out, etc- but not sure that is for the best long term.and don't want to see mum told she cant live alone any more, when in fact she probably could a while longer without the worry of caring for 4 cats.

    I was hoping they would be gone by time mum got too bad.............they are over 13yrs now, we will see-
    just wondered what others did when pets become an issue
  8. Pegsdaughter

    Pegsdaughter Registered User

    Oct 7, 2014
    I love cats but it's not fair for them to be in this situation or you to be in this situation. They pick up on what's going on. See if the cats trust can give some advice

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  9. its a struggle

    its a struggle Registered User

    Duh :D of course!!
  10. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Its a struggle - lololol I had to smile too -SS aren't very good at doing what they do do so if we added cats there would be chaos in the camp!!
  11. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    I am a dog lover and I adopted a dog as mom's career.

    Fleas: there are a pill that vet gives each 3 months. Work for fleas and thick.

    Loose hair, there are some brush that remove it from dog. So 2 grooming sessions per week and a little vacuum.

    Poo on garden. On older time, poo was a fertilizant, sorry I think your mother don't understand the use of bin.

    Cat sick: I would ask vet to heal cat by himself. Injections, hospital stay, or someone who can care cat for some weeks.

    A pet is a wonderful company to PWD. If you get your mom to live with you I advice you to get all four and then getting rid of them after your mother settle. ( My mom used to accuse me I stole her dog)
  12. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im a cat lover and I can see the problems. I think your mum would be better off without the cats, but I dont know how you can achieve this.
    Re the flea problem - your mum is undoubtedly thinking of the time when you had to shake powder all over them. I use stuff called Advocate which you have to get from the vet. It is a liquid which comes in mini pipettes and you squeeze it out onto the back of their neck, so they cant get at it. Much easier that the stuff you had to put all over them. Sorry, thats probably not a lot of help with your situation.
  13. jasmineflower

    jasmineflower Registered User

    Aug 27, 2012
    If money isn't too much of a problem, could you get one of the mobile pet care companies to come in each day to look after the cats, clean the litter trays, feed and care for the sick one?
    There are quite a few of these companies now and they are insured and the staff crb checked.

    It might be a short term solution
    J x

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