It started with an act of kindness and ended with an apartment jammed with 75 cats. A big-hearted Bronx man, who was struggling with lymphoma, watched helplessly as the 15 felines he rescued more than a year ago multiplied into a clowder of cats. Last week, ASPCA workers ventured into the two-bedroom apartment and corralled the kitties as they hid under furniture and cowered in closets.
“Having more than 70 cats in an apartment is not going to be a good situation,” said Allison Cardona, director of the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program. “We recommend one litter box per cat and that’s not going to be possible with that many cats.”
The Bronx man, who asked not to be identified, had sought help without success. Cardona said he was a volunteer 9/11 first responder with a background in construction work. It wasn’t until he ended up in the hospital for a lung transplant that a social worker contacted the ASPCA. He had arranged for the cats to be fed in his absence.
“This is someone who was reaching out but didn’t know where to turn,” said Cardona. “He was trying to get the cats spayed and neutered but was too sick.” Cats can produce one to three litters a year with an average of four to six kittens per litter, ASPCA officials said.
All the cats are currently receiving treatment in veterinary facilities. Cardona said she is confident most of them will be available for adoptions in the coming weeks.