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Nine cats featured on an upcoming episode of "Confessions: Animal Hoarding" are recuperating at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia as they prepare to find new homes.
Humane Society President Rick Aiken was part of the team assembled by the Animal Planet television show that conducted an intervention for a White County woman whose home was overflowing with cats.
The network defines animal hoarding as a compulsive need to possess and control animals. The show aims to talk animal hoarders into making lifestyle changes for the benefit of themselves and their pets.
"It's up to the owner to relinquish them. It's their choice. The family and the friends come together to say these are the changes we'd like to see you make, and we help in facilitating whatever they feel is fit to have done," said Tim Lawrence, the field producer for the show.
Aiken said in the White County woman voluntarily released the cats.
"She realized she was in way over her head," Aiken said.
The team was able to capture nine cats, and one is still hiding in the home. Lawrence said the number they found when they arrived was lower than they anticipated.
"At some point her house had sort of bred out of control.
The cats hadn't been spayed and neutered and the population had grown to - though there's no way to confirm these numbers - to somewhere about 30," Lawrence said.
"This had really been the cause of a lot of destruction to her home and creating an unsanitary condition."
Aiken said the house was among the worst he had ever seen in his experience of dealing with animal hoarders.
"There really was no place you could step on the floor without stepping on animal feces," he said.
Luckily, all the cats were physically healthy, Aiken said.
"It's the mental condition of those cats we're having to deal with," Aiken said. "They're scared to death. They've never had people really handle them."
Since the cats arrived at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia Sept. 14, Aiken has spent time socializing with them each day to prepare them for adoption.
"There's two that are very close to coming around," he said.
Though some of the other cats aren't adjusting to human interaction as well. There is even one cat that acts as though he has never been around humans, Aiken said.
"We had hoped to have them spayed and neutered this week," Aiken said. "We feel like there is hope for them from the progress we've seen."
Aiken said the cats are still stressed, so the Humane Society will continue to work with the animals until they deem them ready for adoption.
"It can be a long process, but it's worth it to give them an opportunity to have a home and find somebody to take care of them in a proper manner," Aiken said.