Animal protection officers rescued more than 60 cats from a home in Chattanooga.
Investigators say the animals are extremely sick from living in such "deplorable conditions."
However, the owner isn't facing any charges. She surrendered all 61 cats to the Humane Educational Society on Tuesday, telling them she was trying to care for the animals, but realized she was in over her head.
"They all have upper respiratory infections. Some of the cats are actually missing an eye," explained Taylor Hixson, HES.
The animals were rescued from a hoarder's home. HES said the rooms were packed, floor to ceiling, with clothing and other items.
Officers said the smell of cat feces and urine was overwhelming.
"A lot of them have urine burn on their feet, just from being confined in the home and walking in their own feces," Hixson said.
A neighbor tipped off officers after complaining about sick cats running rampant through the neighborhood.
Right now, most of the animals are being treated for severe upper respiratory infections. Many of them were in such bad shape, their eyes were glued shut.
"Even though I do believe (the owner) was trying, the animals were just very, very sick and it's lucky that we intervened when we did," said Hixson.
The woman voluntarily surrendered the cats, so HES is not pursuing any charges against her.
Volunteers hope they can turn this situation into a better future for the animals.
"We're hoping to see it turn around and see them all get healthy and find great homes," Hixson said.
HES is asking for donations to help treat the cats, and volunteers to help foster some of them until they're healthy enough for adoption.
To help, contact HES at (423) 624-5302 ext. 236 or e-mail email@example.com.
In a press release, the Humane Education Society reported that its Animal Protection Officers retrieved 61 cats and kittens living in deplorable conditions from a home on Maplewood Lane. They responded after a call from someone complaining of sick cats at the property and entered with the help of Hamilton County Sheriff's officers.
Once inside, they say they found the home "...packed from ceiling to floor with clothing and other items and the smell of feces and urine was overwhelming." Of the 61 cats found in a bedroom, most were kittens. The description continues, "Two of the cats are missing an eye and many of the remainders have eyes glued shut due to lack of care for upper respiratory infections."
All of the cats suffer upper respiratory infections and are being treated by the Humane Educational Society. They will stay at their facility to be treated for disease, to be vaccinated and de-wormed while foster homes are sought.
Another home said to be possessed by the same homeowner is also being investigated which may contain more animals.
HES is asking for the community's help to treat these animals. If you would like to donate, find information at: www.heschatt.com