More than 90 cats were surrendered Tuesday from a home in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, in "rough" condition after their overwhelmed owner could no longer care for them.
Tewksbury Animal Control responded to the home, and the cats, who range in age from six months to about 10 years, were voluntarily surrendered by their owner, a spokesperson for MSPCA at Nevins Farm said.
Officials have not named the owner but say he was desperate for help.
“This is a case where one of the owners had died and the surviving spouse just could not take care of all these cats, especially as their health issues got more serious, and [he] was desperate for help,” said Meaghan O’Leary, director of operations for the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.
A spokesperson for MSPCA at Nevins Farm said 32 of the cats have arrived at the animal shelter in Methuen, with the other 59 cats sent to different agencies, including Tewksbury Animal Control.
“We’re fortunate to be able to help in these situations, and our sole intention is to help the cats heal and then place them into loving homes,” O'Leary said.
Shelter officials say these cats have significant medical needs that will require attention before they can be placed into new homes, which has prompted a call for donations to Nevins Farm.
After veterinary exams, it was revealed that 29 of the cats placed at Nevins Farm are suffering from upper respiratory infections, and all 32 of them have painful, itchy ear mites, as well as periodontal disease.
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“Moreover, the majority [of the cats] have experienced severe, irreversible eye changes as a result of untreated infections—including eyelids adhered to corneas and old ulcers, and some are missing at least one eye,” said O’Leary.
The veterinary team plans to test for ringworm later this week and the results of those tests, as well as how well they are responding to treatment for respiratory infections, will determine whether they will be available for adoption, or whether they'll require further treatment.
O’Leary said it is too early to predict when the cats will be made available for adoption, but the organization hopes to have an update the week of Feb. 28.
“In addition to treating their health issues we’ll ensure that all are spayed, neutered, microchipped and up to date on their vaccinations—and that will take some time given how many there are,” O'Leary said.
According to an MSPCA spokesperson, the cats’ medical care needs are expected to reach $10,000, and Nevins Farm officials are hoping donors may step forward to help offset the cost of this care. Anyone wishing to donate can do so on the MSPCA's website.
Once the cats are ready for new homes, would-be adopters will be able to apply at mspca.org/nevinsadopt.