140 cats found inside Lakeside apartment

LAKESIDE, Calif. -- Animal control officers confiscated scores of cats Thursday found living in crowded and filthy conditions in an apartment near Lindo Lake County Park, authorities reported.

The unhealthy and inhumane hoarding case in the 9700 block of Channel Road in Lakeside was reported in the early afternoon, according to the county Department of Animal Services.

Investigating officers Thursday rescued 112 semi-feral cats living in the heavily cluttered, foul-smelling residence, which had feces scattered on the floor, DAS spokesman Dan DeSousa said. Another 22 cats were captured on Friday. Six other cats remained at the apartment and officers left traps on the premises to capture them.

The felines, while poorly socialized with humans, appeared largely healthy and reasonably well-fed, DeSousa said.

Elderly abuse deputies were initially called out to remove an 89-year-old woman because of lack of care. She was taken to a hospital.

Five other people were also living in the apartment.

One of the owners of the cats, Grant Israel, said the family's love for the cats started out with the purest of intentions. But then one thing led to another.

"Well we started with one cat, then another cat came along and then a cat jumped in and got it pregnant. And then that cat had seven kittens. They had another litter, another littler, another litter. Nobody wanted them," he said.

Neighbors say that had an idea there was a cat problem but didn't imagine the scope.

"That there were 100 cats in there? I had absolutely no idea. I can see why it smelled so disgusting," one neighbor told FOX 5.

The Israel family was cooperative with authorities and was allowed to keep a few of the cats.

The cats will be housed in at least one of the county's three animal shelters, evaluated by veterinarians and provided any necessary medical care, the spokesman said. They then will be adopted out if possible.

"Since they're not very friendly, that'll be a challenge," DeSousa said.