Authorities in Western Massachusetts removed 31 cats and kittens from a kitten mill on Friday. Much like puppy mill dogs, these cats were poorly cared for and several require medical attention for severe infection and flea anemia. They are getting help and will be made available for adoption.
Kitty mills do exist and they are able to do business over the internet, with operators making money on overbred and sickly animals in a world where many thousands of homeless pets are available for adoption every day.
We include two photos of the sicker cats; they are less disturbing than some of the images posted by one of the two rescuing organizations.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that the 31 cats were taken from a Savoy, MA kitten mill that sold kittens online after authorities received several complaints from neighbors and other members of the community. Authorities showed up with a search warrant on Friday and rescued the animals, several of whom have severe eye and ear infections.
In addition to the 30 cats that were removed from the home, there are several living outside and being fed by neighbors. Traps will be set for the outdoor cats.
The as yet unnamed person keeping the cats is facing multiple animal cruelty charges and will be formally charged next week. He returned home during the search and agreed to give the cats up.
Northern Berkshire County Animal Rescue is caring for the cats that are in worse shape and will require the most medical attention and Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society is caring for the rest, some of whom will be made available for adoption soon.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that Savoy Animal Control officer Carrie Loholdt said the Ragdoll mix kittens sold by the kitty mill operator were being offered for $250 online.
Northern Berkshire County Animal Rescue wrote at their Northern Berkshire Cat Rescue Facebook page on Monday, February 3 (slightly edited):
“Our rescue extracted 31 cats … they were weren’t fed consistently, were left to drink mildew green water, forced to live in their own feces and urine.
“Of the 31 cats/kittens, 18 we sent to Dakin Pioneer Valley humane society and we have the remaining 13 ( we kept the ones that were in need of more medical assistance and sent the others to Dakin because they are a great shelter and get a lot of traffic ,and we know the ones we [give] them all fly right out the door.
“Our batch of kittens ranging from 9 weeks to 6 months and adult cats ranging from 1-2years up to approximately 6-7years are struggling with a multitude of medical problems: upper respiratory infections, eye infections (2 will need their left eyes removed and 1 big Roma cat is waiting to see if long term meds will help and he ]may] lose both eyes) have ear mites on top of ear infection. Many are so infested with fleas they are anemic and have scabs and scars from the constant itching. We are in the process of putting together a spaghetti [dinner] to help us cover the vets bills as many of these sweet cats may require extensive medical treatment.”
“These are few pictures of what these poor babies are going through. They are beautiful and sweet and deserve so much better! Cats will NOT be READY for adoption for some time and will NOT be AVAILABLE for viewing after the upper respiratory infection has been treated and eradicated as well as their ear mites and eye infection issues.”
Dakin Humane Society wrote at Facebook on February 3:
“This was a sad situation where people’s breeding and selling of these cats became out of control to the point where they were required to give up the cats by law enforcement or court order. North Adams animal control called us on Friday afternoon needing somewhere for the cats to go ASAP as they do not have the ability to house them. They came in on Saturday, pictured here [in cat carriers] with Dakin Manager of Adoption Centers, Moon Wymore.
“Due to the environment that they came from, these cats do not have the classic ‘Ragdoll personality’ (outgoing, friendly, dog-like). These are traumatized and undersocialized cats who will need a very quiet and patient home that will allow them all the time they need to feel comfortable.
“For some of them, they may only acclimate to one person and that after a long period of time.”