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Saving 54 Cats from a Hotel Room

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

On July 21st, 2023 we embarked on an epic rescue mission to save over 50 cats from inside a hotel room.

Let's rewind a few weeks however, when I received a Facebook message from someone who was desperate for help for a situation involving a minor, 50+ cats, and a hotel room. Initially I felt that this situation wasn't something we could handle and recognizing our abilities in what we can or cannot handle is an important part of animal rescue. I told the lady we would see what we could do and figure out if other rescues would be in a better position to help.

A week later and the case was still in the back of my mind. Those poor cats. We then got a call from Child Protective Services and were informed that a baby was residing in the room with the cats and their family. Thankfully the baby was removed from the situation and in its place was a broken family and a lot of cats all needing help. Suddenly this case became a lot more personal to me. Those cats needed out, and the family needed help starting over and re-building their lives.

The cats were located in Washington about 2.5 hours from me. The CPS agent had informed me they had reached out to the major humane societies, cat rescues, and animal control, but nothing could be done. They did not have the capacity to help them. We didn't either but we knew that we might be these cats only chance.

So, we planned the trip to rescue the cats on a weekend I was heading up to Washington for a wedding. We would pick up the cats on the way home.

The day before we were supposed to leave to get the cats, my truck needed to go into get serviced and I was given a rental truck that was much smaller than my truck, and an instant panic attack set in. How was I going to transport 50+ cats back home in this tiny truck. It just wasn't possible.

Thankfully our amazing rescue partners, START, lent us their transport van and we were able to drive it up to Washington to rescue the cats.

When we arrived at the hotel, we went to the lobby to let them know we were here to rescue the cats. I asked her how many cats were in the room, and the front desk lady informed me that there were only 13 or so in the room. I took a sigh of relief and realized the situation was not as bad as we thought.

As I headed back to the room, I felt a lot better about the situation. When I arrived at the door of the room, the two owners were waiting for me. I then asked them how many cats were in the room. The said about 30. Still less than 50 and I was feeling optimistic. However, when they opened the door I was met with SO. MANY. CATS. There was definitely more than 30.

I do want to add here that the smell coming from the room radiated from the hotel room into the parkingklot. It was horrible. The ammonia readings from CPS maxed out their machines. How could anyone, let alone a baby, live in this type of situation. I could hardly breathe through my mask.

I ended up waiting outside and handing them carriers so the owners could load up the cats and bring them out to me so I could load them up into the van. I kept a tally and the numbers kept growing. 22....31....40...50....54.

We rescued 54 cats from that hotel room. But I also think we rescued a struggling family from situation that seemed to have no positive outcome.

There were a lot of tears from the family as they said goodbye to each of the cats. They had names for each and every one. They knew their birthdays, their likes, their loves, everything. It was touching. But also can make one wonder, if they loved these cats so much then how could they let them live like this. I think it's a hard situation to think about. It is easy to view these individuals as monsters. But I saw a broken family. An individual scared of judgement, lack of resources, and terrified that if her cats went to a shelter they would be euthanized.

Once all 54 cats were loaded up, we said our goodbyes and began the journey home.

We have a large task ahead of us getting these sweet babies healthy, fixed, and into homes. We ask that if anyone is looking to adopt a cat or kitten, to please come visit our rescue location and adopt. You are saving a life and will be opening a spot for at risk cats to get a chance at a new life.

Please pray for us and these adorable kitties who's life is just beginning.

Please pray for the family in that hotel room. That they can begin to pick up the pieces of their lives and their family will be whole again. That healing can take place spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Thank you for helping us.

Saving Cats. Saving People.

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Sheryl Helms
Sheryl Helms
Oct 11, 2023

Wow. Thank you so much for being so kind to the family. So many times we overlook the fact that hoarders truly do love their animals. They are not monsters who chain an animal up or cage them for breeding or beat them. Those people are the monsters. I'm so glad you were able to help the cats and the family. I hope they all do well. I'm so sorry to hear about your building situation. Praying for a positive outcome. You are obviously needed in the community.


We're so lucky to have one of the 54 cats given up for adoption/rescue. Hobbs (now Eddie) is a complete joy. We've never experienced such an easy transition of a kitten (ginger, male, 4-mo) w/ three older grown male cats. We are so fortunate to have him here -- it's only been a week, but our household has changed, and we're amazed at how he seems to easily acclimate here. We love this little boy and do our best to keep him happy and healthy. Thank you to all who made it so our paths met! <3 The Palmers

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