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‘We believe this is a true hoarding situation’: More than 100 cats removed from Toronto home

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WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Cat Rescue says more than 100 cats have been removed from a house in the city – Mar 26, 2019

More than 100 cats believed to be involved in a “true hoarding situation” have been removed from a Toronto home and taken to foster homes and veterinary clinics.

In a Facebook post, Toronto Cat Rescue said it responded to a “very sad hoarding situation.” The group said more than 50 cats were removed from the home over the weekend and brought into the not-for-profit organization’s care.

“We believe this is a true hoarding situation. This person was not out collecting cats. They were in a situation where they had a few cats, [the cats] were never spayed or neutered and they kept procreating,” said Toronto Cat Rescue’s executive director Belinda Vandersluis, adding that it is believed that the cats were bred inside the home, which is why there were so many.
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“They look very similar to each other. You can see [the cats] all over the counters and the stairs and they just filled the house.”

Vandersluis said the cycle can happen quite quickly and the situation can become unmanageable.

“It really is one of those situations that if you have cats that are not spayed or neutered in the same home … they are inevitably going to create kittens that are unwanted and those kittens are going to grow up and become cats and thy cycle perpetuates itself,” she said.

The 50 cats that were removed were taken to foster homes or clinics to be treated. While some of the cats are doing well, others are still trying to adjust to the move.

“Generally, they are not in too bad shape — no serious diseases or serious injuries,” said Vandersluis.

“There are lots of regular things that you would expect to encounter. They have fleas and have to be de-wormed, none of them have been spayed or neutered. They need to vaccinated.”

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Two of the cats are currently pregnant. The remaining cats were being treated and housed by Toronto Animal Services and the Toronto Humane Society.

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“We have sent two of our experts to the home. We have [a] feline behaviourist and one of our feline trainers there. We are working with other organizations — Toronto Animal Service and Toronto Cat Rescue — to assess the cats and determine which organization the cats will go to,” said Toronto Humane Society spokesperson Makyla Deleo.
“[The cats] will go through our regular intake procedure and it will likely expedited.”

The cats that are being cared for by the Toronto Cat Rescue have not been adopted yet, but Vanderslius said a lot of people have expressed an interest.

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“We have had a lot of people reach out to us to both foster — opening their homes to foster — we have an application process for that and a screening process for that,” said Vandersluis.

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“We have had people reach out to adopt these cats. The list is growing. It will be a little bit of time before those cats are ready. They have to be assessed and have their surgeries. They have to be socialized and then we will have those cats ready.”

Vanderslius said it will likely six to 12 weeks before the cats get placed in foster homes.

Toronto Animal Services spokesperson Mary Lou Leiher said the homeowner initially contacted staff for help in early March.

“She reached out for help and this isn’t a situation where we are wanting to lay charges or seize animals … She’s surrendering the animals and co-operating,” Leiher said, adding charges won’t be laid.

“The cats are in fair condition and they are pretty social. We don’t have any animal care concerns right now.”

READ MORE: Spay-neuter clinic may be answer to feral cat problem, say Kingston rescues

The City of Toronto allows a maximum of six cats per household, but Vandersluis stressed it’s easy for the number to grow.

“This isn’t the only time this has ever happened, and it’s not the last time it will happen,” she said.

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“The City of Toronto has a six-cat limit, which is already a lot of cats in a household. So people really need to be educated and aware that there are services to help (such as) low-cost spay and neuter, and vet care is important for cats as well, and there are lots of options.”

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