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Cat hoarders took good care of their 130-plus cats but just got overwhelmed | Environment

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Cat hoarders took good care of their 130-plus cats but just got overwhelmed

The cat ladies, Paula and Eleanor, “have been doing cat rescue for years and just got overwhelmed,” said Linda Kozaryn, who lives across the street from the cat hoarders. “These people love animals but are too old to care for the volume.”

Fairfax County Animal Control has been removing cats from 7101 Village Drive, Annandale, all weekend. According to Kozaryn, 115 cats were taken out Friday evening and another 15 to 20 since then. The Fairfax County police were alerted to the problem after another neighbor complained about the smell. Eleanor and Paula are totally devastated about the break-up of their “family.” Eleanor is fearful that some of them might be destroyed. “They call it euthanasia. It’s really murder,” she said. Kozaryn said the cats from Village Drive will be put up for adoption and reassured the women that they will eventually find good homes. Eleanor, 78, is a retired federal employee. She owns the house and is staying with Kozaryn until she can return to her home. Paula, age 69 or 70, works for the Navy. She is staying with her son. According to Kozaryn, the house has been “declared unfit for habitation,” and the county requires it to be totally cleaned—with everything porous removed, such as paneling and wallboards, as well as furniture and clothing—which could cost as much as $10,000. That will be a hardship for them, as “they’ve spent every dime they own on their cats,” said Kozaryn, who also has a lot of cats but nowhere near the number owned by Paula and Eleanor. “Their hearts are so big, they would take in any cat,” Kozaryn said. People referred to Paula as a “kitten whisperer,” and one woman even drove up from Florida with five kittens she could no longer keep because she knew Paula and Eleanor would provide for them.  Kozaryn said the women would bring eight to 12 kittens to the PetSmart at Potomac Mills every weekend, where they tried to get them adopted. “Gradually, over the years, fewer cats would get adopted,” so the cat population inside the home continued to grow. It’s gotten harder and harder for the women to cope, as they’ve gotten older and their health has declined. Eleanor said they changed their many litter boxes twice a day.
Kozaryn disputes the report on Channel 7 news that said many of the cats were seriously ill. According to Kozaryn, some were sick, but “it was the equivalent of a cold. It’s easily treated, nothing serious. There were no dead cats.”

“These people took really good care of these cats,” Kozaryn said. They would drive to a low-cost clinic in the Shenandoah valley to get them neutered, and all the cats have rabies tags, she said, noting that the women spent about $20,000 a year at the Columbia Pike Animal Hospital. In fact, when one of the cats had something wrong with one of its eyes, they paid $1,000 to have it removed. “It’s not about controlling animals. It’s about love,” she said.

Despite the trauma to Eleanor and Paula, Kozaryn praises Fairfax Animal Control and the Police Department. “They’ve been incredible. They are kind and patient; they’re very understanding and respectful,” she said. “The whole operation has been so humane.”