Written by Becca Gordon
One year ago today, volunteers from Etobicoke Humane Society coordinated the rescue of more than 70 cats and kittens from a small apartment on the other side of the city. We refer to it as the Scarborough Hoarding event. While hoarding situations are nothing new for us, this turned out to be a particularly large undertaking.
We were initially advised that there were approximately 30 cats residing in a 2 bedroom apartment.
As we are a small shelter, our initial plan was to remove 10 cats and coordinate the placement of the rest working in partnership with other no-kill rescues. We brought 10 large carriers but when we arrived, the conditions were so horrific that we could not bear to leave any cat behind that day.
Even though we wore masks and gloves, it was incredibly difficult to breath, the smell was like nothing we had ever experienced before, and there was waste everywhere. It’s a memory we won’t soon forget.
We also discovered that there were way more than 30 cats, many of whom came up to us, begging and pleading for affection and care. We improvised and used all available carriers and dog crates on the premises, rented a U-Haul truck, and got all of the cats out and straight to our vet. We came back the next day to double check to make sure we had rescued every single cat, and found three more hiding in the rubble.
Today, we want to thank those who spent hours collecting the cats, running them back and forth to vet appointments, fostering them and caring for them. Most of all we want to thank those forever families who opened their homes to them and have given them a chance at a better life.
The hard work has paid off, as the cats have proven to be amazing, resilient, loving and above all survivors. Seeing them thrive has been the best reward for the volunteers, and these cats will forever have a special place in our hearts.
In addition to all of the volunteers that were a part of this huge rescue, we also want to thank the Margolis Foundation whose generous support was integral to our ability to save all of these cats, as well as the Burlington Humane Society, and Ninth Life Cat Rescue who took in the ones we did not have space for.