#AdorableAdoptables & Shelter Stories,  Cats,  Shelter Cats

Revisiting A Cat Hoarder Rescue One Year Later

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

A year ago a local news story changed my life. The details of 69 cats rescued from hoarder hell prompted swift action. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing the suffering of animals but I dreaded going to shelter to help. I’m used to working with small groups or one cat at a time, not hundreds. But this was one time writing a check was not enough so I began volunteering at the New Rochelle Humane Society.

BREAKING NEWS: Scroll down to link
NRHS-cats adoption

I blogged about the hoarder story on May 21, 2014. and began a weekly shelter volunteer blog; Notes From Shelter. This little guy, Gray Boy was my muse, sadly died only weeks after being rescued.

NRHS rescued cat ready for adoption

shelter cat muse

My goal was to help get all the cats adopted and be on my way. Ha, wishful thinking. It’s not so easy getting cats adopted and I found myself getting deeply involved with all the cats and not just the hoarders’. A year later, only three remain at the shelter including sweet Marco, whom we’ve featured several times and inexplicably eludes adoption.

B & W-Marco

So many others have come and gone. So many stories I have yet to tell. Week after week I’d return home from the shelter dirty from sitting on floors with cats, exhausted, wondering if was making a difference. As I tried to sleep, visions of their sad faces behind bars tormented me. My effort felt minuscule compared to the never ending need. It was and still is never enough. It’s only when we look back and catalog change, is there a glimmer of accomplishment. Hundreds of hours, hundreds of photos, 50 blog posts (check out our shelter stories category) and the unexpected joy of creating adoption PSAs. Each one as unique as the cat.

I’m posting a few pics of the hoarder and other cats that entered my life however briefly. My muse the late Gray Boy was the brightest light. His spirit is longgone and far away but I’m reminded of him every time a new cat occupies his former cage. Another gray cat from another hoarder found her home with us. Nou Nou is our daily reminder that the most unadoptable cats can turn out purrfectly adoptable.

#sundayselfie cats Nou Nou


Many purrs of thanks to all the readers who faithfully share our adoption posts and graphics every week. You are my heroes. Right now, there is an emergency and I need your help. Sadly, I know we can’t help or save every cat but I was crying all day. A cat we featured two months ago, the ginger and cream boy, Radish (blog post) has a bite hold until May 27 and is on a kill list. Yes, even the best no-kill shelters have to put down a cat on occasion. Radish has bitten several people, badly. He’s always been fine with me but was never vetted. Apparently he was so aggressive he would require sedation for a vet check, but it’s not in the shelter budget. My husband and I are considering options. We can’t afford another cat on any level but feel we need to do something. If the root cause of the aggression is medical (I suspect it is) it may require thousands of dollars in treatment with no guarantees. If we remove him from the shelter, they will not take him back. Fundraiser anyone? Is Radish worth saving? Please email me [email protected] with any suggestions or leave a comment. Or donate to our emergency vet fund.


New Rochelle Humane Society-cat behaviorist-Layla Morgan Wilde

New Rochelle Humane Society cats


  • maggie

    This is a tough one… and of course the safety and health of your cats at home are your highest priority when you consider fostering.
    I’m sure that each of the bite incidents have been analyzed to find out if there was a cause (another cat, loud noise, etc.). It seems unreasonable that the shelter can’t afford to run the tests and won’t let you bring Radish to your vet.
    When I hear this kind of story, I feel terrible for the cats, and for the shelter management who has to make heart wrenching decisions.
    Hope there’s a solution for Radish.

  • Katie Kat and Mew Mew

    So thankful for all you have done to help and love these kitties after their hoarding situation.

    Poor Radish… this is terrible that he can’t get the med help he might need. I pray for hope and a miracle. -Katie Kat.

    On a side note, you sent me an email back in March about winning the book Rescued, yet never received the book. Just wondering what happened.


  • Dianna Richards

    Is it possible that the Radish’s aggression is because he’s in a cage? Some years ago, my mother found this Husky/Border Collie mix at the shelter that she just fell in love with. But they kept telling her that “she’s vicious” and “she’s a biter”. So she asked me to go down and have a look at the dog. I told them to get her out of the cage. They looked at me like I was crazy but got a pole and pulled her out. We took her out in the yard and I just let her walk around for a bit (still at the end of the pole so she couldn’t get at the people, not the most amiable setting) but then after she’d calmed down, I walked over to where she good get at me and stooped down, got on the dog’s level. The volunteer was certain I was going to get my throat ripped out, but within five minutes I had the dog on her bag begging for belly rubs. She was the sweetest cuddle bug in the world, but she hated being in that cage. So my mom adopted her and I named her “Spook”, because it was in her nature to be a bit skiddish. But honestly, she never bit anyone and was just totally sweet for the rest of her live. Vicious killer indeed. So yes, I think there could be hope for Radish and maybe he just needs to be out of the cage and taken somewhere quiet.

  • Sammy

    What an amazing update….we remember a year ago and this tragic situation with so many cats needing help and a home. Bless you for all you do Layla but there’s only so much that CAN be done – all of us who can help certainly will……and always will…..Radish’s situation is terribly sad and I’m thinking he needs vet care ASAP.

    Love and Hugs, Pam and Sam

  • Darlene Arden, C.A.B.C.

    I think the shelter is exacerbating things for poor little Radish. He needs to be seen by a veterinarian. I suspect mouth pain and he may have bitten when he was in pain. who wouldn’t?! It’s not fair to make him suffer in a cage with no medical attention. That’s not sheltering; that’s animal abuse to allow that pain to continue without getting him a vet check. I hope this will work out favorably for little Radish.

  • Sometimes Cats Herd You

    We hope there’s something that can be done for Radish. The extended stay in the stressful shelter must be really hard on him, and that can’t help with his biting, even if there’s no underlying medical issue.

  • meowmeowmans

    I am glad you have been and continue to be such an amazing advocate for these cats, Layla. Thank you.

    I don’t know what to suggest about Radish. Could it be “cage rage?” Regardless, i seems like the first step would be to get him checked medically. I think if you do set up a fundraiser, people will help.

  • Skeeter And Izzy

    Can you set up a Fund it thingy? I don’t know where you do it but I know lots of peeps do it for lots of reasons and lots of money appears. We know first hand about the biting issue. Izzy is just now getting to the point where she doesn’t go beserk at certain touches or movements and grab, claw and bite with the intent to kill. No physical issues but obviously a traumatic experience caused this reaction in her. She is now 3. Her issue was “set off” when you would reach over her head or reach for her in a situation where she felt cornered (ie cage,corner, small area) This was probably a result of being a tiny feral kitten trying to steal food from very large dogs that tried to kill her.
    We pray that something can be done to help him no matter what the cause. He is probably good with you because you don’t “rush” him and I know that that has to be done sometimes just because of the nature of shelter life. So very sad.
    We send you and Radish our Purrs and Prayers and Love and Hugs.
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo >^..^<

  • Elaine Hutzelman

    You might want to contact Best Friends in Utah. They took many of the Vick dogs and worked with them.

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    Layla, if you start a fundraiser for him, I’d be more than happy to post the badge and the link to the contributions page on my sidebar. I hope between the suggestions here and on your facebook and other social media platforms, a solution that’s a win win for radish can be found ♥♥♥ Laura

  • Annabelle

    I think what you are experiencing is that “compassionate fatigue” because it is never enough, there is always more. When one cat gets adopted another fills it’s place in the Shelter, it is ongoing and never stops. There are so many tragic stories out there, and poor Radish is just another, we hope there is a solution — but we can understand a Shelter has only limited resources.

  • jansfunnyfarm

    It’s great you’ve had such a productive year helping so many cats. I can imagine Radish weighs heavily on your mind. I hope he can be saved and will prosper outside of a shelter environment!

  • mariodacat

    You have done such great work and can feel good about what you have done. I hope Radish can be saved and doesn’t become another non-savable statistic. But as I have gotten older, I realize we can’t save them all unfortunately. We can do what we are able to do and hope we have made a difference. You are the type of person who has made a difference.

  • Cathy Keisha

    So much for the good news. Radish threw that out the window. Can he maybe go to a cat sanctuary like A Call 4 Paws or would be endanger the other cats? They do vet the cats and try to socialize them but I don’t know if they have the money either.

  • Bernadette

    That’s a lot of hard work over a year, and even though it only feels like a trickle it still makes ripples and waves further out. I’m glad most of the cats have been adopted! Whatever Radish’s issues may be, he deserves a chance if you or someone else can give it to him, and the only way to know what the issue is, is to get him out of the shelter melee, which may be a big part of the problem, and get him an exam to see what physical issues he may have. Whether it’s you or someone else who takes him home to foster and care for, he deserves a little time to tell his story.

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Its true about a ripple effect. It’s a catch-22. I would consider fostering Radish but not unless he was fully vetted and as of today the shelter has not agreed to allow my vet to examine him even if I pay his fee. I’m waiting to hear to hear back about the legalities.

  • Summer

    Oh no! I’m purring lots for a solution to Radish’s dilemma. I think all us kitties know that being stuck in a shelter situation does not reveal who we really are, and kitties like him have it the worst because it is especially hard on them emotionally – and possibly medically.

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