More than a dozen cats have been removed from what animal rescue officials describe as an uninhabitable house near Lebanon.
The Humane Society of Lebanon County was summoned by police to the home on Mount Wilson Road in South Londonderry Township on July 16 after the homeowner was taken to the hospital for shortness of breath, officials said.
"There were in fact multiple cats living in deplorable conditions. A lot of trash, lots of feces and urine all over the floor, rotting food, litter," said Aspasia Yeager, the Humane Society's director of operations.
The homeowner, who was released from the hospital the next day, granted permission to the Humane Society to take the cats to the shelter.
Since last week, workers have collectively rescued 16 cats from the home. Many were suffering from fleas, resultant skin issues, ear infections and upper respiratory problems.
The cats have been bathed, flea-treated, vaccinated and de-wormed. Many are still receiving antibiotics, ear drops and other care.
One cat, however, was so sick that it passed away; another is struggling with anemia.
"He is the worst off, but we are giving him lots of attention. He's under the care of our veterinarian," Yeager said.
Fortunately, the rest of the cats are expected to recover. They will likely be put up for adoption within three weeks.
In the meantime, Yeager said the Humane Society is continuing to check the property each day for more cats, using traps in hopes of rescuing all of them.
"There’s still a lot of work to be done,"said Staci Papadoplos, a Humane Society staff member. "My hope is that we can remove all of the remaining cats quickly and safely."
Yeager is urging people who are interested in adopting a cat to do so as soon as possible, seeing that now is a crowded time for the shelter.
"The height of the summer is always a challenge for shelters," she said. "It's kitten season. We have lots of cats and we're also finishing up renovations, so we're tight on space."
Anyone interested in adopting can contact the shelter at 717-628-1369. The Humane Society is located at 150 North Ramona Rd. in Myerstown.