Hoarded cats up for adoption, fees waived

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ segments by Heidi Goitia

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 28 at 8:32 AM

PHOENIX – Dozens of the hoarded cats that were rescued from a Gilbert home on Monday are available for adoptions, but Maricopa Animal Care and Control is warning potential adopters that the cats will need some extra TLC and lots of patience.

Because of their previous living situation, many of the cats are not well socialized, which means they are wary of human attention and not particularly cuddly.

“You can’t pick them up and hug them,” MCACC spokeswoman Melissa Gable said. “That’s not to say you never could. You just need to be prepared to spend a lot of time trying to get them to that point.”

In an effort to place the cats in good homes, MCACC is waiving the adoption fees.

Most of the cats are adults, but two kittens were found at the Gilbert home, as well. Both of them are in foster care. One is so young young he is being bottle fed. They should be available for adoption in a few weeks.

Nearly 80 cats were taken for the house Monday after the person who bought it at a foreclosure auction discovered them. MCACC had to euthanize a few of them for health reasons. A rescue group took six more. MCACC is caring for the rest.

“They’re very scared, semi-feral. They may have some disease,” Gable explained. “We certainly get why people aren’t coming forward, but we want to give them an opportunity.”

The disease Gable is referring to is feline leukemia virus or FeLV. Infected cats can pass the virus, which inhibits the animal’s immune system, to other cats, but not to humans or other animals. Not all FeLV-positive cats show symptoms, although they may manifest in time. If you’d like to adopt one of the cats, MCACC suggests you have it tested for FeLV, and can do so on-site for $35.

Gable said the ideal home for the cats would be a quiet one with no small children and no other pets, particularly other cats.

The Gilbert cats vary in age and color, but most are orange tabbies or brown/black tabbies.

“There are plenty to choose from,” Gable continued. “Just know that you need to be patient with them and give them the chance to come around.”

Cat experts say socialization can be a slow process, taking longer with some cats than with others. Patience, a gentle touch, consistency and positive reinforcement are essential to success. And treats probably will not hurt.

While MCACC wants to give the cats a fair chance to find loving homes, the organization cannot care for them indefinitely. Come next week, MCACC officials will be faced with some tough decisions about the cats' futures.

The cats are available at MCACC's West Valley Animal Care Center, which is located at 27th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road. Adoption hours are 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. every day except Wednesday. For more information, call 602-506-7387.

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