Help Me to Help 69 Cats Rescued From Hoarder Horror In Westchester County, NY

NRHS-cats collage-001

This is the first in a series of articles on animal hoarding.

There are reality shows about hoarders but the fantasy world of television recently collided with reality horror in my neck of the woods. When we read tragic stories of animal neglect or abuse we hope it’s not from our backyard. And then sometimes the unthinkable happens. I live one of the most affluent counties in the U.S. where billionaires like Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren live near pockets of the less wealthy. Last week, from one condemned home in foreclosure, in my leafy neighborhood, the Greenburgh police with the New Rochelle Humane Society removed 69 cats living in hoarder hell. These innocent cats caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, found themselves trapped in tiny cages, without litter boxes or any care for up to eight years. Some of cats have known nothing but unbearable conditions since being born in captivity.

The mother and daughter who lived there didn’t intend to imprison and endanger the lives of cats. Hoarders often love animals and think they want to help them but physical and mental illness coupled with financial woes often create the perfect storm for hoarding. People with a hoarding disorder often have OCD or other psychological disorders from depression, PTSD or addictions. One thing and one cat leads to another resulting in an out-of-control-situation. Sadly, intervention doesn’t come soon enough in most cases.

What disturbed me about the hoarding situation was the proximity. Didn’t the neighbors wonder what was going on? Surely someone saw endless bags of food and cages entering a small 1000 sq.ft. house over the years and then dawned on me: we mind our own business where I live. We’re polite to our neighbors and we don’t pry. After thirteen years of living here, there are some neighbors I’ve never said hello to but only waved across the acreage. What happened here could happen anywhere, even in your backyard. Let’s avoid that. Let’s say and do something if a situation doesn’t feel right. It just may save lives and needless suffering.

It’s easy to feel shock and anger towards the hoarders or focus on what the animals endured. Most press covering this and similar stories tend to sensationalize the horrible details but I’d prefer to put on a positive spin. The animal were rescued. They are safe and medically cared for. The future is brighter for some than others but there is hope for all. Cats are remarkably resilient and I’ve witnessed miraculous changes when rehabbed, socialized and loved.

When something bad happens especially if it’s close to you, there is nothing more satisfying than taking positive action. There is always something we can do to help. I made these PSA graphics to be Pinned and shared. We can’t always foster or adopt but we can social media share or donate items or cash. The New Rochelle Humane Society has a Donation page on and having an online fundraising auction. All of the cats need medical treatment. One is having a leg amputated. We all know how expensive veterinary care is. Do whatever you can do to help.

The 69 cats, the tireless shelter worker like manager Dana Rocco and me thank you.

This gorgeous rescued orange tabby sniffed his freedom and raced after a catnip toy as if he’d done it all his life.

NRHS-ginger cat rescued from hoarder

A few of the 69 are already in foster homes but with limited space at the shelter, foster home placements are the #1 priority. Some of the cats will need more care but it’s huge progress for a cat to look directly into your eyes like these brave kitties. For all the latest developments about these special survivals, “like” and follow the New Rochelle Humane Society on Facebook or visit their website at New for more info on how you can help.

NRHS rescued cat ready for adoption

NRHS-orange tabby foster cat

NRHS-cat adoption foster PSA

41 thoughts on “Help Me to Help 69 Cats Rescued From Hoarder Horror In Westchester County, NY”

  1. Those poor little creatures of God! Instead of being saved by the hoarder; they are imprisoned. I know what you mean about not knowing your neighbors. We never even saw the people who lived in the next apartment until they were here a year. I’ll share.

  2. Heartbreaking. And yes, way too close to home. Our beloved Moosey came from a hoarding situation, as did our sweet angel kitty, Graphite. I’ve shared about the New Rochelle kitties on Facebook, and on Twitter … purring and praying it helps get these babies re-homed.

  3. I do pray that these cats find homes and I agree, best not to judge. Sometimes things are done at the very core root for love, although it is hard to see that on the surface. Both the humans and felines are in need of care…

    I look forward to the updates and wish you and the Cat Wisdom 101 cats well.

  4. So happy to hear that these babies are gettin’ the love and care they need. That’s the most important thing of all.

    I completely agree with you. A positive focus must be put on savin’ the babies now rather than expressin’ anger at the hoarder. That way, lives will be bettered and isn’t that what we all want in the end?


  5. We too are glad these kitties were rescued.
    We purr they will get good homes soon too.
    Thanks for this post.
    It is true how well we don’t know our neighbours!
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure, JJ
    and Angels Tiger and Tillie

  6. Oh Layla..How sad..but how happy that there is now hope for them all..

  7. Hoarding of all kinds is a terrible mental illness, but especially animal hoarding. The head peep knows someone up in that area and will reach out to her to make sure she’s aware of the situation.

  8. Meez so happy dat evewkitty and pawdy is gettin’ help. Meez sowwy dat it had tu hapun, but glad dat help has come. Those awe sum gawjus kittys and meez will purray dat deys find wunnewful luvvin’ homes soon. 🙂

    Luv and Hugs and Kitty kisses ♥♥♥


  9. Hoarding is a mental illness issue. As hard as it is to understand for any non hoarders it is deeply rooted and needs psychological intervention. Without those people will only continue to hoard. They truly can’t see that what they are doing is harmful to themselves, and in the case of innocent animals harmful to them as well.

  10. Similar situations have occurred where we live. Mommy says she feels as if someone is squeezing her heart. It hurts so much to see this. She wishes we lived closer so we could help with fostering. Since we can’t do that, she will go and give some green papers. Please keep us posted on how these port babies get along. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  11. We pray that these and others like them will be rescued and placed in furever homes. Sometimes that is all we can do. It is such a sad situation for the animals and for the people. We don’t spy on our neighbors or anything but we pay attention to things that we see and hear not just in our neighborhood but everywhere we go. If something doesn’t look or feel or sound or smell right then we take action. The worse that can happen is all is well and someone gets their nose out of joint because someone suspected them of something ,the best that can happen is something horrible is stopped or prevented. In our opinion that is a win win! We try to advocate and educate for cats and all animals everyday and we always pray to every force and deity there may be to protect,heal,feed and shelter all those that are in need. We will continue to do so.
    Thank you Layla for all you do and thank everyone that visits here for all they do. One cat/animal, one situation at a time. We must win the battle!
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig and Peanut and Romeo >^..^<

  12. I always wonder too why the neighbors haven’t noticed what was going on on the other side of the fence. It’s so sad that the cats had to live such a poor life for years.

  13. Those poor cats, not even a litterbox! I agree, news and people tend to focus on the sensational and want all sorts of punishments for the people, but in short order all is forgotten and nothing is done. Hoarding will continue unless we look deeper each time and recognize the possibilities in each other. Sharing!

  14. Hoarding has a lot to do with abandonment and trauma. Often those who were abandoned crave the unconditional love only animals can give, for instance.

    I certainly hope that all the kitties can be placed in good homes.

  15. This is so tragic and senseless. As far as neighbors are concerned, I keep a respectful distance, but I also know what’s going on and if there were anything even close to this, authorities would be notified immediately. Yes, absolutely, someone had to have known this was going on.

    It’s time authorities stepped in more frequently and punished those inflicting animal cruelty more harshly.

  16. I could see Mummy was very sad when we were reading this post, so I told her we could try to help by sharing this post on our facebook page – we don’t have a large following yet, but everything helps, doesn’t it? Xanthe xxx

  17. My heart is filled with hope for these beautiful cats… makes me beyond sad that they’ve known no life other than what they had up until their rescue……bless them all and those who are helping them.


  18. We know how awful it is to be hoarded – we were rescued by the RSPCA from a house that had over 100 of us there. We are so lucky now to have a nice home, lots of love and a garden to go outside in.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  19. It is so hard to see these stories. Unfortunately, this is VERY common where I am (Detroit). Hoarding is a horrible disease for the person who has it and everyone around them. I am convinced that we need to get help for the animals involved in these situations, but we also need to put more into helping people with hoarding disorders. If we don’t help the people, we don’t stop the problem. Sorry for the rant.

  20. oh my so very sad. in my town about 20 years ago, 12 cats were in one house.

    they are all so cute.

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