BENEFITING: THE CAT POSSE
CATS RESCUED FROM UNOCCUPIED HOARDER HOME NEED FUNDS FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES. (We are still adding photos, so please check back to see progress of more cats.)
Earlier this year, approximately 37 cats were locked in a Highland home that reportedly had been unoccupied for approximately five years prior. The house had not been cleaned in many years. Litter was not scooped, nor was a litter box replaced. There was no running water, electricity, heat, air conditioning or open windows for ventilation. Natural light was so limited that much of the home was dim or dark even during the day. The air was toxic with five years of urine and feces that could not break down normally due to lack of light and air circulation. Though excrement and urine peppered the floors throughout, the designated “litterboxes” appeared to be a room that was several inches deep in feces and a bathtub filled with the same. Cat food was brought in once every other day.
In Oct. 2014, Code Enforcement had red-tagged the house and after that, Animal Control was notified. It was not until Jan. 2015 that Marin County-based Cat Angel Network (CAN), a non-profit cat rescue, was contacted by the property owner who was concerned about the welfare of the cats. CAN supports rescue in the San Bernardino area.
A team of four volunteered to go in the house to get the cats. Some cats lived inside a sofa; some inside a set of box springs; others in various rooms. In February 2015, on the first day of rescue, the property owner took one cat from the house. Due to the cats’ fear of humans, most remaining cats had to be caught in live (humane) traps. Over a period of weeks, the remaining 33 terrified cats and kittens were trapped by our small team and taken into rescue with ages ranging from a few months to seven years old. Three deceased cats were found in the house as well. Near-term, pregnant calico HOPE gave birth to four kittens shortly after. Initially, all cats were infested with fleas. Many had worms and other parasites and URIs. A few were very sick. Both FLASH and KAYLA were critically ill. Flash is still getting followup medical care.
EMMA—who won the hearts of the vet hospital staff and her foster family—had an eye condition so severe she could not open her eyes. She has received medical treatment, but needs eye specialist care. Emma has coccidia, ringworm, and a herpes infection in her eyes.
Miraculously, Hope's kittens are well-developed and do not appear injured by the environment in which their mother lived. However, they are being treated for parasites and ringworm. They will be ready for vaccinations and shots soon.
BEN, covered in sores and widespread, painful inflammation had lost about 67 – 75% of his coat. He was so emaciated that his skin was concave around and beneath his spine. Two and a half months later, some of his coat has returned and he has gained two pounds. However, a little over half his coat has not returned yet. His prognosis is good, but he still needs followup medical care until his skin is fully healed.
Immediately upon rescue, many cats were spayed/neutered and vaccinated, but some were not due to health conditions or age, so adoption-ready medical must be provided for them at the appropriate time.
It was heartbreaking to see the cats living in near-darkness, terrified, sick and without medical care, deprived of clean air and daylight, being fed only once every two days. Early in the rescue, Animal Control suggested that the cats would likely be euthanized on intake if taken to the local shelter. We felt that after having suffered, imprisoned in a dark place for years, the cats deserved to have a good life.
Due to the urgency to keep ahead of Code Enforcement and Animal Control, the cats had to come out as quickly as they could be trapped. The cats feared humans, but fosters have worked with them, teaching them to trust humans. Some began to socialize in a couple weeks. Others took two months or more. A few may never learn to trust, or may simply need more time, but all deserve a good life. Those that are socialized now are joyful, playful kitties that look forward to mealtimes, toys, open windows, clean beds and their humans. We got to see cats, such as JOSH, as they learned to play with toys for the first time!
This project has come a long way because of teamwork in the rescue community. Money is tight in rescue, but many were willing to do something to help. In addition to the support of CAN and rescue volunteers, Operation Blankets of Love loaned us large cages (needed for socialization) and generously donated food and other supplies. The Rescue Train sponsored a couple spay/neuters. Actors and Others (L.A.) donated toward initial spay/neuters performed at Arrowview Animal Hospital (San Bernardino). Stray Cat Alliance (L.A.) and Cat Posse (Altadena) loaned us traps and cages, and Cat Posse has also provided ongoing assistance. Arrowview Animal Hospital (San Bernardino) provided low-cost rates and donated some boarding and other services.
Many generous donations covered preliminary medical care and some cats have since been placed with homes. Many cats are still in foster care with some needing medical treatment for skin and eye conditions and infections, as well as vaccines, spay/neuter and other adoption-ready medical. The rescuers and fosters are providing food, litter, supplies, gas, and a tremendous amount of labor and love. We desperately need donations to pay for medical expenses.
If you believe these Highland cats deserve great life, or if you appreciate the hard work of those that rescued and are fostering the cats, would you please support them with a donation toward medical care? A donation in any amount will help. We welcome you to sign up as a team member and raise donations.
If funds received exceed those needed for Highland cat medical expenses, those additional funds will be applied to medical care for animals rescued by 501(c)(3) organizations.