EVANSTON, Ill. - The Evanston Animal Shelter is overwhelmed with cats, from the same house.
"By the end of the first day, it was around 10 o’clock at night we had 29 cats, and then over the course of the next three and a half days it got up to 42," said feline director Nancy Maize.
The situation unfolded in August, when the Evanston Animal Shelter received a call from the fire department about six or eight cats who were pulled from a house fire.
Maize responded to the scene and couldn’t believe what she uncovered.
"I stood there for a minute and I saw all these faces looking at me and I started to cry for a minute. I thought this is very different from anything we've ever dealt with," she recalls.
The more than three dozen rescues required antibiotics for infections, spay and neuter surgeries, tooth extractions and vaccinations.
"There's 300 cans of cat food a week, a couple hundred pounds of cat litter," Maize said.
Volunteers also had trouble telling the cats apart.
"As is often the case in hoarder houses, there was a lot of inbreeding so there were like a lot of orange cats," said Maize.
To find the cats forever homes, making them more memorable to the public, the shelter decided to call them the "Ice Cream Cats," using Baskin Robbins' slogan of more than 31 flavors to make their appeal.
There is Coffee, Black Walnut, Cotton Candy and Lemon Custard to name a few.
Maize says the cats have some of the best personalities she’s ever encountered at the shelter. But the cost to care for the cats is overwhelming, almost $25,000 so far.
The tiny building wasn’t large enough to hold all the new felines, so the shelter is currently renting a storefront down the street, where the cats can perch themselves in the window, waiting for a new owner.
"We never gave it a second thought. We never sat down and said can we do this? Their teeth are falling out, can we do anything about it? It just, it happened."
The shelter is offering a two-for-one deal on the cats, since they like to be together. If you can’t adopt, they are also looking for foster homes. For more information, visit www.EvanstonAnimalShelter.net.