140 Cats Found In Cockroach-Infested Paterson Home: 'Worst Hoarding Case In Years'

Donna Moussa of Homeless Tails, a Wayne-based organization focused on trapping and neutering, says she gets about one hoarding case a year.

Inside the Madison Avenue cat hoarding case in Paterson.

Inside the Madison Avenue cat hoarding case in Paterson.

Photo Credit: Homeless Tails

The one was brought to her attention Thursday, Feb. 15 was the worst she's ever seen, she said.

The case came in through the owner of a Madison Avenue multi-family home in Paterson, who put out a Facebook post saying he had 50 cats and needed help.

When Moussa arrived, she realized the situation was much worse: It involved a 76-year-old female tenant on the second floor, and nearly 140 cats.

"It's beyond," Moussa said in a phone call Monday evening, Feb. 26 with Daily Voice. "I can't even bring my phone in to take pictures. The second floor is overrun with cockroaches. She's hoarding garbage and the first floor has flees.

"It's the worst hoarding case I've seen in years."

Dressed in HazMat suits with gloves and plastic booties, Moussa went into the home and brought out cats in carriers who went to Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, Homeless Tails, FOWA, and some local shelters.

As of Monday, Feb. 26, approximately 80 of the cats, mostly pregnant moms and kittens, were recovered — but 60 adults remain, "and that's low-balling it," Moussa said.

Moussa is desperate for more rescues to come forward and take in the remaining animals.

Moussa says all of the cats were in very good health, save for some respiratory infections and eye problems, like blindness and scarring.

"Every single one is friendly," she said. "Most needed to be netted and were scared but wound up being the sweetest."

Moussa said their 76-year-old owner was crying seeing her cats go, but knew she needed to give them up.

Once the cats receive proper medical care, they will need forever families.

Rescues willing to take in cats are urged to contact Donna Moussa of Homeless Tails at

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