I thought Id share a little bit my story as it may help someone.
My mother was always a animal lover of all kinds, but her soft spots were for cats. We only had three cats up until I was twelve when someone dropped a very pregnant mommy cat off at our door, my mother could not turn her away and soon after we had kittens. My mother had been very good at getting everyone fixed up until then as she fell onto hard times.
They continued to breed until we had somewhere around 20 cats all inside...somewhere along the way mommy cat contracted the Feline Leukemia Virus and they passed it among each other..some were born with it like my angel Gizmo.
It had gotten out of control, no one wanted a sick cat, no kill shelters wouldn't take them. So my mother cared for them the best she could as surly a short life must be better then being put down and slowly they would get sick and die. Some died as kittens, some got sick one day and the next they would be dead. The worst was when one suffered it broke our hearts. out of the 20 only three are alive today. The hardest was when my baby Gizmo developed tumors on his legs and would pass out on the floor..I had to have him put down at 7yrs.
This experience was one of the worst things of my life and my heart goes out to anyone who has or is experiencing anything like this.
It has made me OCD about my current cats health to the point some might think I'm crazy.. over protective and unable to handle the death of a beloved animal. I feel guilty, like I could of done something more.
My mother and I cry about all the cats we have lost from time to time.
I fear that my love for cats could turn into a nightmare like before because I feel like I need to help/save them all..I know it isn't possible.
our mom and dad volunteered at a rescue that had FELV cats. Sadly, the resuces founder was not as dilligent as she should have been in caring for the cats. But what mom and dad learned is that with proper care and good nutition (they made sure the cats were fed and taken to the vet-something the owner had a problem with).
Many of the cats who were FELV+ could live happy, healthy lives. While some did get ill quicker, and pass, some didn't. Many were healthy young cats.
Unfortunately, the rescue wasn't a good place in many ways, and parted company with our mom and dad. But Mom still worries about the guys there with FELV.
FELV+ cats can live healthy lives, if cared for, for as long as they have....and some live normal length cat lives.
It sounds as through you and your mom did all you could. We are so sorry you had such a painful experience.
You are a kind and caring person. I think because you have had the experience of living in a hoarding situation, you are fully aware of how bad things can get and how both animals and people suffer. Hardcore hoarders deny that what they're doing is abnormal and insist their animals are perfectly fine. Because you have that awareness, I don't think you will go down that road.
It seems that you are still hurting, and my (very gentle) advice would be to talk to a professional who can help you get over your trauma. You might also want to volunteer to help socialize cats at a local (legitimate) shelter. That way you know you would be doing great good for animals that need help, but not in your house!