Nearly 50 cats rescued from Springfield home and taken to local animal shelter

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Springfield Animal Control and a local shelter teamed up for a major rescue effort on Tuesday.

The two groups spent hours recovering nearly 50 cats from a home in Springfield.

Two by two, animal control brought the cats out and prepared them for their next home. Rescue teams said recovering the cats came with several challenges.

“You can’t just walk in and get all the cats out,” said Rob Hardy of CARE Animal Shelter. “It’s basically impossible.”

Hardy said the shelter used to get calls asking for help rescuing five to 10 cats, and animal control said it sometimes responds to calls for up to 20 cats.

“But anything over 30 or 40, I mean 50 cats, that’s a much bigger rescue,” he described. “And it takes a lot more planning and funding and everything else related to a rescue of 50 cats to achieve that.”

Hardy said an effort like this can cost thousands of dollars. All told, the shelter is looking to get the cats into new homes. Hardy said that might take time, as many cats aren’t used to human interaction.

“They have lived with the same owner for 10, 15, 20 years,” he described. “So they’re an absolutely alien danger when someone walks in.”

Springfield Animal Control helped CARE trap and round up all of these cats. These teams said it was not easy to find them.

“There are plenty of hiding places for them,” said Heather Kellough of Springfield Animal Control. “And they’re all pretty nimble. So that was a bit of a challenge because they can get behind some of the smaller spaces that none of us can get to.

Kellough said there is a large population of feral cats in Springfield, and every once in a while people like to step in to help.

“Unfortunately you have people who move out and leave their cats, or if they don’t want them inside anymore, they’ll just kick them out and leave them to fend for themselves,” she said. “And that’s how you end up with a lot of colonies of feral cats. Or you end up with people who really want to help them and feel bad for them, so they let them into the house.

Kellough said this can often lead to uncontrolled breeding.

“If you have any type of cat, whether indoors or outdoors, go ahead and go the extra mile to neuter or neuter them,” she said. “That way they can still be outside, but they won’t repopulate.”

Hardy said animal control was a big help in their efforts to save the cats.

“We are able to expedite their journey from what is essentially a case of hoarding to the adoption center where they can be reunited with their loving families,” he said. “Some of them will take a little longer to socialize before they are ready for the adoption center, but we have high hopes for all the cats that they can find their forever home.”

The cats received all sorts of tests and vaccines on Tuesday. The next step is to prepare them for their next home.

“One of the challenges we have is trying to get a stray cat or a feral cat into a position where they feel comfortable with their family,” Hardy said. “So yeah, it’s a struggle at times, but we’ve had really good success with the amount of care and love they get at the adoption center.”

All cats will be neutered or neutered at a local clinic on Wednesday. They will also receive their rabies vaccinations.

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