25 Cats Living In Hoard Rescued When Fire Breaks Out; Happily Moving On Thanks To CARF

Some very lucky cats who narrowly escaped a fire in Illinois have warmed the hearts of their rescuers.

Back in March of 2018, a raging 5-alarm fire in an apartment complex on the north side of Chicago broke out around 8:30 pm. All the residents in the 72 unit building were evacuated as the fire spread through the walls on 2 of the 5 floors. It took fireman about an hour to extinguish the blaze that they determined began in a plumbing wall. Thankfully only 1 person had minor injuries but some resident felines were not as fortunate.

Photo: Facebook Chicago Fire Media; Brave firefighters exiting the building after successfully extinguishing the blaze.

Sadly one of the residents was found to have at least 35 cats living in her small home, some as young as newborns. Devastatingly only 25 of the felines were rescued from tragedy. A few of the cats that made it out of the inferno with their lives will wear permanent scars. 

Thankfully the owner signed the remaining cats over to multiple rescue organizations including CARF: The Critical Animal Relief Foundation, so they could receive the care and medical attention they badly needed. Fosterers and medical staff would welcome the traumatized the cats into their homes and hearts.

Experiencing the worst of the injuries was a shy chocolate-brown female, named S’mores.

She was lucky to have one of the veterinarians from Village West Veterinary, the founder of CARF’s own vet clinic, fostering her to watch over her difficult recovery.

Photos: Facebook CARF: The Critical Animal Relief Foundation

S’mores had suffered severe burns on her ear and paws. On April 4th, the team shared a nerve-wracking update on her.

She had been fighting a fever for 5 days and wasn’t eating so they’d been syringe feeding her and giving her fluids through an IV. The brave fighter was also put on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications for infections.

Through it all, she still loved snuggling with her favorite toys, receiving face massages and proved even with toasty paws, she could still “make biscuits” with no issues.

After a few days, S’mores was finally feeling a bit better. No doubt with the help of her candy-striper zebra and a fluffy sheep sent by a caring supporter of the group! =)

Photo: Facebook Bruce E. Silverman

She wasn’t out of danger yet though.

The sweet girl’s burns were so bad that surgery was eventually required to remove the infected tissue. This sadly included losing an ear and one of her toes. Volunteers were ecstatic when S’mores still showed love and snuggles, despite all she’d experienced.

Photos: Facebook CARF: The Critical Animal Relief Foundation

While S’mores was battling infections and burns, another cat named Parker was also coping with the after-effects of the hoarding situation and fire.

Photos: Facebook Allison Tarr

On April 13th, CARF took in Parker, a beautiful grey girl who had been under the watchful eye of vets and medical personal since the fire. She was experiencing very bad skin issues from the environment she’d been living in.

One of the CARF volunteers had taken a special interest in Parker. For her birthday, Allison Tarr raised $740 for the lucky cat to help with her recovery! With the donations from her birthday fund, Parker is sure to start the next year of her life with hope and eventually a new furever home.

Photos: Facebook Allison Tarr

Another pair of rescued cats arrived at the center, happily having avoided injury from the flames and now out of the inhumane conditions.

From the moment they arrived at CARF, Ash and Cinder spread their joy and love to everyone they met.

Photos: Facebook CARF: The Critical Animal Relief Foundation

The girls were both about 5 months old and without the ongoing recovery their “sisters” were enduring, were able to be put up for adoption in a short time.

On April 22nd, the adorable black and grey duo were scooped up together by one lucky family! It’s a wonderful thing that the girls were able to take the next steps of their life as a pair.

Photos: Facebook CARF: The Critical Animal Relief Foundation

Just last week, CARF were pleased to announce more happy news about S’mores.

After several surgeries which required numerous trips to and from the vets office at Village West, S’mores captured the heart of her foster mom. Nursing the loving cat back from her horrific ordeal, there was no way she could let the cat go and S’mores will stay with her fur-ever! A purr-fect ending to a long and difficult chapter for S’mores. =)

Photos: Facebook CARF: The Critical Animal Relief Foundation

Lots of great reminders to give – and keep – all cherished fur-babies from experiencing heartbreaking situations this this ! 

*Spay/Neuter your pets!

*Adopt Don’t Shop!

*Support your local rescue organizations!

*Fire Prevention Safety for your pets! 

*If you see something, say something! It’s not likely someone can hide the smell or sounds from 35 cats in an apartment building without anyone noticing. 

The ads on this site allow us to raise the necessary funds to continue helping cats in need.

Thank you FUR your support!

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  1. I think it’s important to remember that most hoarders are kind-hearted people who genuinely love cats & think they are helping those in their possession. Unfortunately, mental illness prevents them from seeing the truth — that both they & the cats are trapped in an appalling & overwhelming situation. Pray for happy resolutions for all involved. Bless them for trying to do what would be the right thing, if only it was in a scaled-down form. ? ? ?

    • Dear H. Calvert, You have stated the core of this heartbreaking hoarding situation. Mental Health and Welfare support is most often the vital missing component in the lives of most animal hoarders. It is heartwarming to read about the positive support and outcomes for most of the cats and, hopefully, the human being involved received the appropriate supportive interventions, as well.

  2. Ah, I hope the hoarder was able to get help for whatever made them think 35 cats in a small apartment was okay (or, maybe they knew they needed help). The fire and death of some of the cats are sad. It’s great that Ash and Cinder were adopted together!

  3. You did a wonderful job with this story. I am with Parker right now at my animal hospital. She is a wonderful girl with SO much character, it’s incredible. She prances around during the day when she’s not napping, and tries her best to lick my hair and disrupt my computer work at night after we close when she’s “helping me” with my desk work.. To think that she might have perished in the smoke and fire is such a disconcerting thought. I can’t imagine the last moments and hours for those innocent cats and kittens who perished – their fear and suffering. But the compassion we’ve heard from those at the scene at least brings comfort that everyone involved truly wanted to save every life possible. Rescuing unclaimed souls and saving lives is a commitment that so many of us share. Providing homes for the homeless is a blessing to offer. Thank you to everyone who does their part.

    • Thank you so very much for that and for everything that you and CARF / Village West Vets are doing for all animals =) Please be sure to give them all some extra snuggles from the entire CaM Family! We were told that one of the fireman even followed up asking how the cats were doing and it’s just so heartwarming to hear!

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