By Angelica Duria
WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (WITI/CNN) - Nearly 150 cats were confiscated from a woman's property in Waukesha County, Wis.
Most were either found dead or were in such terrible shape that the only option was to euthanize.
Now animal welfare workers are caring for those that are left.
"We received a call from the county humane officers that there was a property that had been overrun with cats," said Lynn Olenik with the Waukesha Co. Humane Animal Welfare Society.
It's a call any animal lover hates to get, and when Olenik went out to the home last week, her team found 40 cats the first day.
The following days, even more.
"We found out a few more that she had another property and all together we collected 144 cats in a week's period of time," she said.
Most were either found dead or in terrible shape, that the only option was to euthanize.
"They were under weight. They were dehydrated. They had numbers of different types of infections going on," said Olenik.
Fortunately, haws was able to take back 50 of them, some as young as three days old.
Some require a bit more attention.
"They are in the various stages of upper respiratory. They'll be spayed or neutered, they'll be de-wormed, they'll get their vaccinations," said Olenik.
While they'll eventually go to better homes, Olenik says this should serve as a reminder to be watchful of owners with signs of hoarding, like odor, excessive pet waste, and cats with poor coats.
"They have such an emotional bond that they're unable to release them, and something goes a little haywire and all of a sudden 20 turns into 40 turns to 80 and these animals are continuing to breed," said Olenik.
In this case, a simple call or welfare check earlier could have saved dozens of these little lives.
"It's very difficult for the staff involved. That's not why we're here, we're here to save lives," said Olenik.
The Humane Animal Welfare Society says the cat owner did surrender the cats. It's unclear if charges will be filed against her.