COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Animal rescuers took 161 cats from a Springs home Tuesday after persuading the owner to part with her many pets.
Rescuers said the cat owner, a woman in her 50s living in the southwest part of the city, starting collecting cats about eight years ago and was housing the animals in large kennels in her home.
"A lot of the cats, you could tell, had been socialized," said Carolyn Spillner, one of the four people who went into the home. "A lot of the cats were with her all the time. No feral cats, which was good."
Rescuers said the cats seemed in good condition for the most part. A sample group tested negative for feline AIDS and feline leukemia.
"(The owner) was willing to give the cats up," said Spillner. "She's not a bad person, she doesn't mean bad by this."
Spillner works with Life Is Better Rescue, out of Lakewood, that came with a large van to take the cats from the home. From there, the cats were driven to meet with about 13 different rescue groups from southern Colorado and the Denver area that divided up the animals to care for.
One woman there was the person who found out about the cats when she spotted a Craigslist ad posted by the cat owner's friend.
"'Cats in need of homes.' That's all the title said." said Laura Lampley, a volunteer with the Denver-based Colorado Animal Welfare League.
Lampley said she spoke with the friend by phone and found out the cat owner was moving from her home and couldn't take the cats with her. She said she nearly dropped the phone when she found out just how many cats were in need.
"I emailed every single rescue (group) that I could find in Colorado Springs," said Lampley.
Rescuers came together to make sure every cat will get care.
"When you get to this point, this is emotional to me because they'll have a better life," said Barb Jones, a volunteer who got teary-eyed seeing the cats being unloaded from the van.
The cats should be adoptable in about a week. All will be spayed and neutered and checked for diseases. Caring for the cats will cost rescuers thousands of dollars. You can donate or adopt a cat by contacting Wild Blue Animal Rescue (in Colorado Springs), Happy Cats Haven (in Colorado Springs), Pet Project (in Pueblo), Life is Better Rescue (in Lakewood), Every Creature Counts (of Fort Lupton) or Almost Home Adoptions (in Westminster).
The woman who owned the cats isn't facing any charges. Part of her agreement with rescuers is they wouldn't identify her or where she lives.