Response to help hoarded cats in Winsted ‘unprecedented,’ official says

WINSTED — Thanks to the “unprecedented” number of animal shelters that have joined the efforts to help in the rescue of more than 160 cats, two ferrets and a dog, only about 50 remain in the town’s care, according to Town Manager Josh Kelly.

“We’ve had an first number of shelters involved with the response to this crisis,” he said in a social media post. “A majority of the cats, at this point, have been placed in shelters, with a bit under 50 remaining in the Town’s care at the moment.”

At the same time, more cats still are being caught at the Moore Avenue home where a hoarding situation was reported less than two weeks ago. They are being taken to Winsted’s temporary shelter at the Batcheller School, Kelly said, and donations are needed for their care.

Batcheller closed at the end of the school year, and the Mary P. Hinsdale School is scheduled to reopen in August after an extensive renovation. The timing of the closure was an opportunity to use the school’s gym as a shelter.

A veterinarian was on hand at Batcheller to examine the animals, and a number of them had upper respiratory infections. None of the animals was neutered or spayed. Town officials including Social Services Coordinator Katie Vaill, Kelly, members of the Board of Selectmen, Mayor Todd Arcelaschi, the animal control officer and the state’s Animal Emergency Response Team were involved in the effort. Then the outreach from a number of shelters began, Kelly said.

The CT Cat Connection, Friends of Berlin Animal Control, Paws 4 Life Animal Rescue of CT, Meriden Humane Society, Ferret Association of CT, Paws Cat Shelter CT, Chimera Sanctuary & Rescue, The Queenie Foundation, Animal Haven and Purr in Torrington all have taken a number of the rescued animals to their respective facilities. The town on Monday invited residents to visit the school shelter and apply to adopt an animal.

The cats that remain at the Batcheller School, including three very young kittens and a nursing mother, still need help, Kelly said.

“They have big vet bills that still have to be paid, as we work hard to make sure these cats are safe, healthy and cared for,” he said. “We continue to accept, and greatly appreciate, monetary donations.”

Those cats will be available for adoption once they are in good health. Anyone in future adoption of them or other remaining animals can email Kelly at or reach out to one of the shelters has already has taken some of the cats.

To make a donation, checks can be mailed to the Town of Winchester, Town Hall, 338 Main St., Winsted, CT 06098. Cash or checks can be dropped off at Town Hall. Put “Animal Care” in the memo.

Kelly thanked everyone who is or has helped. “The work is far from done, but we wouldn’t have come this far without you,” he said.

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