KHS still receiving cats from hoarders in Bremerton

Annie and her baby May were among the cats rescued. - Photo by Leslie Kelly
Annie and her baby May were among the cats rescued.
— image credit: Photo by Leslie Kelly

More than 20 of the kittens and cats that the Kitsap Humane Society rescued last week from a couple who were hoarding them in a camping trailer were adopted last weekend. But there’s many more to go.

Kitsap Humane Society’s Animal Rescue and Enforcement (KARE) took 47 kittens and cats from the couple in early March, according to Kelly Michaels, director of marketing and spokeswoman for the shelter. And on Tuesday, they secured 25 more. There are still 25 cats expected to be turned over to the shelter later this week.

“Originally we thought there were about 70 cats in all,” Michaels said. “But now we know we’ll have at least 90.”

In mid-February, the Bremerton Police Department received an anonymous complaint about many cats housed in a camping trailer. The camping trailer was parked in a mobile home park. Bremerton city ordinance dictates that residents own no more than four animals.

KARE made multiple efforts to contact the owners and with the owners’ compliance, officers rescued the 47 cats from the trailer in early March. The other cats were surrendered in batches because the shelter could not accommodate them all at once.

Of the first batch of cats, 19 were nursing mothers and kittens less than 4 weeks old. Those animals are being cared for in foster homes until they are old enough to be adopted.

When news broke about the number of cats taken, would-be adopters showed up. The shelter was “extremely busy” on Saturday 20 of the first batch of cats were adopted.

“The cats were in pens in the hallways and in the cat room,” said Michaels. “Most of them are gone now. It was a huge day.”

Michaels said the couple have continued to be cooperative. She said they were keeping the animals inside the trailer for the most part and they were being fed and cared for.

“They thought they were doing the right thing by caring for the cats,” she said. “But they weren’t spay or neutering any of them and this is what happened.”

“It’s a case of kittens having kittens because that’s what they do,” said Robin Simons, director of animal welfare at the shelter.

Michaels said cats can reproduce at six to eight months of age. She said the shelter has a program where they will take in the offspring of a mother cat, spay and neuter the parents at no cost, return them to the owner and keep the kittens who will then be altered at the appropriate age and adopted to forever homes.

She said if this couple had been able to do that with their original cats, they may have kept the situation from getting out of hand.

“We see situations of hoarding,” she said. “But this one is unique.”

This is the first hoarding situation in a year, but KHS encounters from three to four in an average year, Michaels said.

Dr. Jen Stonequist, director of shelter medicine at KHS, examined the cats.

“Most of the cats are in relatively good condition and sociable,” he said. “Some had minor, medical issues which are being addressed.”

One cat had to have an eye removed, but was otherwise healthy.

“That’s a case where if it had been many other places, the cat would have been put down,” Michaels said. “But here, we wouldn’t do that.”

By this weekend, there will be another 20 or more cats and kittens that can be adopted, depending on the number that can be checked out and altered.

“We’d like to have another Saturday like last Saturday,” Michaels said.

She added that if someone cannot adopt a cat or kitten from this hoarding situation but wants to help, financial donations can be mailed to the shelter.

More information can be found on these rescued cats/kittens at pets.


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