The cats were found being kept in a house with no running water or electricity, and an animal welfare group was forced to step in and rescue the animals from the home.
172 cats were being kept in a single dilapidated house in a rural area of New Jersey, where they were rescued by St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center from the single elderly man who claimed to be the owner of all of them.
The felines are now being kept at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center, but the sudden influx of over 170 cats is placing a huge strain on the rescue center, who have taken to Facebook to appeal for assistance from animal lovers everywhere.
"This case, like so many others where we have come to the aid of animals in distress, will place substantial financial burdens on St Hubert’s. With your support, we’ll cover the costs for sheltering, daily care, and veterinary services for these animals over the upcoming months," they wrote.
But aside from taking care of the animals, St. Hubert's also placed responsibility of such cruel animal treatment on the public, calling for people to report anything that seems suspicious.
They also hoped that other agencies, including those that deal with psychological help for people in need, would come forward to prevent these situations from repeating themselves.
When rescue team initially arrived at the home, they expected to find around 100 cats inside. Once they entered, they realized that the situation was far worse than they had anticipated.
Many of the cats were rescued with a range of different health problems as well, including dehydration, malnutrition, fleas, and mites. None of them appeared to have been spayed or neutered.
"We are committed that we will bring all [of the cats] to our facility," Kathleen Schatzmann, St. Hubert's Chief Operating Officer, told True Jersey. "Our team has been out there everyday."
New Jersey-native Don Oriolo, whose late father was co-creator of the Felix the Cat cartoons, is an animal lover who was alerted to the situation at the house by a neighbor.
"The conditions were like a horror movie," Oriolo said. "The house was uninhabitable, it was filled with cats. The smell was pretty horrendous."
The elderly gentelman's wife had passed away, and things at his home had spiraled out of his control, the home falling into disrepair and becoming stained with cat urine and feces.
"A lot of people vilify this guy, but he's heartbroken over the thing," Oriolo said of the owner.
Oriolo was the one who ended up contacting St. Hubert's to assist with rescuing the cats. It is the biggest rescue in the organization's history, and the only way they could house all 172 cats was to use their Noah's Ark Campus in Ledgewood.
The organization is accepting any donations that will assist in the care of the cats as they are recovering with the shelter.
December 28, 2018