“No reason for things to get this bad:” Your help is needed after more than 50 cats rescued from hoarding situation

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- A hoarding situation discovered in the Town of Vernon on Monday, October 3rd has led to more than 50 cats being brought to HAWS, the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County.

HAWS officials believe this latest hoarding case originated from just a single mother cat and her first litter of kittens, all of whom were never spayed or neutered.

Officials with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department tell FOX6 News it's unclear whether anyone actually lived in the home where the cats were found.

HAWS officials said they're trying to rescue more cats they believe are still inside.

The investigation is ongoing.


"A lot of feces. When I took a step, it was squishy. The carpet was squishy. The smell of urine -- you could smell it outside the door. At some point, you had to walk outside and take a breath. It was that bad," Jessica Brach with HAWS said.

HAWS was alerted by a person who alerted them to that strong smell of urine coming from the home.

"There`s no reason for things to get this bad," Lynn Olenik, HAWS executive director said.

Olenik told FOX6 News HAWS officials believe there are more cats still inside the home.

"Some have gone into hiding in the attic and the basement. I figure by the time we are done we will be at 60 or 65," Olenik said.

The cats are now being cared for by volunteers and HAWS staff members. Many are dealing with upper respiratory infections, but most seem healthy and friendly.

"I just feel awful for them they can`t speak. That`s why I`m here -- to be a voice for them," Brach said.

HAWS needs your help:

  1. Cash donations will assist with general care, medical care and spaying/neutering of the cats as they are prepared for eventual adoption. Donations can be made online at hawspets.org, or in person at HAWS, 701 Northview Road, Waukesha, or via snail mail at HAWS/Vernon Cats, PO Box 834, Waukesha, WI 53187-0834.
  2. Donations of cat supplies – including unscented clay or pellet litter, and both dry and canned cat and kitten food – are also welcome.
  3. HAWS encourages those interested in adopting a cat to come to the shelter now and choose from one of the current resident cats already up for adoption. A “Columbus Day” special runs throughout the month of October, where all cats 6 months and older are just $14.92.

HAWS has reached out to shelter partners for assistance, asking them to take some of the current adoptable cats from HAWS to ease the crowding.