DES MOINES, IA (KCCI/CNN) - The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is now nursing 26 cats back to good health after investigators found the animals in a one-bedroom apartment.
Stephanie Filer with the ARL described the cats as “filthy” and “soaked in urine.”
One of the cats was badly injured.
"The eye is actually ruptured, so the cat is in a lot of pain and discomfort here," Filer said.
Joe Stafford, ARL Animal Control director, said the animals are now being treated in the shelter.
“They all had flea issues and ear mites,” Stafford said. “There was a couple of eye issues tonight. One of them is so severe, the eye will probably have to be removed.”
He says the landlord was in the process of evicting the cat’s owner and that’s when the ARL was called in to investigate.
One by one they pulled two dozen sick and dirty cats and kittens from the small first floor apartment.
Neighbors say they’d seen some of the cats running around outside.
"To think that she is doing this to poor innocent animals, I mean, it's heartbreaking," Barnaby Thorold said.
Stafford said ARL investigators are looking into possible animal hoarding to explain the animals’ condition.
“People sometimes believe they’re trying to help, and the cats start to breed because they are not spayed or neutered and very quickly, the owner can become overwhelmed,” Stafford said.
The ARL said the goal now is to treat all cats, nurse them back to health and find new homes for them.
Police are still investigating the abuse, but at this time, no charges have been filed.