I hope you’ve enjoyed our stories from Part 1: The Collector, Part 2: The Dead-End Road, and Part 3: The Collapsing Barn – the first three articles in this series. These stories are all about the shopping adventures that my family and I have had while out sourcing vintage treasures for our shop.
Join us on yet another vintage treasure hunting adventure in Part 4 of this series of articles…
The Cat Lady House
It was an early Saturday morning estate sale located in a rural area. The newspaper ad stated that the house was being foreclosed and that “everything must go”. When we arrived at the house, there were things lined up all along the driveway and in the yard in front of the house. The garage door stood open, which led to the house. When we got out of our truck, we noticed a strange odor in the air, but we weren’t sure what it was. This was a rural area, so farm smells are nothing unusual, and we didn’t give it a second thought. We started looking at the things that were outside and as we got closer to the house, the odor grew stronger. There were six cats wandering around, and as someone who likes cats, I commented to the man that he had a lot of cats. To which he replied “yeah, there are a lot of them inside and outside”. Remember I mentioned “situational awareness” back in Part 2 of this series? Um, yeah. Red flag #1 – we should have left right then.
The man that was running the estate sale was still pulling things out of the garage into the yard. He told us that he and his helpers still had the entire house to go through and they were still bringing things out for the sale. He told us we could go into the garage if we wanted, but that there was no way we’d be able to get inside the house because the house was too packed. He told us that the woman who had lived there was a hoarder, and that there was so much stuff inside the house, they could barely get in the front door. Red flag #2 – still time to leave unscathed.
There was nothing of interest in any of the items that were sitting outside, so we were about to leave. The man told us there was a large slate chalkboard hanging on the wall in the garage if we were interested. I was definitely interested in that! We walked up just inside the open garage door and froze in our tracks! The garage was empty – but we were hit with a wall of the most horrendous odor. The entire garage floor was covered with cat feces! And there were cats EVERYWHERE! I have no doubt there were easily over 100 cats inside and around that garage. They were running in and out of every crevice and doorway. There were cats on every windowsill, and they even packed the open rafters of the garage. The ammonia smell was overwhelming! Red flag overload! We quickly made an about-face and headed out, our hands covering our faces. Despite wiping our shoes off in the moist grass before getting in the truck – we could not escape dragging the awful odor along with us. As soon as we got home, we immediately washed all the clothes we were wearing, and had to scrub out the inside of our truck to eliminate the foul smell. Ugh.
On the way home from the sale, for the well-being of all those cats, I called the local sheriff’s office to report the sheer number of cats on that property. He said he had heard from someone else earlier that day and was aware of the cats, and the home. He said that animal protection services were on the way there to save those cats.
The Lesson? Pay attention to the red flags, and your gut instincts when going to a sale you know nothing about!
There you have it! Another shopping adventure with my family. Check back for more stories in this series of articles!