The Humane Society of Harford County's animal shelter is overflowing with cats.
The new guests showed up last week after an evicted tenant left behind 22 felines at an Abingdon apartment.
There are big ones and little ones, kittens and old cats, males and females, the rambunctious and the mellow. And they all are awaiting new homes -- or else.
With the 22 new cats, the shelter now has about 50 cats in its kennel located near Benson. That's nearly double the usual amount for this time of year, said Evelyn Stevens, manager of the shelter.
"We've never had that many. We do get animals from evictions, but never that many," Stevens said.
The cats, all short-hair domestic types, are in good condition and appear healthy, Stevens said. However, they will have to be killed if they do not find homes as more animals are brought to the shelter.
The shelter can hold only about 50 cats at a time, Stevens said. The facility also is keeping about 30 dogs.
The cats were brought to the Fallston shelter by the Harford Animal Control Office on May 8 after the management of The Greens apartment complex reported that the cats were found in a unit. The tenant of the unit had been evicted shortly before the cats were found. It was not clear how long the cats were in the unit before being discovered.
Citations in the case are pending an investigation, said Jon Zeigenhorn, chief of animal services for the county. He declined to name the evicted tenant.
Zeigenhorn said the office gets about 15 calls a year to pick up abandoned animals left behind by evicted tenants, usually collecting one or two cats or dogs at a time.
The 22 cats from the Abingdon apartment does not come close to the record: About 15 years ago, an evicted tenant left behind 50 cats, Zeigenhorn said.
The cats from the Abingdon apartment are not immediately available for adoption until medical tests are completed.
But people interested in adopting an animal should go to the shelter, located off Connelly Road or call 877-9744.
An adoption fee of $55 is required for female cats and $45 for male cats. The fee covers spaying, neutering and immunizations.