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A Kitty City: 143 Cats in 1 Michigan Home

An animal rescue worker said she had never seen so many cats and kittens in one home, which had been turned into a veritable "kitty city." But they were well cared for and loved.

A kind-hearted Farmington Hills woman took in two pregnant stray cats two years ago, thinking she could easily find homes for their offspring. But 140 cats later, she turned to animal rescue groups for help. (Screenshot: WDIV video)
A kind-hearted Farmington Hills woman took in two pregnant stray cats two years ago, thinking she could easily find homes for their offspring. But 140 cats later, she turned to animal rescue groups for help. (Screenshot: WDIV video)
By Beth Dalbey

A Farmington Hills woman’s kind heart and good intentions got her into some trouble with the city, where zoning regulations limit the number of cats allowed in a single-family residence to three.

She had 143 cats and kittens in her home WDIV, Channel 2, reports.

The felines were being well cared for and the woman had spent more than $700 a week on food and other supplies, the TV station said. All were current on their vaccinations, and the “cat house” was furnished with tubes and ropes were suspended from the ceiling for the cats to climb.

The veritable “kitty city” became too much for her and she reached out to animal rescue groups to help her find homes for them, including the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan.

“There were at least 140 cats and kittens running loose,” Susan Edwards, the group’s president, told The Oakland Press. "There were cats everywhere … although she had some rooms where there were no cats allowed. She had most of her furniture hidden in those rooms. In the (rest of the) house, all the carpets were gone, as were all the window coverings.”

Except for an odor of cat urine, the house was clean, Edwards said.

The trouble started two years ago when the woman, who has not been identified, took in two pregnant stray cats, The Oakland Press said.

A typical female cat can have three litters of four to six kittens per year. Within six months, kittens are of breeding age. None of the cats had been neutered or spayed, so the population quickly exploded.

Edwards said the woman thought it would be easy to find homes for the cats, but became “just overwhelmed” and contacted theAnimal Welfare Society, which took 40 of the cats to its shelter at 27796 John R Road in Madison Heights.

The New Beginnings Animal Rescue group in Royal Oak, theTigerlily Cat Rescue in Sterling Heights, Silver Lake Animal Rescue in Trenton and the Ann Arbor Cat Clinic are also helping.

Edwards said she had never seen so many cats in one home.

“It was something to see, I’ll tell you, but they are all beautiful cats,” Edwards said. “She’s a very nice lady, not a hoarder, and she never intended on keeping these cats. She had a big heart and didn’t want to let them outside. It’s lucky she contacted us.”

She said the Animal Welfare Society is also encouraging multiple adoptions, but is allowing single adoptions.  Adoption fees have been reduced, and the shelters are working with area vets to get the cats spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

It wasn’t clear if the woman will be charged with a zoning violation.

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