Yet another crazy cat person has made the news. This time, 47-year-old Michael Louis Vondueren of Sacramento who was discovered with 300 dead cats, stuffed in various freezers around his house.

A recent photo of Vondueren taken outside his Sacramento home

Andrew and I have been racking our brains…What is it about crazy people and their affinity for cats? Any psychiatrists in the audience? How about feliniologists?

We thought we’d ask you for your theories.


  1. #1 milkshake
    May 8, 2008

    look up toxoplasmosis in Wikipedia, especially the part about latent infection of human hosts and their “behavioural changes”

    It is known that rodent toxo infection produces brain changes that makes the rat or mouse fearless of cat odour. The infected rats or mice are acting in more outgoing, impulsive fashion, hence much more likely to be eaten by a cat.

  2. #2 Benny
    May 8, 2008

    Great point, Leche. Actually we posted something about that parasite a few months back.


    I like where your head’s at.

  3. #3 Mark P
    May 8, 2008

    There are some who collect dogs rather than cats. But, as everyone knows, dog people are not as crazy as cat people.

  4. #4 Hank Roberts
    May 8, 2008

    This demands a neologism.

    I suggest: Zoophiliariasis.

    When people love animals beyond their ability to care for them.

  5. #5 HP
    May 8, 2008

    Well, you know what they say, “You don’t have to be crazy to own 300 frozen dead cats, but it helps.”

    Hang in there, Baby.

  6. #6 onleyone
    May 8, 2008

    there’s a variety of possible mental conditions possibly linked to animal hoarding at wikipedia here:


    there’s even a (very short) section on the “cat lady” phenomenon and (speculative, but quite possible) connection to toxoplasmosis….

  7. #7 Agatha
    May 8, 2008

    A: Toxoplasmosa or whatever it’s called.

    B: Cats are awesome. 300 cats? Not so much.

  8. #8 Julia
    May 8, 2008

    I had never heard the toxoplasmosis theory, but I like it!

    I’ve always thought animal hoarding was a mental disease similar to newspaper and trash hoarding, just with more unfortunate consequences. There’s a mental satisfaction or relief in acquiring the object, but then there’s a disconnect as far as what to do with it.

  9. #9 Suze
    May 8, 2008

    Toxoplasmosis Theory: I’m looking at my cat, my cat is looking at me. She wants 300 baby brothers and sisters, because, frankly, I’m boring when there’s no tuna involved. I must obey. That’s what I get for cleaning her litterbox.

  10. #10 decrepitoldfool
    May 8, 2008

    My first thought was the fearless rats and their parasitic infection. But what explains the woman here in Illinois a couple years ago who hoarded horses? The poor animals were starving.

  11. #11 synapse
    May 8, 2008

    I favor the psychological explanations more for crazy cat people. People do hoard other animals; it’s just that of the popular pet animals, it’s a lot more difficult to acquire 300 dogs or horses.

  12. #12 decrepitoldfool
    May 8, 2008

    Oh yeah, that makes sense – there could be aspects of cat behavior that are conducive to such a relationship. If you’re nuts and you want to hoard animals, cats make it easy.

  13. #13 milkshake
    May 8, 2008

    To obtain 300 cats, you start with 2 or 3. All it takes is feeding them and keeping all their cute baby kittens
    instead of crushing them with pliers in a dark room

  14. #14 DRK
    May 8, 2008

    There are crazy bird people, too, according to my daughter. She used to work in a wild bird rehabilitation center, and some of the people who volunteered there seemed to suffer from the same sort of hoarding impulse. One woman insisted on taking home all the starlings the center turned away (they are considered an invasive species in the US). She probably had 40 or so starlings in her small apartment. There’s also the recent story about the birder in Galveston, Jim Stevenson, who allegedly started shooting cats to order to protect birds; kind of understandable, in a way, but he then said people were trying to kill him, refused to cooperate with police, and left town.

    Can birds carry toxoplasmosis?

  15. #15 agnostic
    May 9, 2008

    Dog people are just jealous that they aren’t as creative as cat people (where a little nuttiness helps). I mean, I wouldn’t be able to hear myself think either if I had a bunch of yap-yap blobs panting and slobbering audibly non-stop.

  16. #16 Dana Hunter
    May 9, 2008

    Does this mean the Egyptians suffered from toxoplasmosis?

  17. #17 Jan-Maarten
    May 9, 2008

    At the Rapture, it would make quite an impression to enter through the gates of Heaven in a chariot moved by 300 cats. Anybody looked for chariots (or materials to build one from) in these people’s homes yet?

  18. #18 Liesele
    May 9, 2008

    Jan-Maarten, face it, herding all those cats…oh, never mind.
    And I’m with those who simply feel that cats are easy to come by. Just ask any animal shelter; it’s easy to find stray cats (and to get them to produce more). So, you start with one cat, another shows up, your psychiatric disease rears it’s ugly, whiskered head, and soon you have 300. The freezers? Well, I’m not sure when they show up in the backyard at the bowl of cream.

  19. #19 half-lit knight
    May 9, 2008

    They were his satanic minions.
    Look it up in the Malleus Maleficarum.

  20. #20 Raging Wombat
    May 9, 2008

    Would everyone feel better if there were 300 living cats stuffed in freezers around the house?

  21. #21 y
    May 10, 2008

    How did his mom let him keep dead cats in her freezers?


    Anyone? 80 isn’t too old to realize 5 dead cats in the freezer may be odd.

  22. #22 ym
    May 12, 2008

    Maybe he was just collecting them the way I collect glass jars – just in case I might need one of a certain size/shape later on. I mean, you never know.

  23. #23 milkshake
    May 13, 2008

    It’s a Murphy’s law – the very moment you throw away a dead cat, you find that this was the one that you needed most.

  24. #24 greenbird
    May 18, 2008

    i would like to think there is a magnificent medical term for addiction to zooillogix, which is communicable and incurable, by the way…

  25. #25 themadlolscientist
    May 22, 2008

    =GAG= =BARF= =PUKE= Hey Ralph! =SPEW=

    Every so often a case of cat hoarding comes up on one of Animal Planet’s “animal cops” shows. I saw a rerun the other night where the ACOs took 147 cats out of a house, and the officer in charge of the removal said that an unknown but substantial number were still inside.

    I was amazed that there were only a few dead cats. I’d have thought they’d all have died of respiratory diseases aggravated by the ammonia in the air. The rescuers all wore respirators and weren’t allowed to spend more than 15 minutes inside the house.

    Sad to say, the cats were all feral and had to be euthanized. Some of them were surprisingly healthy, but they’d never be able to adjust to living with people.

  26. #26 sveden
    May 29, 2008

    The Link to the story is dead.

  27. #27 crazy cat lady : )
    July 1, 2009

    I guess there were 300 cats at the freezer, cause it couldnt be beard,old ladies cant do this, so they would be eaten, everyday, as a regular meal… Why not? hahaha so healthy meat!!! haha
    And I guess they are always old ladies, cuz they feel alone, so they start colecting cats… haha
    And they are cats cuz they are easier to take care and they are more like the crazy cat ladies, like “crazy” animals… Cats match better with the crazy cat lady profile.

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    November 17, 2009

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