TORONTO – An animal rescue group says more than 60 cats need immediate medical attention after being rescued from a Toronto apartment in “deplorable condition.”
Toronto Cat Rescue says the Ragdoll and Himalayan cats were removed from a one-bedroom apartment by Toronto Animal Services and brought to the shelter last week.
The cats suffered through a “terrible hoarding case,” rescue staff said. Their owner reported and surrendered them after she was hospitalized and realized she could no longer care for them.
Heather Brown, executive director of Toronto Cat Rescue, said many of the cats have skin lesions, rotting and broken teeth, upper respiratory infections and eye infections. But the first priority for each cat is shaving it down to the skin. Their coats are completely matted with urine and feces, she said, which causes them severe pain.
“They’re terrified, obviously. They have no idea what’s happening to them,” Brown said. “But already we’re seeing signs that they’re grateful. As we’re shaving them they’re purring, and just so happy to get some relief from the discomfort.”
Brown said most of the cats they’ve taken in are older ones, between three and 10 years of age. It’s difficult to gauge how long they had been cooped up in the apartment, Brown said, but it’s likely they’ve been suffering for years.
“It would take a really long time for the extent of matting these cats have,” she said. “It’s certainly not something that happens overnight or in a matter of a couple of weeks.”
Brown said the Ragdoll and Himalayan breeds are typically gentle, large and fluffy, although it will take time for the cats’ distinctive personalities to emerge.
Most of the cats are still being assessed by animal services officers, but those in the worst condition have been taken to veterinary clinics for surgeries.
Toronto Cat Rescue is calling for donations and foster applications, saying the treatment for each cat will cost an average of $150.
After the cats recover from surgery and are weaned off painkillers, they could be eligible for adoption in two or three weeks, Brown said. Each cat will be vaccinated, de-wormed and spayed or neutered before being put up for adoption.