It's been a long wait, but the 17 cats seized from an Ithaca apartment last fall can finally go to new homes. Tamara Lindstrom tells us how the animals are recovering and why it's taken so long to put them up for adoption.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- For four long months, these cats have called the dog wing of the Tompkins County SPCA home.
"We've actually been housing them in our dog wing because of overcrowding in our cat wing," said SPCA Executive Director Jim Bouderau. "And also to keep them separate from the rest of our cat population."
Separate because the cats came in with a host of issues, from fleas to respiratory infections and dehydration, after SPCA officials removed 17 of them from a small Ithaca apartment.
Neighbors called after noticing the owner had been gone for more than a week and no one was checking on the cats.
"They were living in pretty horrible conditions, in their own feces and no food or water," said Sarah Post, Feline Coordinator for the SPCA. "Not a suitable environment for one cat, let alone 17."
The SPCA has cared for the felines while waiting for a resolution on the case. And that came last week, when owner Kristen Inman of West Seneca Street agreed to give the animals up.
"Ms. Inman pleaded to a lesser charge of failure to provide sustenance, so it's basically what the court deems attempted," Bouderau said. "So we don't have a complete resolution yet in terms of the penalties involved. We're just glad that, ultimately, the cats have been signed over."
Now that the cats have been officially turned over to the SPCA, they're ready to be adopted. Staff here says that despite a couple of rough months, the cats are all cleaned up, healthy and extremely affectionate.
"Clearly the person did care about them because they're all very friendly," Post said. "As soon as you enter the room, they're so excited to see you. They climb all over you, crawl, on your lap, sit on your shoulders. They're probably some of the nicest cats we have here."
"They've been at the window looking for attention and stuff like that. So many people have inquired about them and have followed the case as time goes on," Bouderau said. "So we're definitely hoping now that there's a resolution, people interested in adopting them will come back and do so."
Getting the eager cats going on the next of their nine lives.
The cost for the SPCA to treat and house the cats has reached $11,000.
If you'd like to help or to find out how to adopt, visit www.spcaonline.com.