Pennsylvania Cat Rescue

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On June 24, 2010, American Humane Association’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services team helped rescue 387 cats from unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in St. Marys, Pa.

Our team joined the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Elk County Humane Society, medical teams from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Florida, and a team from PetSmart Charities, Inc. that provided supplies.


This video contains some graphic images of cats suffering from eye infections, feline immunodeficiency virus and other painful ailments. If you do not wish to see these images, do not click “play.”

Watch a longer video detailing our work in Pennsylvania.

The cats, including several kittens, had been housed in a single, overcrowded commercial building managed by the Animal Friends of Elk and Cameron Counties Sanctuary. Many of the cats were roaming free and suffering from a variety of untreated medical problems -- the result of severe overcrowding. In fact, the building was so overcrowded the cats were literally crawling on top of each other.

Their ailments included upper respiratory conditions, painful eye infections and feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Many tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a dangerous disease that weakens the immune system. Tragically, several cats were in critical condition. 

American Humane Association’s team took the lead in caring for the cats at a safe and clean temporary shelter. Every cat was tested and evaluated. Fortunately, the majority made a full recovery, and have been adopted into new, loving homes or transported to permanent shelters in preparation for finding their forever families.

Update: July 7, 2010

We are thrilled to report that the adopt-a-thon over the holiday weekend was a tremendous success. A total of 132 cats were adopted during the event, in addition to seven who had already found homes! This was a tremendous achievement, especially given that many of the cats were feline-leukemia positive. The remaining cats were transported from the temporary shelter to permanent animal shelters elsewhere, where they will be safely housed until they find their forever families. Our team’s work is done, and we are both proud and honored to have played a role in providing a second chance for these poor animals.  

Update: July 1, 2010

Good news: The majority of the hundreds of cats transported to a temporary shelter last week are expected to make a full recovery. They have been examined and are receiving medical treatment for their ailments. Most of their eye infections and respiratory problems have improved significantly. In addition, spay/neuter procedures are being completed for those cats requiring it.

Meanwhile, a local adopt-a-thon has been scheduled for this coming weekend. Any remaining cats will be transported to different areas of the country -- wherever shelter space is available -- and readied for adoption into new homes.

A fresh team of American Humane volunteers arrived on-site on June 28, and the entire 12-member team of staff and volunteers is planning to remain in Pennsylvania until at least July 5. We will continue to care for the cats during our stay and help out with the adopt-a-thon.

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