176 Cats in Need – Baypath Answers the Cry for Help
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) worked with Mississippi law enforcement to search and rescue 176 cats from three residences belonging to one individual in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. Despite the strong ammonia smell burning the rescuer’s eyes and throats, causing them to wheeze and cough, they knew they needed to persevere on their life-saving mission.
Warning: The following images contain graphic imagery
Photo Credit: The Humane Society of the United States assisted the City of Crystal Springs in rescuing approximately 150 cats from an alleged large-scale neglect situation in Mississippi. Photos by Meredith Lee/The HSUS
The heartbreaking scene the rescuers encountered is unimaginable to most – cats in stacked, rusty cages overflowing with urine and feces, some already deceased. After 10 hours of methodically removing the animals one by one, the rescue team transported the weary felines to a temporary emergency shelter operated by HSUS to receive urgent veterinary care.
Many cats had upper respiratory infections, parasites, skin conditions, eye issues and dental disease, while others were under or overweight. After securing the necessary treatment for their new charges, HSUS began the arduous task of finding shelter placements.
Warning: The following video contains graphic imagery
Video Credit: The Humane Society of the United States assisted the City of Crystal Springs in rescuing approximately 150 cats from an alleged large-scale neglect situation in Mississippi. Photos by Meredith Lee/The HSUS
Nikki Baltas, Baypath’s Shelter Manager, received the call to action and quickly made room for seven rescued cats. Shelter Veterinarian Andrea Moolenbeek discovered the new intakes desperately needed dental care, eye exams, spay/neuter surgeries and/or dietary interventions.
Of the seven cats who arrived at Baypath, Cavatappi and Barobu had the most severe medical issues. Both kitties were suffering from severe dental disease, resulting in 26 tooth extractions between them. Additionally, beautiful tiger cat Halloumi lost her eye due to a parasitic infection, while seven-year-old Burrata was diagnosed with heart disease, an abscess on her hip requiring draining and multiple skin lesions needing biopsy.
Due to insufficient socializing in Mississippi, many of the rescued cats were shy and uncomfortable with handling. As all of the cats spent the beginning of their lives surrounded by many fellow cats, our team felt they would do best in homes with another friendly resident cat.
Several months after arriving at Baypath, we reached out to these special adopters to see how each southern kitty was doing in their new home. It warmed our hearts to see cats who once lived in inhumane conditions deprived of their basic needs transformed into spoiled house cats! Today, the ‘lucky seven’ spend their days lounging in the sun, curling up on a comfortable couch and sharing a toy with their new furry siblings.
Where better for a cat with heart disease to find herself than in the arms of Marissa, a veterinary student studying to be a cardiologist? After several months at the shelter and in a loving foster home, Marissa and seven-year-old Burrata found each other. Given Burrata’s heart issues, Marissa appropriately renamed her Echo (short for Echocardiogram). Marissa says the most amazing part of bringing Echo home has been watching her discover life as a ‘real cat.’ She shares:
She is running and learning how to jump with freedom from the bars of her cage. In the early days, she bellyflopped with each attempt, and today, she has mastered jumping on furniture and her cat tree. As Echo learns how to play with toys, she likes to climb into the toy box to peruse each toy and carefully select one to play with. Lucky for Echo, she has Walnut, her feline sibling, to learn how to be a free-roaming housecat and whom she worked to win over her affection and approval.
Echo (aka BURRATA) at home
Zoey left Baypath with the Anderson Family to join Baypath alum Tigger. The Anderson’s share that initially, Zoey was “shy and a bit reserved, but after a few days, she quickly began to show her sweet and playful personality.” It wasn’t long before Zoey, now shortened to Zoe, began approaching her new family and “soliciting attention with soft meows for petting and to play with her favorite wand toys.” She spends her days playing with Tigger, birdwatching from her window perch and discovering new places to nap!
Zoe (aka Zoey) at home
Losing her eye inspired Halloumi’s fresh start, as adopter Andrea bestowed upon her new feline addition the name ‘Amani,’ a one-eyed goddess. Andrea explains that Amani has become much more social with people she knows and will be in their laps in no time, though she continues to run and hide from unfamiliar people. Amani is regularly found chasing a toy mouse and palling around with her sibling, Willow (seen together below on a moth spying mission!) At the end of the day, she curls up in bed alongside Andrea. Although she “may be a bit quirky, she is a sweetheart and a total joy,” Andrea says. This stunning tiger queen is thriving since finding true happiness and peace in her forever home.
Amani (aka Halloumi) at home
Wendy, one of the shyer cats Baypath welcomed, was adopted into a home with a confident resident cat. Despite her traumatic start in life, this petite princess quickly warmed to her new family’s 13-year-old daughter and slowly, to each family member.
According to the Snelgrove Family, Wendy has set some ‘rules,’ including but not limited to:
Petting her only in the kitchen and not in the dining room. Wendy is slowly “forgetting” that rule.
Petting her only inside the cat castle, but not on the floor. She forgets that rule and increasingly cuddles on the floor with their daughter each morning.
She must have her own litterbox, or she will use something inappropriate. She still sticks to this rule, so she has her own box.
When Wendy isn’t setting strict rules for the household, she happily plays with her new feline sibling Willow, including sweetly initiating games of tag. The Snelgrove’s are certain that as Wendy fully adjusts to life as a cherished house cat, her confidence will continue to grow – and she will further relax some of her initial rules!
Wendy at home
Barobu, an independent six-year-old, came into our care requiring a dozen tooth extractions. After recovering and waiting several months at the shelter, he was adopted by experienced pet owner Renee, who was up for the challenge of taking in a sassy boy. Barobu joined Baypath alum Nora, who has become his partner in crime, bullying the dogs and running amok throughout the house!
With several affectionate names for her new addition, including Booberts, Boober and Boobs, Renee looks forward to Barobu greeting her at the foot of the stairs each morning before heading to the kitchen for breakfast. According to Renee, her favorite Barobu antics happen after breakfast, when he will “stop and put his head between his front paws and do a front flip…a complete front rollover.” She is grateful that this silly beast makes her smile and laugh every day.
Booberts or Boober (aka Barobu) at home
When two-year-old Merida arrived in Hopkinton, she was quite reserved, preferring the company of other cats. Without proper socialization in her previous home, this conflicted little lady needed patient care from our staff and volunteers to realize that humans give love, food, pets and treats. One special day, volunteer Laurel arrived for her shift and was greeted by Merida and Otto. As soon as Laurel sat down in the cat room, both kitties immediately climbed onto her lap – and their fates were sealed! She adopted the pair and has since renamed Merida Lucy, whom she explains has blossomed into the “sweetest, cuddliest and friendliest girl who eagerly greets everyone.” When she isn’t napping in a sunny window, adorable Lucy is by Laurel or her brother Otto’s side.
Lucy (aka Merida) and Otto at home
Like Barobu, handsome five-year-old Cavatappi’s extensive dental disease led to a dozen tooth extractions. In addition to his medical issues, Cavatappi arrived very fearful of people due to improper socialization and lack of human contact. Considered a ‘shadow cat’ who may never be comfortable being pet or held, our team determined that this special boy would indeed make an excellent companion to fellow household cats. Today, Cavatappi, nicknamed Cava, enjoys spending his time surrounded by several new feline siblings in the home of a compassionate repeat Baypath adopter!
Cava (aka Cavatappi) at home
The entire Baypath community wishes to express our gratitude to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for leading this monumental rescue. Their life-saving efforts have resulted in hard-earned ‘happy tails’ for incredibly deserving cats in need. We are inspired by HSUS’s leadership and look forward to partnering with them to save more lives in 2024!