The Alberta SPCA removed 143 cats from a home in the greater Edmonton area over a five week period, beginning in mid-December.
Peace officers made five visits to the home starting on Dec. 12, the SPCA said in a news release Monday. On the first visit, 35 cats were removed.
“Once the situation became emotional and stressful for the owner, peace officers thanked him for his time and made plans to return the following week,” the news release said.
“The gradual approach to removing the cats allowed the owner to properly process what was happening, and to reduce the shock of having the cats removed,” said Ken Dean, director of animal protection services for the Alberta SPCA.
All the cats were taken to the Edmonton Humane Society to be checked by a vet, and spayed or neutered. Some cats were then placed up for adoption at the Humane Society while others went to partner agencies.
“When we work with the owner, we are in a better situation to share important information about animal welfare to ensure the circumstances do not return,” Dean said. “This approach has been shown to reduce recidivism for those who accumulate large numbers of animals.”
In 2019 the Alberta SPCA investigated 10 cases that involved 20 or more cats at one home.
Alberta continues to have a cat overpopulation problem, the agency said, adding this case serves as a reminder about the importance of spaying and neutering to help control the pet population.
The cost of vet care and boarding to the Alberta SPCA for the cats is expected to exceed $25,000.
The agency said it is accepting donations to help off-set the cost of this investigation.