The humane society in Welland, Ont., is spaying, neutering and vaccinating as quickly as it can after 146 cats were seized last week from a home. 

There were so many cats, executive director John Greer said, that the shelter had to shut down for an afternoon just to handle them all.

"We've never, ever seen numbers like that from inside one home."

The humane society first found out about the problem on Feb. 8, when Niagara Regional Police and local bailiffs were evicting a married couple from a home in the King Street and Ontario Road area.

"When the bailiffs entered the home to change the locks, it was just cats everywhere," Greer said.

Humane society workers rushed to the home and started the process of moving the cats to the society's facility. Most are young adults or kittens, and some were pregnant. Three cats were born during the trip.

Greer said the cats were generally pretty healthy, except for some weight problems and upper respiratory issues.

He believes it may be a "hoarding situation" that allowed the cat population to spiral inside the home.

"Cats breed very rapidly, and it just gets out of control," he said.

Welland cats

The humane society says the cats have all been dewormed, vaccinated, have had rabies shots, and will be spayed and neutered before they are adopted. (Welland and District Humane Society)

Animal control officers are conducting an "open investigation" into the man and the woman who had been living at the home.

"If it's a mental health issue. We don't generally look at charges," Greer said.

Thankfully, the cats were taken in at a time when the shelter is generally low on felines, but there were still more than the facility could handle all at once. The Fort Erie SPCA took 30, while another 15 were taken to a satellite location at the Seaway Mall, Greer said.

The majority of the cats are now up for adoption.

"Most of them are very social," Greer said.

"Generally, they're all very human friendly. Sometimes just the bigger guys pick on the little guys."