More than 90 cats were returned Tuesday from a home in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, in “difficult” condition after their overwhelmed owner could no longer care for them.
Tewksbury Animal Control responded to the home and the cats, aged between six months and around 10 years old, were voluntarily abandoned by their owner, an MSPCA spokesperson told Nevins Farm.
Officials have not named the owner but say he was desperate for help.
“This is a case where one of the owners had passed away and the surviving spouse simply couldn’t care for all of those cats, especially as their health issues became more serious, and [he] desperately needed help,” said Meaghan O’Leary, MSPCA Operations Manager at Nevins Farm.
An MSPCA spokesperson at Nevins Farm said 32 of the cats had arrived at Methuen Animal Shelter, with the remaining 59 cats being sent to various agencies including Tewksbury Animal Control.
“We are fortunate to be able to help in these situations, and our only intention is to help the cats heal and then place them in loving homes,” O’Leary said.
Shelter officials say these cats have significant medical needs that will need attention before they can be placed in new homes, prompting a call for donations at Nevins Farm.
After veterinary examinations, it was revealed that 29 of the cats placed at Nevins Farm suffered from upper respiratory infections and all 32 had painful and itchy mites, as well as periodontal disease.
“Furthermore, the majority [of the cats] suffered severe and irreversible eye changes from untreated infections, including eyelids stuck to the cornea and old ulcers, and some lost at least one eye,” O’Leary said.
The veterinary team plans to test for ringworm later this week and the results of those tests, along with their response to treatment for respiratory infections, will determine whether they will be available for adoption or require further treatment. .
O’Leary said it’s too early to predict when the cats will be available for adoption, but the organization hopes to have an update the week of February 28.
“As well as dealing with their health issues, we will be ensuring that everyone is spayed, neutered, microchipped and up to date on their vaccinations – and that will take some time given the numbers,” O’Leary said.
An MSPCA spokesperson says the cats’ medical needs are expected to reach $10,000, and Nevins Farm officials are hoping donors can come forward to help offset the cost of that care. Anyone wishing to donate can do so on the MSPCA website.
Once the cats are ready for new homes, potential adopters will be able to apply at mspca.org/nevinsadopt.