Photo is representational.
In Yorktown, NY, a middle-aged couple was found dead inside their home and accompanied by nearly 150 neglected cats.
Law enforcement discovered the scene upon request for a wellness check at the unnamed couple’s home on Cordial Road in Yorktown. The inside of the home was neglected and concerningly messy.
“I’m surprised people could live inside with the conditions present,” Yorktown Police Chief, Robert Noble, told ABC7 New York.
As of now, the cause of their deaths are uncertain, but Yorktown Police have reason to believe no foul play was involved.
Of the 150 cats, about 100 of them were able to be transported to nearby shelters before they filled up and also in the care of medical personnel. The rest were kept at the house and looked after by professionals to make certain they are fed and sheltered.
The police were aided by Westchester’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), who took cats to their facility in Briarcliff, NY and treated them for “illnesses like eye and respiratory infections and ear mites,” per ABC7 NY.
The SPCA of Westchester detailed what happened on the scene and what they’re doing to help on Facebook with a post from last Thursday.
“Officials were unable to clear the scene until the SPCA’s rescue team members removed a majority of the cats,” part of the post read, “who were found trapped in every room of the home, including the walls and ceilings. The conditions were absolutely horrific.”
The post goes on to explain various issues found with the cats and what possible activities their owners were trying to conduct with some of them, such as breeding.
“After years of neglect, all of the cats, who appear to be Abyssinian mixes, are sick and suffering with upper respiratory, eye and skin infections, malnutrition, dehydration, and sadly, some have more severe injuries that require immediate medical attention. Due to the stress of the situation, one of the cats actually gave birth while in transit from the residence to the SPCA’s Rescue Center, and many others appear to be pregnant.
“All of the cats were starving upon rescue,” it continued, “and had likely not eaten or had access to water in many days.”
Despite the harsh conditions the cats suffered for however long they had been, they were unusually social and friendly.
“It’s very unusual in a case like this,” explained Lisa Bonnano with SPCA Westchester, “especially with that number of cats, for them to be as social and sweet as they are, usually they are scared when they come from a situation like this because they haven’t had a lot of human affection—a lot of handling.”
Police suspect that the couple may have been attempting to breed the Abyssinian cats and became overwhelmed.
“The people that lived there, I think their intentions were good, that they tried to care for the cats,” Police Chief Noble told CBS NY. “But they had to have been overwhelmed.”
Neighbors were also surprised by the discovery, including Patti Pfeifer, who said “It’s a mystery, it’s puzzling, I’m wondering how they got so many cats, where they got them from in the first place and if no one questioned them what they were doing with so many cats.”
For updates, you can follow the SPCA Westchester Facebook page where they have already raised over $22,000 in donations to care for the cats. Vets and professionals alike who are working with the cats estimate the total cost by the end to be over $40,000.