After receiving a call from a concerned citizen, Monterey County officials have found and rescued 17 cats from what they describe as inhumane, hazardous, and unsafe conditions.
The ten cats and seven kittens were found Wednesday in a 168 square foot Terry camping trailer near Blackie Road in Prunedale.
According to Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County spokesperson Beth Brookhouser, the trailer had "an overwhelming smell of ammonia and excrement permeating the space and exterior," and both the inside and outside of the residence was covered in feces and urine. It also had an active sewage leak.
Officers found the conditions in the trailer to be not just filthy but "hazardous and unsafe," when they realized the sole source of power for the trailer was an extension cord running from another property in the area, Brookhouser says.
The 17 cats, who shared the trailer with its adult female resident, are said to be suffering from numerous health issues "consistent with hoarding and neglect cases," Brookhouser says. They have injured and infected eyes, upper respiratory infections, and were "filthy" and covered in fleas.
"They are painfully matted and covered in filth, as they were unable to clean themselves properly," she said.
Many also display the mutation known as hyperdactyly, in which cats have more than the usual number of toes on each paw, an issue that's typically a symptom of inbreeding.
Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, Adult Protective Services, and Sheriff’s Code Enforcement officers all participated in the rescue effort. They've sent the case along to the Monterey County District Attorney's office, which has yet to say if they will be pressing charges against the cat's former guardian "for their consideration of multiple counts of animal abuse under the California State Penal Code."
Can you adopt one of these many toed cats? It's too soon to say. According to Brookhouser, SPCA veterinarians are "focusing on getting them healthy again." and that potential adopters can wait, or can choose one of their many other adoptable animals.