Nearly 60 cats have been rescued from a home in northern Iowa’s Mitchell County. Stephanie Filer of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa says the cats were very sick and reproducing rapidly.

“Without a doubt, had the situation continued even for a few more weeks, we would be talking about many more cats that would need to be rescued,” Filer says, “and some potentially that would not survive.”

Authorities have not released details about the home owner or exactly where in Mitchell County the home is located. Filer confirms it was a hoarding situation and all the cats were inside a small house.

“With hoarders, a lot of times the cats will get into H-VAC systems and walls and ceilings and all of those things and that makes it a lot more difficult to capture,” Filer says, “but that was not the case with these.”

One of the kittens died shortly after being removed from the home on Wednesday. Fifty-seven other cats were rescued, but Filer says it will be a while before any are ready for adoption.

“Because they were all either showing signs of ringworm or potentially exposed or likely exposed, we should say, they’re all looking at least an eight week quarantine before they will potentially be able to be cleared,” Filer says, “but oftentimes it will take longer to treat and cure that.”

According to Animal Rescue League medical staff, the cats have a long road to recovery as nearly all of them are all suffering from severe upper respiratory infections and struggling to breathe. Animal shelters in Ames, Boone, Carroll, Iowa City and Waterloo helped with the rescue operation and have taken some of the cats, but most are at the Animal Rescue League facility in Des Moines.