SPENCER - The Roane County Animal Shelter is asking for community help after an owner surrendered 124 cats to the facility.
Staff and volunteers have been caring for the cats, assessing their health and separating them by gender.
"Lots of them are in pretty good health," said Sandy Bush, shelter manager. "Almost all are adults. They are litter-trained. There are a few feral cats we've had to separate out, but they mostly are in really good health."
Officials with the Roane County Animal Shelter say most of the 124 cats surrendered Monday are in good health and are already litter trained.
The cats were surrendered Monday by a single owner who told officials the sheer number of them was too much to handle.
"This is a person with a good heart who wanted to care for them," Bush said. "They are the kind of person that if someone brought them a cat, they tried to take care of it. It just got out of hand."
Bush said this is the largest animal surrender in the history of the shelter.
"We've never seen anything like this," she said, adding the influx of felines has put a strain on the small shelter.
"We were pretty full up already," she said.
Officials are asking for monetary donations as well as donations of cat litter, litter boxes, large feeding and water dishes, cleaning supplies such as paper towels, bleach and trash bags, and large fold-down metal crates, the kind used to temporarily house dogs.
"The plastic crates just don't work," Bush said.
The shelter also is asking for donations of canned cat food, but said they have enough dry food and are asking people not bring in more. Bush also said because of its small size the shelter cannot accommodate more volunteers, but officials are asking those interested to instead make donations or consider adoption.
Bush said within the next day or two the cats will start being offered for adoption.
"We are assessing them over the next several days, seeing who is friendly," she said. "Adoptions need to start in the next couple of days."
Bush said this incident shows the importance of spaying and neutering pets. None of the cats have been spayed or neutered.
Information on the cats and the shelter can be found through the group's Facebook pages by searching for "Roane County Animal Shelter" or "Roane Shelter."
The shelter is at 2550 Parkersburg Road in Spencer and can be reached by phone at 304-927-2555.