Columbia shelter to aid in rescue of 100 cats

Madeline Carter Columbia Daily
The Missouri Coalition of Animal Care Organizations expects to take 100 or more cats like the one pictured from a hoarding situation in Sedalia. Shelters around the state are looking for foster families for the cats.

The Central Missouri Humane Society is preparing to take in a minimum of 15 cats this week from a large hoarding situation in Sedalia.

Associate Director Michelle Casey said she expects many of the cats will be needing medical treatment. In an interview, Casey said the Humane Society is expecting to treat parasites and various types of infections. Upon arrival, each cat will receive a veterinary evaluation.

“It’s a unique situation when it’s tied in with the pandemic,” Casey said. “Already, we’ve changed operations a little bit and are trying to do the best we can to keep our staff and animals and the public as safe as possible.”

Casey emphasized the need for foster parents, as the shelter is currently seeing an influx of kittens.

Typically, during the spring and summer, shelters across the U.S, see an influx of cats arriving at shelters, which they commonly refer to as “Kitten Season.”

The litters that arrive as the weather warms often leads to shelters tight for space because of the number of animals that they are forced to take in.

“We already are pretty overwhelmed, and have a lot of cats here at the shelter and in foster care, but also a lot of requests from people in the public who have animals they can't take care of, or have strays that are that have been having babies and that are in need,” she said. “So we are pulled a little thin right now. So taking in even more cats, I mean the need for foster parents is just you know, super great right now.”

The Missouri Coalition of Animal Care Organizations expects to take 100 or more cats from the house. Shelters from around Missouri and two neighboring states will lend a hand in finding new homes for the kittens.

On Wednesday, volunteers will go to Sedalia to remove the cats and transport them to the various partner organizations. Then, the shelters will tackle medical care and prepare them for adoption.

In an email from the Columbia shelter, it stated medical costs could easily exceed $10,000.

According to the coalition’s president, Abbie Knudsen, cases like this are considered emergency response efforts. The owner of the cats is cooperating with the coalition, but the number of cats and need for medical care is cause for concern.

“In this particular case, the Sedalia Animal Shelter is the local shelter where the home is in their local community, and they would not be able to take a hundred cats into their shelter and adopt them out,” Knudsen said. “So we connected with them to help them identify other partners all across the state and even beyond Missouri. We have partners in Illinois, as well as Kansas, that are going to help prepare these cats for adoption.”

As of now, the coalition has identified around a dozen partner organizations that are willing to take in some of the cats that are located in the home.

“Organizations from every corner of the state...with different types of communities, with different types of adoption programs, have all come forward to offer to help, and we built this sort of network of all different shelters and rescues to all stand behind the [Sedalia] animal shelter, and essentially say ‘we're here to support you,” she said.

The Sedalia Animal Shelter is expected to take around 10 of the kittens, but all of the shelters involved are attempting to be flexible, according to Knudsen. Each shelter is currently expecting to take in around 10-15 of the cats.

While there is no formal reporting system for cases like this within the state, the coalition has seen a few similar cases this year. According to Knudsen, the coalition doesn’t always see hoarding situations with cats. Sometimes it’s small animals like rats or mice, and other times it’s larger animals like dogs or cats.

“When many, many, many cats live in a small space, one of the most common things we see are upper respiratory infections,” she said.

The cats shouldn’t have long-term issues, once they receive medical care and less crowded conditions, Knudsen said.

“So they get well, and they can go to homes and they can live a long, perfectly normal life with their families,” she said.

Knudsen also noted how proud she was of the many organizations that have stepped up to welcome the cats into their shelters.

“We’re going to take care of our animals here in Missouri,” Knudsen said. “I think that’s something to be really, really proud of.”