The Nova Scotia SPCA is asking for help from the community after rescuing 72 cats and kittens in need of urgent medical care.
"The majority ended up coming from two situations, one in Pictou County and one in Cape Breton, but it has really overwhelmed us, and we're running out of space," says Taylor Mundy of the Nova Scotia SPCA.
The SPCA shelters in Sydney, New Glasgow, Truro, and Dartmouth are all helping out in the effort.
The cats and kittens need to be kept isolated from other animals in the shelter as they undergo medical treatment.
Many of the cats are suffering from painful eye damage, severe infections and deadly diseases.
The SPCA says that medical treatments for the cats could cost more than $58,000, and they are in desperate need of donations, as their resources have already been stretched to the limit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Animal hoarding is a complex issue,” said Sandra Flemming, provincial director of animal care at the Nova Scotia SPCA, in a statement. “It can start with innocent intentions but as the number of pets multiply they may not be given adequate care. Many caregivers are embarrassed to ask for support or unaware of what resources exist to help them.”
Flemming says cases of animal hoarding usually begin small.
"Then they kind of start to multiply and then people maybe don't have the financial means to get them spayed and neutered and then the situation continues to grow and it grows pretty quickly and then people sometimes feel shame or may no want to alert someone they're having issues," Flemming said.
The SPCA says often there's no ill intent on behalf of the pet owner.
"We really try to in hoarding situations be very empathetic to the owner, as long as they're willing to work with us and hopefully surrender animals to us," Flemming said. "We certainly like to go that route first, we don't like to be punitive."
Forty-five sick and injured cats were rescued in Pictou County, but the local SPCA says it doesn't have enough room to treat and protect the cats from potential infections, so cats are being transferred to other SPCA locations around the province.
Thirteen cats are being treated at the Cape Breton SPCA, which says it is taking two full-time staff members to provide around-the-clock care for the animals.
The cats require intense rehabilitation can not be adopted at this time, but the SPCA says they will be posted on their adoption website once cleared medically.
Animal lovers who want to make a donation are asked to visit the SPCA website or text SPCA to 4-10-10 to donate $20.