Having Google alerts set up for cat-related new can yield some pretty awesome and unique stories as fodder for this blog, but it can also be seriously depressing, with story after story about cats getting shot with arrows, pellets and bullets, cats poisoned with antifreeze, cats abused for online fame and even cats killed by psychotic ex-boyfriends or girlfriends.
There are, unfortunately, plenty of hoarding stories as well, and they’re a reminder that cats don’t just suffer physical abuse at the hands of humans, they suffer mental abuse and neglect by mentally ill people.
That’s the case in Park Township, Michigan, where authorities acting on a tip found more than 150 cats living in “deplorable conditions”. Even protective gear couldn’t entirely filter the smell inside the home, animal control officers said.
The town declared the house unfit for human habitation and the local animal authority, St. Joseph County Animal Control, needed help from nearby animal shelters and rescues to confiscate the cats, who will be given veterinary care and rehabbed before they’re offered for adoption.
The raid was “by far” the “biggest animal seizure we’ve done,” animal control supervisor Greg Musser told the local NBC affiliate.
The cats range in age from newborn kittens to adults. Two cats were euthanized. Taking in more than 150 cats is no small task, and the shelter is asking for help with cat/kitten food, litter and other supplies.
“We have been working tirelessly to take care of all these cats on top of the normal business,” the shelter’s Facebook page reads. “We are doing our best to answer the phone and return messages. We are in need of wet and dry kitten food, litter, pee pads, laundry detergent and bleach. We are also in need of gently used baby blankets.”
In an updated story, authorities in a nearby town found similar hoarding conditions in a second property owned by the same woman, who moved some of the cats between them after a natural gas leak at the first home.
While the number of cats is unusual, the story is not: Rescuers confiscated 50 cats and 30 raccoons from a home in Ohio on Aug. 6, following the rescue of 97 cats from another Ohio home two weeks earlier. Less than two weeks ago, the SPCA pulled more than 30 dog and cats from a Pennsylvania home in which the inside temperature exceeded 100 degrees. Authorities found 150 cats in a Toronto home last month, including several kittens who were in seriously bad shape.
Those are just a sampling pulled from the first few results on Google News. Doubtless a lot of these people mean well when they start taking in cats, and the behavior is the result of untreated mental illness. But what can be done to protect cats from these situations?
Featured image credit Chamber of Hoarders. It depicts another hoarding situation, similar to the Michigan case.