When cat rescuers at the Celia Hammond Animal Trust in the UK got a call, they learned that “more than five cats” needed help. But when they arrived, it turned out to be 49 ginger cats and kittens! All were living in one filthy home in southeast London.
“Our Lewisham center has taken in a large family of cats after their elderly owner became unwell and needed help,” they shared on Facebook.
In a call from health services, they learned the cats’ human had to go to the hospital for an operation. But he wouldn’t go “until he knew that his beloved cats were safe.”
“They told us that he had “more than five cats,” the Trust continued.
For the rescuers, this news came at their busiest time of year, summertime. Unfortunately, this puts their Lewisham center under considerable strain.
The rescue center is “almost always full to capacity,” caring for numerous domestic and feral cats, according to their website.
Below is one of the cute ginger kittens that they saved from the home.
49 Ginger Cats and Kittens in One Home
When staff from the Lewisham center arrived, they soon saw the “situation had got completely out of hand.” Most of the cats were not spayed or neutered. As a result, they were breeding and producing kittens faster than the man could find homes for them. Meanwhile, the home was filthy.
“Conditions in his home were really poor, amongst the worst we have seen in a long time. There were overflowing dirty litter trays, the cats had destroyed the furniture, the house roof was leaking, and everything was fithy dirty,” they stated.
Some of the more nervous cats were hiding out in the upstairs area of the home. Fortunately, none of the cats were starving. From the looks of it, all were adorable.
“The cats…were all well fed, but their owner had more cats than he could possibly manage, and numbers were growing. The ‘more than five’ eventually added up to be forty-nine cats and kittens – mainly shy ginger adult cats up to middle age.”
Work Begins to Save All 49 Ginger Cats and Kittens
After the cats’ human was assured the animals would be ok, he went to the hospital. Then, the rescuers went to work caring for all of the “mainly shy ginger adult cats.”
All the cats were neutered while the young kittens went into foster care. Three adult cats and five kittens found new homes as the rescuers tried to adopt them. Whenever possible, they adopt the cats in pairs.
Also, one cat was blind with a broken leg that had healed incorrectly, leaving the kitty with a “permanent limp.”
When the cats’ human returned from the hospital, he would stay with a relative as he recovered. Possibly, he might reunite with a select few of the cats sometime in the future. But first, he would have to restore the home to clean, livable conditions. Also, he would need to demonstrate that he could care for the cats properly.
How Quickly Things Get Out of Control
On Facebook, one person commented:
“If anything shows that neutering and spaying are vital in cat care it’s this.”
In response, the Trust said:
“Agreed! Things can get out of control so quickly.”
The Celia Hammond Trust shares more about how quickly things can get out of hand in multi-cat households on their website. In another case, someone in East London got two cats and ended up with 24 cats – in just two years.
“The cats had kittens and then the cats kittens had kittens and he now had 24 cats,” they wrote.
After a threat from a landlord, the owner locked out all of the “pretty semi-longhaired cats.” Left starving outside, neighbors called the rescuers, and they took the poor kitties to their East Sussex sanctuary.
More About the Celia Hammond Animal Trust
The Celia Hammond Animal Trust, founded by the former top model, has saved thousands of animals yearly in the UK since Hammond founded it in 1986. The Lewisham veterinary clinic is the country’s first low-cost neutering and vaccination clinic that opened in ’95.
With an estimated 2 million stray cats n UK streets, the rescuers always have their hands full. During the pandemic, the Trust and other animal charities suffered considerable financial setbacks and challenges.