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260 Cats Rescued From ‘Crazy Cat House’ in Philadelphia

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260 Cats Rescued From ‘Crazy Cat House’ in Philadelphia

In northeast Philadelphia there is a sign on a fence outside of a home that reads, “I’m the crazy cat lady. And this is the crazy cat house.”

I consider myself (and so do many others) to be a Crazy Cat Lady, and I wear this badge with honor. But unlike the woman living in this Philly home, I do not share my abode with 260 cats, nor does my house smell like a giant cat urinal. I believe there is an important distinction between a healthy and unhealthy level of “cat craziness” – and when the cats’ or owners’ health is in jeopardy, there’s a problem.

Unfortunately, the crazy cat house became too much for her neighbors and the authorities were alerted to the rapidly deteriorating conditions of the woman’s home. The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that officials had been working with the owner of the northeast Philadelphia property, who actually had a license to run an animal shelter for several weeks, but finally the 260 cats had to be removed by officers wearing respirators. It took an entire day to capture all of the cats and transport them to SPCA’s north Philadelphia shelter, where veterinarians examined them.



The elderly woman, who was not identified, said she started a non-profit shelter called Animals in Crisis in 2002 in response to the great number of homeless cats in Philadelphia. However, over the years she claimed she became overwhelmed and unable to care for so many cats.

“This is a sad situation involving a woman who wanted to help animals but got in over her head and couldn’t provide the care this number of cats requires,” said CEO Jerry Buckley of PetSmart Charities who was providing some of the resources needed to handle the influx of so many cats at one time to the Philadelphia SPCA. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure the wellbeing of these cats.”

Recently, the PSPCA announced that their investigation of Animals in Crisis is still ongoing but they will likely file charges against the woman in the near future. All of the cats are healthy enough to go to new homes have been put up for adoption.

Can You Have Too Many Cats?
How Do You Help a Cat Hoarder?

Next page – videos examining the psychology and stories of pet hoarders

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


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12:16PM PST on Jan 26, 2015

Poor kitties! I didn't see this when it was new, so I hope all these kitties are now in good homes living a normal life.

5:09AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

It is a thin line between rescuing and hoarding. It's easy to be carried away. I am not sure this mowan is a bad one, but animals suffered from a lack of common sense. I am glad all of the cats have been rescued.

12:09PM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

The lady needed to be a little selfish and think about herself too.

8:12AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

I want to take in every cat who needs love and a home, but my husband won't let me! He made me stop at 5, but then he brings home an abandoned baby kitten 4 weeks ago. I bottle fed her every 4 hours, so there is no way I am letting her go somewhere else.
Now, we have to stop!! Our bed was crowded before with 5 cats and us in it.

8:01AM PDT on Jul 3, 2014

Terrible, terrible woman. Should be locked up for the rest of her life.

2:43PM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

sad story. you want to help all or as many as you can but you also have to provide for these animals

11:59AM PDT on May 26, 2014

I really believe these people, hoarders, want to help animals but get lost at some point :(

4:16AM PDT on May 20, 2014

Make this a punishable crime. It is downright irresponsible to hoard animals unless you're prepared to look after them all.

4:15AM PDT on May 20, 2014

Make this a punishable crime. It is downright irresponsible to hoard animals unless you're prepared to look after them all.

12:24PM PDT on May 17, 2014

It is easy to let your good intentions to overtake common sense. When you see an animal that needs help it is hard to say no and leave it in the horrible situation. I can see how it happens but the problem is people don't know to ask for help or won't ask for help. Many sanctuaries now are no kill so the treat of euthanization is much, much lower.

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