Updated 06/17/2011 05:59 AM
Hoarding, abandonment leaves SPCA full of cats
The Tompkins County SPCA is feeling kitten season much more than in years past. Tamara Lindstrom tells us about a series of events that has the shelter overflowing with felines.
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TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. -- The crates, hall, and even the medical room at the Tompkins County SPCA are packed with cats.
"We are full. More than full," said Jim Bouderau, executive director of the SPCA.
The influx of felines started less than three weeks ago and is much more than the usual kitten season crunch.
"Mostly due to a situation in Dryden, where there was an older gentleman who had three or four un-neutered animals that, unfortunately, the population just exploded over the past year or so," Bouderau said.
The shelter took in 50 cats from that home alone and there were more to come.
"A family moved into a trailer home and the previous tenants had apparently left behind their cats," Bouderau said.
Another handful of mewing mouths to feed, but not the last.
"The worst of them all, actually, was we had about 14 adult cats crammed into two carriers that were just left in our parking lot during the very hot weather," Bouderau said.
That adds up to an influx of more than 70 cats in addition to the shelter's usual intake. And some of the animals need special care.
"We get a lot of very young kittens that require a lot of bottle feedings every two to four hours overnight if they don't have their moms with them," said veterinarian Kathleen Riley.
The poor conditions many of the animals lived in made for serious health problems.
"They get really severe eye infections to the point where sometimes we have to remove their eye because it's no longer functional," Riley said. "So they do require a lot of extra medication and TLC to help get them through that."
The vet says those cats will make out alright, as long as they get into good homes.
"Some of the benefits to an adult cat are there's less of an acquaintance time in terms of adapting to the home. There's less concerns with having to potty train kittens in terms of using a litter box," Bouderau said.
Making them right at home as soon as they find a family of their own.
All those extra animals have cost the shelter more than $40,000 so far. If you would like to donate, or maybe adopt a cat, visit spcaonline.com.