City officials in Albany, NY responded to a complaint over a foul odor, only to find that the smell was coming from an abandoned house on Orange Street, where more than 90 cats and two Rottweilers were residing.
The city quickly moved to condemn the house after animal control rescued about two dozen cats, after which no one could legally return inside to get more.
Enter Orange Street Cats, a group of concerned citizens who couldn’t let the welfare of the animals inside go, and resolved to rescue them before the building was demolished.
Rescuers got wind of the situation when the cats’ caretaker brought 15 of the cats and two dogs to one of the team members and asked for help getting the remaining “handful” out, according to Diane Metz, one of the volunteers. That team member began calling all of the cat people she knew, who in turn called more and the team was born.
“They chose none of this, and deserve to find forever homes where they will be cherished and loved and cared for,” said Metz.
Photos showing the conditions of the dilapidated building are pretty self explanatory as to why no one could turn a blind eye to the animals’ plight.
Lara Delamater, one of the volunteers, said, “I personally walked through the house…there were cats in rafters trying to seek safety from the inches of feces on the floor. Thousands of flies swirled around and the stench was suffocating, even with a mask.”
“[There were] discarded containers of empty cat litter, litter boxes overflowing with excrement,” she continued. “No water bowls, no food bowls, just scared sick animals trying to survive.”
Rescuers also found that there was more than just a “handful” of cats.
They began trapping cats whenever they could at the end of July and brought them to a makeshift shelter at the home of Sarah Harris and other foster homes in the area, as all of the shelters were full.
In all, 72 more cats were rescued on top of the ones animal control pulled out. They believe that as of last week all of the cats are out, but suspect that there may be one straggler, who they’re still trying to save.
“We are working furiously to get them all out of cages and into foster homes, so they can learn to be cats again!” said Metz.
The caretaker, who reportedly tried several avenues for help to no avail after becoming overwhelmed, helped rescuers identify the cats.
Rottie Empire Rescue took in the two dogs, provided their health care and found them a foster home.
The group has also received help from the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, Normanside Veterinary Clinic, Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital and the group Animal Lovers.
It looks like so far five of the cats have found forever homes, but the rest are still waiting. The group is also looking for foster homes and help with the cost of veterinary care and supplies, which they’re covering.
“These wonderful friendly cats are very deserving of all the support and generosity that has come their way. We are thankful for everyone who has offered whatever support they are able and hope that others can join us in this effort,” said Metz.
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