Many people live in fear that their food will spoil in the refrigerator before they’ve had time to eat it. And then there are people that stock their icebox with the bodies of dead pets.
Saturday is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, an unofficial holiday rumored to be created by the people at the Whirlpool Corporation in 1999.
To provide you with the motivation to clean out your fridge, check out this list of awful discoveries made in the refrigerators of hoarders in recent years:
100 dead cats
In 2012, a Hanover, Illinois woman named Terry appeared on the A&E television series “Hoarders” and what the crew found inside her refrigerator shocked the Internet. An estimated 75 to 100 dead cats were stashed inside Terry’s fridge, with dozens more living in her home.
The story was a tragic one because Terry kept the animals so she could later cremate them but could never afford to, according to the show. Described as “the ultimate cat lady” by some writers, Terry also kept several dead cats inside bags in a closet because there was no more room in the fridge.
The “Hoarders” crew was able to save 18 cats from the home.
It doesn’t get much creepier than maggots. Imagine them crawling around inside your refrigerator.
Also featured on “Hoarders,” a California woman named Barbara discovered her fridge had become a “breeding zone for maggots,” according to Business Insider. Apparently Barbara filled her home with things she found in dumpsters and not surprisingly, ate out for nearly all of her meals.
Rotten eggs and chicken embryos
Sure, it doesn’t take a hoarder to have rotten eggs in the fridge but to have mountains of both eggs that are rotten and turning into chicken embryos is downright impressive.
Constance, of Texas, ran a “fresh egg” operation, but refused to get rid of the old eggs lying around her home. The crew from “Hoarders” found hundreds of eggs in the home, including some in her refrigerator that had begun growing into embryos.
38 dead cats
Okay, so we’re back to dead cats, but at least this incident happened outside of the United States.
Donald Cruickshank, 80, of New Zealand, was holding 38 dead felines inside his freezer in 2010. The worst part? His food was also stocked in there.
Animal welfare officers made the discovery and Cruickshank was eventually sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a $100 fine, according to Daily Mail Australia. On the bright side, about 50 living cats were rescued from the home.
Rancid, liquified food … and more dead cats
Described by police as ‘one of the worst cases of hoarding ever seen,’ a Las Vegas man had five refrigerators full of rotten food and dead cats in 2012. Kenneth Epstein’s home was ruled uninhabitable after law enforcement officials gained access to the home, according to the Associated Press.
Along with the five dead cats found inside his refrigerators was “food so rancid it had liquefied.” 15 truckloads of items were hauled from Epstein’s house by a junk removal company.
In 2008, officials in St. Louis arrested Virginia Gambriel, 63, on a charge of animal abuse after 75 animals were seized from her home.
The News-Leader reported that officials found three dead chinchillas inside Gambriel’s refrigerator. Several other dead animals were found in the home.
Best thing found inside a refrigerator: $90,000 cash
Finally, one that isn’t such a terrible find. In one incident, searchers found a lot of cold hard cash — literally.
In 2006, U.S. federal agents in Louisiana found $90,000 in cash stuffed into various freezers inside the home of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson. CNN reported that the money was located after agents searched Jefferson’s home as he was under investigation for bribery charges.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.