PERTH AMBOY — The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is currently investigating the death of more than 20 cats in a house fire in Perth Amboy.
Dozens more cats were rescued with the help of resuscitators.
Matt Stanton, a spokesman the NJSPCA, said the agency is also investigating the presence of more than 40 cats in the house located on Barry Avenue.
“We are actively investigating the situation,” Stanton said.
Perth Amboy Fire Chief Abraham Pitre said his department received the call at 1:11 p.m. Monday and arrived to find flames and smoke in the right rear of the one-story house near the kitchen.
Pitre said cats were all trying to escape, many of them were clearly disoriented.
He said as soon as the firefighters opened the doors of the house, cats came running out.
“We used animal resuscitation equipment that was donated to us last year and 25 to 28 survived,” the chief said, adding that more than 20 probably died in the blaze.
Pitre said no one was at home at the time the fire broke out.
He said the cats’ keeper, “was taking in strays and using her own money to take care of them and put them up for adoption.”
“It’s just a shame,” Pitre said.
The surviving cats were all taken to the Perth Amboy Animal Shelter.
“We wish we could have saved more (of the cats),” Pitre said. “Those units were great.”
The chief said two of the animal resuscitation units were donated just last year, but he plans to buy one or two more out of his pocket for the department.
The kits have different sized tubing and masks to fit different size animals and fit onto the oxygen masks which are carried by the departments.
Meanwhile, the surviving cats are being treated at the city shelter for medical issues.
Shelter officials said the owner did not want to be identified and didn’t want to talk about her cats.