A rescue group removed 67 cats discovered in an elderly man’s mobile home in Salisbury the day before Thanksgiving and is hoping to find new homes for all of them.
The felines — 41 adults and 26 kittens — make up the largest collection of cats the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society has ever taken in at one time, said Liz Pease, the society’s executive director.
“They’re remarkably healthy” considering the dangerous conditions they were living in, she said Monday. “They’re very nice cats.”
Their owner had been feeding them macaroni and cheese. “He clearly, in his own way, cared about these animals,” Pease said.
The 84-year-old resident has since returned to his home, which has been cleaned up, Police Chief Tom Fowler said. No charges will be filed because no crime was committed, he said.
“We’re trying to get him the services he needs so he can live there,” Fowler said.
The hoarding situation was discovered Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, when the rescue group received an anonymous tip that there were nearly 100 cats living in the small home on Hayes Street, the society said in a press release.
Shelter manager Britney Fox Hover notified the town’s animal control officer, Steve Maher, who went to the property and found dozens upon dozens of cats and kittens living there, the statement said.
Staff and volunteers from the local nonprofit spent the next six hours removing as many of the terrified animals as they could.
“It was a really amazing team effort,” Hover said.
Their cat-catching efforts paid off: On Wednesday night, 56 of the animals were brought to the society’s adoption center in Salisbury.
“The rest have been trickling in one at a time,” she said. Eleven more stragglers were recovered over the next few days, Pease said.
“It looks like that’s going to be it, we hope,” she said. “We basically doubled our shelter population with these cats.”
The cats and kittens have been examined by the society’s veterinarian and are receiving vaccinations, and the healthy adults have been getting spayed and neutered. “They seem to be in pretty good shape,” Pease said. “We feel very lucky about that.”
The society hopes to find new homes for the cats and kittens. Those interested can fill out a questionnaire on the society’s website.
“We’d like to see as many [as] possible in homes for the holidays,” Pease said.