70 cats recovered from Hempfield home after owner calls for help

It will take thousands of dollars to get 70 cats and kittens that were rescued Sunday from a Hempfield hoarding situation into adoptable condition, said Jen Johnson, president of Ninth Life Rescue Center.

She and volunteers from As They Come Animal Rescue are hoping for some community support to rehabilitate the felines. The majority of them have severe upper respiratory infections, many need dental work, at least four cats need an eye removed and all 20 kittens have eye issues, Johnson said.

“The four of us pulled out the 70 cats in two hours,” she said.

It all started with a phone call by the owner, who Johnson did not identify but said lives in a mobile home community in Hempfield. The initial estimate was about 20 cats, but volunteers from the two rescues found dozens more.

“You moved a dresser and there was 10 kittens under it, you moved a bed, there was 15 cats scattering. They were in every single room, … cabinets, behind the refrigerator,” she said. “They did not know how overwhelmed that they were. Not a single animal in the house was spayed or neutered or had ever seen a vet.”

Johnson said it is unusual for a pet owner to seek out help, but those involved in Sunday’s rescue surrendered the animals. Police were not involved. If there are issues in the future with the same owner, Johnson said she won’t hesitate to press animal cruelty charges.

“This is a one shot deal and they need to take the opportunity to move on with their lives and get their house cleaned up,” she said. “This is a fresh start for them.”

Photographs posted on Ninth Life’s Facebook page showed cat feces strewn about the house and Johnson described filthy, pungent conditions. There are 36 cats recovering at her rescue and 16 are staying with As They Come. The remainder are in foster homes around the region.

The majority eventually will be put up for adoption after they are spayed or neutered and fully healthy, she said. A few are suffering from neurological issues.

Ninth Life already has about 80 cats available for adoption. They are at the Hempfield PetSmart store every Saturday with adoptable animals. As They Come also has cats looking for homes.

Both Westmoreland County-based rescue organizations are accepting donations on their respective Facebook pages, as well as through Chewy and Amazon wish lists. Donations can be called directly to the Veterinarian All Pets Hospital at 724-832-8885.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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