WATERVILLE (WGME) – Seven cats have survived a horrifying experience, locked up for 17 days with no food or water.
It's still hard for Humane Society Waterville Area Shelter Director Lisa Oakes to talk about.
"It was pretty terrible,” Oakes said. “The cats had been in the storage facility for at least 17 days without food, water."
Twelve cats were found starved and dehydrated for two and a half weeks, after being locked in crates inside a storage unit.
"One of the workers walking by smelled the horrible scent," Oakes said.
The cats were found in early October; five didn't make it, but Oakes says the surviving seven cats are now thriving; even Felicity, born with an eye deformity.
"To be able to bounce back from a situation like this and those conditions. Within a week we started seeing their personalities come out. We saw their bodies filling out because they were so emaciated,” Oakes said. "That's why we call them the 'Miracle Cats'. I adopted two of them. Dorthea and Bennett. Dorthea is like a cream color with this flame, and Bennett is, we think, her son."
The five remaining cats are being kept in a staff room in the back, and only people they approve for a possible adoption will be able to go in and interact with them.
"We just want to find the best place for these cats to spend the rest of their lives," Oakes said.
Applicants have to write a letter explaining why they want to adopt, and give three personal references, but there's another reason for the extra scrutiny.
"We want to ensure that these animals don't somehow end up back in her care, the original owner's care, like a friend or a family member coming in and adopting and giving them back to her," Oakes said.
The Waldo County Sheriff's Office is investigating the woman who had the cats.
"We're, of course, mortified by anyone who will treat an animal like this,” Oakes said. “But I also hope that she gets help because I don't want, we definitely don't want this to happen again."