BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Coastal Humane Society is hoping to arrange adoptions for dozens of cats it rescued from a Freeport home over the summer.
The shelter is holding an adoption drive this Saturday and Sunday, dubbed “Catapalooza,” to provide homes for the cats that previously lived in an overcrowded situation.
“We’re really hoping that this weekend’s adoption drive will move a lot of them, because we want to get them into homes fast,” Coastal Humane Society Executive Director Karen Stimpson said. “They suffered enough in their previous situation and they’re now in cages and in a foreign place.”
The large and unprecedented intake of cats — nearly 100 after a Sunday rescue mission — has placed a major logistical and financial strain on the shelter, which typically reaches capacity during late summer and early autumn.
In order to support the clowder, Coastal Humane Society had to turn its administrative offices at 190 Pleasant St., formerly Thibeault Energy and a Dexter Shoe outlet, into an ad-hoc shelter last weekend.
Stimpson estimated care and nourishment will cost the shelter more than $500 per cat, so the shelter is also soliciting extra donations.
When faced with the task of rescuing the cats, she said, the shelter didn’t have much of a choice.
Because none of the cats were spayed or neutered, Stimpson said the population could have spiraled out of control within months and would have become a tougher problem to address.
Since Coastal Humane Society decided to act now, Stimpson said, the ad-hoc use of the shelter’s administrative offices could provide a sneak preview of the shelter’s future plans for renovation and expansion.
Coastal Humane Society is in the silent phase of a capital campaign to expand the Pleasant Street building, which could include moving the main part of the shelter away from its primary 30 Range Road location, Stimpson said.
However, she added, plans for expansion and renovation will change according to what contributors say they can support.
Coastal Humane Society Executive Marketing Coordinator Jane Siviski said all of the Freeport cats appear to be in healthy condition, aside from having fleas when they were first rescued. They have been cleaned, vaccinated, examined and will be spayed or neutered before they are allowed to be adopted. Some of the kittens and mother cats from the group are already under foster care.
Surprisingly, Siviski said, all of the cats appear to be well-behaved and work well with other cats because of their previous living situation.
“They’re all very well behaved and very sweet cats,” she said.
The shelter’s rescue mission also raises questions about what people can do to avoid becoming pet hoarders.
Eric Grainger, a social worker with Shalom House in Portland and chairman of the Maine Hoarding Task Force, said while he primarily works with people who hoard inanimate objects, he knows from experts that animal hoarding can be a chronic illness.
He said if someone has hoarding issues, they should contact their local municipal offices or police or fire department before their environment becomes unhealthy.
The Maine Hoarding Task Force also provides access to a network to help people find long-term ways to deal with the illness.
“It’s not just an individual problem,” Grainger said. “It’s a community issue.”
Siviski said Coastal Humane Society began speaking with the Freeport cat owner in June after Freeport Police Department’s animal control unit contacted the shelter about the problem, following the tip of a concerned neighbor.
The owner, whose name and address are not being released, has been fully cooperative with the rescue mission, Siviski said.
She said the Freeport Police Department will not charge the owner, in part because of his cooperation and because the cats appeared to be well-fed and healthy.