When rescuers from the Humane Society of the United States entered the home in Killeen, Texas, the smell nearly sent them stumbling back out of the building. For most people, the wave of noxious fumes washing over them would have them turning around, but for this team, experience, equipment, training and a mission to save the estimated 200 cats from the conditions they’ve been living in pushed them forward.
They were there answering a call from officials with the City of Killeen to help with a suspected neglect situation.
The team found cats in crowded cages throughout the home, with some of the enclosures stacked on top of each other. Litter boxes overflowed with waste, making the living conditions dangerous for the animals. Many of them suffered from upper respiratory infections and eye conditions possibly caused by the constant exposure to the toxic air. The blades of a ceiling fan turned overhead in a futile attempt to provide some breathable air.
As the team moved around the house and started to remove the cats, a tiny kitten wasn’t taking any chances that she might be left behind, leaping out of the cage when the door opened and jumping into the arms of an HSUS rescuer. The underweight black kitten was suffering from severe eye issues but didn’t let her poor vision stop her from nuzzling and playing. A veterinarian prescribed medication to treat her eye infection, and a volunteer who helped care for the animals adopted the kitten, who is now named Tiny Tina. She may be permanently blind in one eye but is bouncing back from her ordeal. Her new mom says she felt compelled to adopt her because “she needs attention, she needs love.”