30 cats say ciao, ciao, ciao to Parachute home
Special to the Post Independent
SPRING VALLEY ” Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) rescued 30 cats from a house in Parachute Feb. 5, after their owner died.
CARE received a call that afternoon from the Parachute Police Department asking for help in rescuing “a lot” of cats from the home of a man who had died, said CARE executive director Leslie Rockey.
Parachute police found the cats when they discovered the man’s body, said Rockey.
“We filled the cars,” Rockey said, and told police, “‘Meet us there at 6.'”
When Rockey and Heather Martin, a kennel assistant, opened the front door of the house, the cats swarmed around them.
“As soon as we walked in they were all there, meowing and crying at us,” she said.
“It was a mess,” said Rockey. “It was a very poor living environment.”
All the cats were sick, some pregnant, and living in their own feces, said Rockey.
Rockey and Martin immediately started plucking cats from the floor and putting them into the kennels they had brought with them from the Spring Valley shelter.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Martin. “It was like picking apples,” she said of putting the cats in the kennels.
Phone calls to the Parachute Police Department were not returned on Friday, but an operator confirmed that a man had died and left behind many cats, which CARE helped rescue.
Rockey did not know when the man died, but said CARE received a phone call as soon as Parachute police found the cats. She didn’t know how long the cats had gone without food.
“It’s not like they were starving,” she said. “It had probably only been a couple of days.”
The first night of the rescue, Rockey and Martin collected 24 cats. Some of the cats were wild or outside the house and couldn’t be caught the first night.
For the wild cats, Rockey and Martin left traps in the house, and caught six more over the next three days, according to Rockey.
Once all the cats had been collected, CARE set to work cleaning and vaccinating them.
All of the cats had some sort of illness, said Rockey, including runny eyes and noses, respiratory infection, feline leukemia virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Some of the cats died from illness after they were rescued. Some of the sick and suffering cats had to be euthanized after the shelter staff determined that was the most humane thing to do, said Rockey.
Now that the cats are clean and vaccinated, CARE is trying to get the animals ready for adoption. All the cats must be healthy and spayed or neutered before they can be put up for adoption, she said. CARE will test all the cats for feline leukemia virus and FIV, which are both contagious and eventually fatal, before they are put up for adoption.
One cat is known to have FIV right now but is not sick, said Rockey. That cat cannot infect other cats with the disease because it is in its own kennel. The disease is only spread through blood or saliva. The most common way that FIV is spread is by bites to other cats, said Rockey.
The infected cat will only be placed in a home where it would be kept indoors and away from other cats.
“We’re not going to do anything that would put anybody at risk,” said Rockey. “We’re trying to do the best thing for the animals and the best thing for the community.”
Right now 15 cats are at the shelter, or in private foster care. Six more went to a cat shelter in Denver, and the four wild cats from the house are going to be sent to a 33,000-acre “no-kill” animal sanctuary in Utah.
The new cats were a big strain on the CARE staff and facility, since CARE already had 38 cats and 35 dogs.
Rockey said people ask her, “Why would you go and get these extra cats?”
“We had to respond, that’s why we’re here.” said Rockey.
For information about CARE, call 947-9173 or visit http://www.coloradoanimalrescue.org
Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 534
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