After owner dies, 50 cats on Tatum property have nowhere to go

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 1:48 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 8:21 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas police department is stepping in to help after the death of a homeowner resulted in dozens of cats being left without a caretaker.

After owner dies, 50 cats on Tatum property have nowhere to go

Concerned neighbors made the discovery at a home in Tatum, just inside the Panola County line.

Tatum police are trying to get a humane organization or shelter to come to the cats’ rescue.

The owner of the residence passed away recently, but what was left behind concerned animal lovers and neighbors.

Cats ... a conservative estimate of 50.

“Real distressing to me because not only were there grown cats, there were kittens running all over the place,” said neighbor Debbie Ross.

“There’s never been a issue with the cats until the passing of the resident who lived here. She pretty much had them as pets,” said Tatum Police Chief James Smith.

The owner had kept the large group for years.

Though not technically a police matter, Tatum police have reached out to various shelters and humane organizations to arrange for the cats to be rescued, but with no success yet.

“We’ve contacted several. Not really sure if they’re going to act on it or not but eventually it’s going to be a problem. As you can see there are several kittens, so it is going to be an issue,” the chief said.

“We tried to call everywhere we knew to call,” Ross says.

A relative had been coming by the home to give the cats food and water, but with over 50, their resources will run thin.

“There is a time factor; there were several we could see had an injury of some kind,” says Ross.

“Other relatives have stepped up, forced to feed the cats take care of the cats, and it’s just not in their means to do it,” Smith says.

One shelter has offered, but at a cost.

“No one can physically pay $25-30 per cat,” the chief says.

The objective is to relocate them if possible.

“Surely there’s one out there that will reach out to us,” Smith says.

The Tatum Police Department has even offered to buy food for the cats until they are rescued.