Nearly 50 cats found living in stuffy and unsanitary conditions inside a vehicle at a far north metro rest area on Tuesday are now in the care of the Animal Humane Society.
Deputies from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office and State Patrol responded to a rest area along Interstate 35 near Harris, Minnesota after receiving a call about cats at the inside the vehicle on the hottest day of the year. Humane Society officers arrived and removed them, Humane Society spokeswoman Mary Tan said.
The 47 cats ranging in age from less than a year to over 12 had “only minor medical issues” despite the extreme heat and unsanitary conditions inside the vehicle, Tan said. They were taken to veterinary care at the Coon Rapids shelter. Veterinary and animal behavior staff will examine and assess the felines.
“Once all medical and behavioral issues have been resolved, the cats will be neutered and released for adoption,” Tan said.
The cats are believed to have been living in the vehicle with their owner for some time and had not received any malicious treatment, said Humane Society investigator Ashley Pudas.
“He loved these cats and had a name for each of them,” Pudas said. “They were his babies.”
Pudas said the man had been kicked out of his home and was making the best of a “horrific situation”.
“He had nowhere to go and he didn’t want to leave the animals behind,” she said.
The cats’ owner was assessed at the scene by paramedics and provided with medical resources, the Humane Society said.
Pudas assured the man that the felines would be well cared for.
“We have great staff who love them,” she said.
By Tuesday, as many as 14 additional cats that had been living in the vehicle had been turned over to a local rescue organization, Tan said.