Mysterious abandoned cats stress three shelters
Three animal shelters from Rifle to Aspen have been dealing with the consequences of nearly 60 cats being mysteriously dropped off at their facilities in recent months.
Someone — shelter officials think it’s probably a single person — started by leaving six adult cats at Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) outside Glenwood Springs around the beginning of May.
Since then, a mix of 23 adults and kittens, some with upper respiratory and stomach problems, were left at the Aspen Animal Shelter. Five adults and four kittens were dropped off at the Rifle Animal Shelter, and 20 more adults were left at CARE.
“It seems to be happening in the middle of the night,” said Seth Sachson, director of the Aspen shelter.
Heather Mullen, manager of the Rifle shelter, said one indication that the same person has been involved each time is that the animals have been left in similarly hand-built wooden boxes. Sachson said the cats also look somewhat alike, suggesting they have the same bloodlines.
Said Mullen, “I’m leaning toward that it’s some hoarding situation, or maybe a ranch that has a bunch of cats.”
The shelter representatives say they’re glad to be able to help the animals, but the circumstances aren’t ideal.
Mullen said her shelter deals with a “crazy” amount of cats and kittens during the summer, and to have unexpected deliveries is challenging.
Said Leslie Rockey, director of CARE, “It kind of stresses the cats that are already here, and stresses the shelter staff.”
Said Sachson, “It’s better that we find homes for them than somebody drowning them in the river or something like that.”
But he added, “It’s just definitely overwhelming when a shelter is full to have 23 cats left in your parking lot.”
Officials with all three shelters said they would have preferred to have been contacted in advance by the person involved, in order to prepare to take in the animals in an orderly fashion.
As of a few days ago, the Rifle shelter had three of the abandoned cats left for adoption. Praising the community and local media response, Sachson said his shelter has adopted out the 23 it received and seven other shelter cats.
CARE still has a few of the first cats dropped off and all 20 from the second round. On Friday and Saturday, the shelter will offer free barn cats and specials on other adoptable cats. The shelter website is www. coloradoanimalrescue.org.