Colorado Springs has a limit on the number of cats you can own: it’s four. Happy Cats was part of a rescue this evening that involved 157 more cats than that. More of an intervention, the rescue was coordinated by Life is Better Rescue of Denver. One of their fosters, Laura Lampley, became aware of the situation when she was laid up in the hospital recovering from a cat bite, trying to entertain herself by skimming Craigslist. The owner of the cats needed to move in a week and her friends and family were trying to help her by seeking help online.Life is Better moved quickly and efficiently. The agreement was that LIBR could come in and take care of the cats on the condition the owner’s identity was not revealed. They quickly contacted all local rescues for assistance. Happy Cats Vice President Allison Duval and volunteer Barb Jones arrived at the staging site in a grocery store parking lot, along with volunteers from 13 other groups, including Lauri Cross of Wild Blue Animal Rescue. Only two LIBR volunteers and a veterinarian were allowed at the actual hoarding site. It was a cold wait, but the LIBR van arrived back at 5:30 pm.The cats had been housed in a garage in cages separated by sex. None were sterilized. This may give us an answer to the title question. An intact male cat has a range up to 3 square miles; it’s half that for an intact female.
Without being neutered or spayed, they are hardwired to breed and fight for their territory. With this many intact animals jammed into this small a space, it must have been exactly like prison, the females constantly going in and out of heat and males constantly exposed to that. It was likely a psychologically damaging kitten mill, if an accidental one.
It appears the living conditions were relatively clean and the LIBR team says most of the cats were socialized. The LIBR vet had randomly tested 5 cats for FeLV and FIV, which none had. The owner was not present at the time, which was also part of the agreement.
Happy Cats now has a Siamese, 5 tabbies, a dilute tortie and a black kitty from the rescue. Four are being housed at the shelter and the others are in foster care. We had just filled our Isolation room with new intakes, so we had to break out the metal cages. One of the tabbies has a head wound that will need attention. We hope to get them better accommodations by tomorrow.
The cats are of course shell-shocked and will need emotional reassurance as well as medical care. Allison says, “The LIBR group is a class act, very professional and compassionate. It was great to see all the other rescue groups step up to help in this unfortunate situation.”
For more info, you can see the story on the KRDO website.