The Guelph Humane Society is relying heavily on its network of foster families to house 80 cats that came into its care on Wednesday.
The humane society was contacted Tuesday by a person in Guelph who had the 80 cats living in their home and requested help, said executive director Adrienne McBride.
"We became aware of it when the owner connected with us to get some help," McBride said.
Staff arrived early on Wednesday in expectation of a full day dealing with the intake of cats, which McBride said was the largest the humane society has taken in about five years.
“Our first priority was looking after the dogs and cats and the other animals that were already in our care this morning — getting them set up for the day,” said McBride.
As the 80 cats came in, they were being processed in the Education Room at the Humane Society’s 500 Wellington St. W. location.
“The goal is to get it all done today,” said McBride. We are doing everything from figuring out if they are male or female, giving them a once-over, guessing age — we’re doing all of that, while also looking for bigger issues that they need to have addressed.”
Even before the new arrivals the humane society had 104 animals in its care: 63 cats, 18 dogs, 20 small animals and three farm animals.
Because the cats have been in close contact there is a risk of infectious disease that has to be ruled out before they can be fostered.
“We are trying to triage all of those issues. The ones who are stable and healthy today will be going into foster homes,” said McBride. “Some will be staying here to get medical care, depending on their situation.”
The humane society has a large network of foster homes across Guelph, said McBride. Usually it relies on those homes more heavily in the summer months when more kittens typically come in.
About 20 will be housed at the humane society, while the hope is for the other 60 to be fostered.
“We will work today until everyone is looked after,” said McBride. “It’s all hands on deck. Everyone is doing something outside of their regular routine today.
“The time of year is helpful because we’re not already overwhelmed with cats in our care,” said McBride.
She estimates the cost of bringing in and processing the 80 cats on Wednesday alone at about $20,000.
“That’s if all of them just need basic care,” said McBride. “From what I understand, they are in generally good health considering the circumstances they are coming from — which is a positive for us.”
The Humane Society is asking the community for support to help cover the cost of the emergency medical care, proper housing, socialization, and veterinary care for the cats that came in Wednesday.
McBride said the new Guelph Humane Society building that is being constructed in the city's south end is progressing on schedule and will be open in the fall.