PITMAN, NEW JERSEY – Dozens of the 131 cats found in a home so disgusting that the smell of ammonia could reportedly be detected for several blocks are now available for adoption.
“They’re all very nice — though some are more scared than others,” said Judi Hibbs, an adoption clerk with the Gloucester County Animal Shelter.
The shelter has about 45 to 50 cats which were rescued from the Pitman home on hand, she said. Other cats have been picked up by local rescue groups. All are being evaluated and treated for various medical issues, but Hibbs said she expects all of them ill be in good enough health and behaved well enough to be adopted out.o
For the cats, the transition has been quite a shock — moving from the unkempt home into sterile, clean shelter, she said.
“They’re stressed — and then we move them to clean the cages, and they’re even more stressed,” she said. “It’s just an awful situation. But they’re beginning to come around.”
Hibbs said the shelter needs some volunteers willing to spend time with the cats — to help socialize them and get them used to human companionship.
So far, it has made affirmative arrangements to adopt out one cat, once it clears its medical screenings. Those interested in taking on some of the others can make similar arrangements.
The shelter currently has six cats all of whom who are under 11 months old, 14 cats that are approximately 1 year old, and seven that are about 2 years old, Hibbs said.
Last week, the owner of the home was given just 10 days to demolish it or get it up to code. A renter had been staying in the home with these cats, according to multiple reports.
The Gloucester County Animal Shelter said in an image it shared on its website and on Facebook that it’s now “very overcrowded,” and offering the cats for adoption at a discounted rate of just $25 each.
All of the cats have been seen by a vet and have vaccinations, the shelter said. It can be reached at 856-881-2828 and is located at 1200 North Delsea Drive in Clayton.
In multiple reports, authorities were quoted saying the hoarding case was one of the worst ones they’d ever encountered — but all the cats inside lived. The smell of ammonia and cat waste even outside was so powerful, “I don’t know how the tenant wasn’t deathly ill,” Pitman Mayor Russ Johnson told New Jersey Advance Media earlier this month.
The case was one of only two extraordinary hoarding rescues in New Jersey in December. Authorities rescued 19 cats — and also found one deceased — after making their way through what an animal control officer in North Jersey also called “probably the worst case of animal hoarding I’ve ever seen.”
In that West New York home, the deceased cat was discovered behind a stove. Other cats had burrowed through the walls to make their own passageways throughout the house. Furniture was saturated with urine and feces, and litter boxes were overflowing for months.
The West New York home has officially been deemed uninhabitable.