300 Cats Discovered In Toronto Apartment Animal Hoard

over 300 cats found in home https://app.asana.com/0/32923395333443/1122255584871757/f Credit: Toronto Cat Rescue

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The city of Toronto has a limit on the number of cats you can own. That number is 6–more than some people could ever imagine having. But for one woman suffering from a severe hoarding mental disorder, her home had quite a higher number. Authorities discovered 300 cats living in her 18th floor apartment!

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

Neighbors had been complaining about the smell of cats for the past 7 years, but no one imagined a hoard this size. 

When the Toronto Animal Services (TAS) were called in, they knew they’d need as much help as they could get. One of the rescues that they work with daily is Toronto Cat Rescue (TCR). Belinda Vandersluis, the Executive Director of TCR, explains their partnership and how they help the Toronto felines.

We work with them every day to take cats from their shelters that are not doing well at the shelter, have medical or behavioural issues or otherwise unadoptable. We take all those cats.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

TCR rescues and adopts out about 2,800 cats each year. And regularly have between 200-300 cats in our programs at any one time.

Their first guesses put the number of cats around 70, and even that is an overwhelming number. The TAS enforcement officers and TCR staff and volunteers showed up on Saturday May 4th. By the end of the day, their original estimate was put to shame as 300 cats were counted in the home.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

About a dozen people were at the crowded apartment, evaluating and removing the cats. There were another dozen volunteers driving cats to foster homes and to veterinary clinics. But for the Toronto Cat Rescue team, they have a wonderfully large foster program.

We have over 1100 volunteers, and 400 foster homes in the Greater Toronto Area as well as the Kitchener Waterloo area. Our unique structure allows us to mobilize quickly in these urgent situations.

The TCR organization ended up taking 70 of the felines from the hoard into their program.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

With 300 cats living in a crowded apartment though, they were surprised at the overall health of the animals. 

Sadly, there were a few deceased cats found in the apartment. But the majority of the [surviving] cats were in surprisingly good shape. No fleas or parasites or major illness were discovered.

There were some dehydrated cats that needed veterinary care right away. And a number of pregnant Queen’s who are now delivering.

Photo Facebook Toronto Cat Rescue; Credit Dana Lear Foster Family

With pregnant cats that are undernourished or very young sometimes the litters do not fair very well compared to cats that are well cared for. We’ll see how it goes as the litters arrive. 

The 300 cats seemed to range in their ages, but many looked to be young. This could account for why they were in such good shape. Being born indoors, 18 floors up, there isn’t a way for them to get outside. The cats living or born on the streets must contend with outside influences and parasites. Something that these indoor felines were able to avoid.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

For the cats rescued from the confined apartment, their futures seem to be bright. 

The main goal for all the cats rescued is to have them eventually find forever homes. But coming from a stressful, crowded environment, they need to be socialized first. This can take months and in some cases, traumatized cats never fully recover. Fortunately, these felines seemed to be loved as well as could be, and it showed. 

These cats are surprisingly social. They are fine with humans, and many are craving attention and snuggles. We won’t need to place cats in barn program. Our foster homes are amazing at socializing and caring for cats of all sorts.

The mother cats are now starting to have their babies. They will all remain in foster care until they are old enough to be fixed and adopted out. 

While the woman will surely receive help for her mental disorder, hopefully she knows her cats are being well cared for. 

All the cats have been removed from the apartment. They are with Toronto Cat Rescue, Toronto Animal Services, Toronto Humane Society and other humane societies and rescues in Toronto.

We [TCR] are getting good reports from our foster homes. Some of the cats are shy and nervous, but many are friendly and very happy to be in a better place. We have already spayed and neutered and vaccinated many of the cats in our care. They are ready for adoption and we’re placing them in our partner pet stores.

Our average length of stay is about 7 weeks in our program, so we expect that most of these cats will be adopted by the summer.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

It was less than a week after the rescue that Toronto Cat Rescue had their first adoption of one of the cats! We’re sure with these now happy and well cared for cats and kittens, there will be lots more in the upcoming weeks. 

Please remember that hoarding is a serious mental disorder and sufferers need our support; not our judgement or criticism.

This is the second large cat hoarding situation [TCR] have been involved with in a month! It’s very important that this NOT continue. It’s a terrible way for cats to live. If you know that someone has too many cats, it is best to report it sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

Unsterilized cats breed prolifically, and with only a nine week gestation things get out of control VERY quickly. To make a report in the City of Toronto, call 311 and you will be directed to the appropriate department.

If you would like to show your support for Toronto Cat Rescue, please follow them on Facebook. Please visit their website to see how you can donate, volunteer, foster or adopt! They’re always fundraising and would love to see you at their events.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue

Thank you to all the volunteers and workers that helped the cats in this hoarding situation. Help educate people on the benefits of spaying and neutering!

Photo courtesy of Toronto Cat Rescue


Related Story: 9 Days After Woman Passes Away, Her Hoard Of More Than 40 Cats Discovered Alone In Home

Related Video: 40+ Cats/Kittens Rescued from Hoarding House

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  1. It is now 10 days since the discovery of these cats and I adopted 2 on the 8th day.It is now Monday and they have been with me since Thursday night. This morning they were both sleeping on my bed, allowing pets, eating, drinking and going to the litter box. They also rub up against my legs and purr when i pet them. They are enjoying playing with a laser and wand toys.These cats ARE sociable with patience and letting them come to you. Please consider adopting one.

  2. Thank you for the story and for reminding people that Hoarding is a Mental Illness. It is good to hear that they were in mostly good shape. I am sure they will make many families very happy.

  3. Since she was taking good care of them and loved them, she should get a few back after they are neutered.

  4. I was pleasantly surprised by how healthy they looked. Obviously an incredibly less than ideal living situation, but at least as of yet there haven’t been any major health concerns discovered. Thanks so much to the Toronto Cat Rescue and Toronto Animal Services for doing everything necessary to get these cats to better living situations

  5. Great job TCR! And thank you to C&M for highlighting their efforts! Any donation amount goes towards helping our fuzzy friends!

  6. In this instance I feel quite sorry for the hoarder – it must have taken an herculean effort to keep the apartment as clean as it looks in the photos and to care for those cats as well as she did. I have seven, and have had as many as 22 cats in the house when I had two foster litters at the same time, and I know how much work is involved in that. There must have been mounds of litter to scoop and it must have cost a fortune in food and supplies. She must have cared for them very much. i hope she’s not too traumatized at losing them and that she gets the help she needs to recover. And that she gets to keep a few of her fur babes. She should be invited to volunteer at one of the rescues who helped – perhaps helping with numbers of other cats would satisfy her need to help them and give her some perspective.

  7. You know, I couldn’t help but think that some of these beautiful cats may have belonged to people who have been searching for them for awhile, eventually they would have given up, heart broken. I hope they displayed a picture of each cat just in case they had a home and a person who loved them and had been searching for them. IAM so glad these kitties were all discovered and rescued. And it sounds like the lady who had them in her apartment got some much needed help. Can you imagine….some of these poor cats have NEVER seen, or smelled the fresh outdoor air! What a great story. I hope every kitty gets a great home! Bless them all… xoxo 💓🐈

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Written by JessiCAT

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