Tag Archives: eleanor abernathy

The 80 Cats Phenomenon

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Every year we are bound to run into a news headline like the one I saw on my Twitter feed today:

My first thought should be that the story is sad on multiple levels for the hoarders and pets who lived in squalor. Unfortunately, spending multiple years in journalism has severely depleted my compassion levels and my brain just simply isn’t wired like that anymore. It’s only wired to have the same reaction every time I see this story:

Why is it always 80 CATS?

Not 50 cats. Not 200 cats. Eighty cats. Every. Single. Time.

If you don’t believe me, type in “more than 80 cats” in a Google search. Below is only a sample of what you will find (most of these were just in 2011):




It should be noted that these people *willing* chose to have that many



Approximately 80 cats are apparently every home’s threshold for a contained atmosphere of feces, hairballs and general life failure before it seeps through an unsealed crack and into the air we breathe. Only then do we call animal control.

When the number crept up to 50 did neighbors say, “Well there are a shit ton of cats here but…I think it will get better”? It doesn’t get better after 50 cats. It wasn’t going to get better after 20 cats. Yet for some reason the number has to hover around 80 before any action takes place.


Unless THIS woman is your neighbor. Then you clearly get a pass