Woman Diagnosed with Noah’s Syndrome Kept 159 Cats in Her Apartment

A 68-year-old French woman diagnosed with Noah’s Syndrome has been given a one-year suspended sentence for keeping 159 cats and 7 dogs in her 80sqm (861sqft) apartment.

The unnamed woman and her 52-year-old male partner got into a dispute with neighbors in their Nice apartment building because of the mess and filth caused by their dozens of pets. Police were eventually called and the state of the woman’s apartment shocked them. There was animal excrement everywhere, over 150 cats and seven dogs, as well as at least two dead cats and two dogs in the bathroom. Many of the animals were dehydrated, suffering from malnutrition, or infected with parasites, and some of them subsequently died because of their health problems. The elderly woman admitted that she had “screwed up” while trying to take care of her many pets, but described the animals as “the love of her life”.

Photo: Chewy/Unsplash

The unnamed woman told investigators that her trouble began in 2018, after taking in her parents’ three cats and three dogs. Before long, she started rescuing stray cats as well, 30 of them. Over time, the animals began reproducing, and by the time police entered her apartment last year, she had no less than 159 pet cats. Asked why she kept them all if she knew she couldn’t take care of them properly, the 68-year-old woman said that she would have felt “abandoned for abandoning the animals”.

Following a psychiatric evaluation, the woman was diagnosed with ‘Noah’s Syndrome’, which is described as a psychological need to care for and save animals, even when you are incapable of doing so. To prevent her from falling victim to her condition again, a judge issued a permanent ban on keeping pets. The woman and her partner were also ordered to pay more than €150,000 ($160,000) to various animal rights charities and other civil parties.