A feline sanctuary in Gilbert had to increase its space recently after Mesa Animal Control Unit asked Save the Cats Arizona Arizona to remove five dozen cats from an East Valley home.
In May, a disabled Mesa resident needed 60 cats removed from her home or the Homeowners Association would evict her. The women’s cat colony was breeding in the home for a few years, and none of the animals were spayed or neutered, said Patricia Van Scoy, board of director’s treasurer and vice chair of Save the Cats Arizona Arizona.
A number of the valley’s animal rescue organizations were unable to take care of the colony, so animal control contacted the nonprofit organization. It took Save the Cats Arizona volunteers about a week to transport the cats from Mesa to an undisclosed location in Gilbert — the shelter does not disclose its location.
By June, all of them were fixed, vaccinated and tested for Feline leukemia virus and Feline immunodeficiency virus, which are two common types of cat retroviruses.
All the cats tested negative and are ready for adoption.
Unlike feral cats, which must be socialized before being placed on the adoption list, the 60 rescued felines were very social, Van Scoy said. Animal control told the organization the Mesa woman wasn’t hoarding them — none of the cats were sick and all were fed properly — but the home was crowded.
“This was like a family to her. It was very, very difficult on her to have to give them up, even though she understood that things were out of control,” Van Scoy said.
The Kitty Corral was the first enclosure at the sanctuary that houses more than 50 rescued, feral cats. The recently built Kitty Barn was originally added as a socialization area, but now holds 39 of the rescued Mesa cats.
About seven total cats have been put down since the sanctuary opened at its hideaway, she said. Save the Cats Arizona believes euthanizing cats in groups is inhumane. The volunteer organization puts down cats only if they have cancer.
“The high probability is, is that they would’ve been euthanized,” Van Scoy said of the Mesa women’s cat colony.
Some of the kittens and their parents have been adopted or have been placed into a foster home; the rest are roaming in the open-air Kitty Barn awaiting adoption.
The nonprofit organization is increasing fundraiser and seeking more donations to compensate for the added felines. It can be expensive to provide food, litter, shelter, and medical care for the kitty commune.
People can donate on the website for things like basic cat supplies or for a surgery. The website is www.savethecatsaz.org.
Save the Cats Arizona can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (602) 582-2693.
Corey, a junior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or email@example.com.