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How can I stop my wife from spending thousands of dollars on unneeded cat food?

Answered by David Troxel

August 7, 2014

My wife has dementia/Alzheimer’s, and she has three cats that she feeds all day long. She can still drive to the store and buy cat food. She spends about $3,000 to $4,000 per month on cat food. She feeds them, picks it up and puts it in the trash, and feeds them again. One cat has been to the vet with issues relating to her feeding. The vet has told her to change her feeding habits or cats will die.

What can I do to stop this cat feeding and the huge drain on our finances? She goes to the store every day and spends roughly $100 per visit. We have lost one cat because of too much fat in diet, and I lost our dog to too many treats that created a poison effect. And, she has no concerns about feeding herself or me. She has never been professionally diagnosed by anyone. Our local doctor met with her for about 15 minutes and said she had the disease.

Your cats may be enjoying the high life, but it seems clear that your wife’s routine is causing some serious problems, endangering their well-being and your finances. First and foremost I would encourage you to go to a support group and/or the Alzheimer’s Association to get some coaching and advice about coming up with a game plan. A geriatric care manager should also be hired to help you find a legal and financial advisor and create a plan.

Your wife needs to get a good medical evaluation (not a 15-minute review), and you need to get your financial and legal affairs in order. Most caregivers in your situation would figure out a way to limit her access to the bank accounts or credit cards, and it is likely that she shouldn’t be driving.

I urge you to notch up your response—this really is an emergency situation for you and your pets.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. March 15, 2015 at 09:42 am
    Posted by Sandy

    Does your wife drive, or are taking her to the store? Do you have children who can help you with this? Both my parents resented when I had to take control, it wasn't easy on me, but it had to be done. I am their Powers of Attorney. Dad is 90 and has lived with me for the past 3 years.

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