Just north of Washington D.C. in Montgomery County, Maryland, rescuers and the community have been working to save up to 50 Himalayan cats. Late summer is hot and peak kitten season, but now the rescuers are experiencing a very unusual mystery: a strange wave of fluffy house cats with such pretty blue eyes.
In late August, volunteer TNR (trap, neuter, return) rescuers from the Montgomery County Community Cat Coalition (MC C³), who generally prioritize outdoor community cats, responded to a call by park police to rescue six Himalayans in Wheaton Park. According to the rescue’s post, Lieutenant Gratton joined the rescuers to catch the frightened felines.
These cats obviously weren’t feral but seemed used to being indoors, not savvy street cats. One suspects a large-scale breeder dumped them to fend for themselves. But why?
“The cats and kittens were scared and hungry, but otherwise in good shape,” MC C³ shared.
After catching the kitties, they received veterinary care and found foster homes until they can find permanent homes.
A Wave of Himalayan Cats Keeps Coming
After taking in the first wave of Himalayans, people kept finding more. Another clowder of cats took refuge in a separate park and the Kemp Mill neighborhood.
Soon, there were 33 of them, and they kept finding more! That’s when the local news helped raise awareness, which led to finding even more Himalayans as people spotted them.
Some of the Himalayans Had Feline Panleukopenia
Weeks later, residents are still spotting the cats; unfortunately, some have died. According to a Facebook post, at least seven cats tested positive for feline panleukopenia(often called feline distemper). Therefore, the rescuers urged anyone who took in one of the Himalayans to isolate them from other cats to avoid infection.
Citizens are Searching for More Cats
The always-busy rescuers continue to help the Himalayans with help from many concerned citizens actively searching the area. In some cases, people have adopted the cats or brought them to area shelters. So, the actual number of these cats could be higher than 50. It’s a community effort to save them all, with individual rescues sometimes taking many days of effort.
“We are determined to save as many lives as possible,” MC C³ volunteer Beverly Caragher said.
Solving the Himalayan Cat Mystery
An investigation into where the Himalayan cats came from is underway by the Maryland-National Capital Park Police and animal control. What prompted somebody to dump these pretty cats? Could it be related to an outbreak of Panleuk?
“Anyone with information about the cats is asked to contact Maryland-National Capital Park Police at 301-949-8010. If you wish to report a cat sighting or need help with trapping, email email@example.com,” shared ABC7.
‘We are Trapping More Each Day’
Some of the beautiful cats are still looking for homes. Since some have had Panleuk or FPV, they will need to find homes without other cat siblings to avoid infection. However, homes with friendly dogs or other pets are fine since it’s not transmissible except to other cats.
“There are a limited number of Himalayans available at this time. However, we are trapping more each day. We appreciate your willingness to help. We also have other wonderful cats that would love to have a forever home or foster,” shared MC C³.