Those who work in animal and rescue services are accustomed to finding pets living in all sorts of conditions and with various reasons for needing rescuing. The people who have worked in the services for many years are usually not surprised by what they find on a call-out, as they have usually seen it all before. However, even seasoned rescue workers were shocked at what they found in Minnesota recently, as they were called out to 47 cats living in an overheating car.
The Call Out
The Animal Humane Society were called out after 47 cats were discovered living with their owner in a car, and a shocking photograph captured the sight of the animals all crammed into one vehicle. A passerby spotted the cats and was concerned enough to contact the relevant authorities. The cats’ owner had recently fallen on hard times and became homeless. He chose to live with them in his car as he did not want to abandon them or leave them as strays on the street. According to Ashley Pudas, an investigator for the Animal Humane Society, the man parked his vehicle at a rest stop on Interstate 35 in Harris, approximately 50 miles north of Minneapolis, says WDIO. Unfortunately, the temperature began to soar, peaking at over 90 degrees, and the car soon became an unsafe place for the animals to live. When the situation was discovered, the cats’ owner accepted that he and the cats needed some help, and he cooperated with the animal rescue workers. Pudas stated that the man realized that continuing to care for the cats in his current circumstances and understood that the heat in the car was creating dangerous and potentially fatal conditions for his pets. The cats ranged in age from under a year old to more than 12 years old. Although it is unknown exactly how long the cats were living in the car, it is believed that the man and his feline friends had been homeless for some time, and he had since been traveling between different public areas with his pets.
The Cat Rescue Mission
While many workers from the Animal Humane Society have attended many situations involving multiple animals, there are very few cases involving as many felines as this case. Surprisingly, the homeless man had already been forced to give up 14 of his cats, says The New York Post, so the total number of cats that were originally living in the car was 61. Therefore, the situation could have been even more extreme. Of course, the rescue of so many cats simultaneously posed various challenges for the Animal Humane Service. It was necessary to capture all the cats and put them into safe carriers for transportation to nearby rescue centers, and finding space for so many pets was tricky. Seeing the cats come out of the car one by one was a sight to behold for witnesses. The Chicago County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol supported the Animal Humane Society with the rescue mission. As soon as the animal welfare services arrived at the scene, they began an initial assessment of the pets. Despite the hot and cramped living conditions, most cats were in surprisingly good health. Those with some health issues only suffered from minor ailments typical of situations where multiple cats live together. For example, many were suffering from thinning or loss of hair. Another issue for many of the cats was minor lacerations and puncture wounds from bites. It is probably that these injuries were caused by the cats fighting due to their high population.
The Future for the Cats
Once the rescue team had taken the cats to the rescue centers, the staff further assessed the cats’ conditions. The Animal Humane Society then released a Facebook statement, letting concerned members of the public know that the cats were in good health despite the unsanitary living conditions and overcrowding. Before the cats are rehomed, they will all undergo further tests for illnesses. Furthermore, they will be spayed or neutered, dewormed, and vaccinated before their adoption. Once the staff has completed these procedures, the problem the rescue centers will face is rehousing the cats, although the Animal Humane Society is being supported in this by various rescue partners. With so many cats to rehouse, it could take weeks or potentially months before they all find a new forever home. For some of the animals, it will take longer than others to find someone willing to take them on. While younger cats are usually adopted quite quickly, many people are less keen to take on older cats or those with underlying health issues. Although most people may find it shocking that a man lived in a car with 61 pets, Pudas says that situations with people living with high animal populations are more common than you would expect. He claims that it is something that animal welfare organizations deal with all the time.
Often, people with multiple pets can begin to struggle to care for their pets satisfactorily. The high animal numbers can also cause them financial problems and negatively impact everyone’s standard of living. When they find themselves in this situation, some pet owners do not know what to do to make things better. Pudas encourages people to talk to the Animal Humane Society for Help before the animals begin to suffer. The organization can help them gradually reduce numbers and offer low-cost neutering services to prevent numbers from increasing. Pet owners can ring the PET Helpline for further advice and support. If finances are the only reason that pet owners are struggling and are otherwise able to offer a high population of pets with good care and a decent living standard, there are other ways that the organization can help. They offer low-cost veterinarian care to help people to keep their pets healthy.