Police Discover More Than 70 Cats in Home After Man Accidentally Shot Himself

While investigating whether a gunshot wound was accidental, police came across more than 70 cats living in a Kensington, New Hampshire, house.

Kensington Police Chief Scott Cain told Newsweek that a man arrived at Exeter Hospital Wednesday morning seeking help for a gunshot wound to his stomach. Cain explained the man was cleaning his gun, but it fell from his workbench and fired.

"We received a call from the hospital's emergency room and they explained they had a subject there with a gunshot wound to the abdomen," he said. "They found it strange because his wife drove him there, there was no ambulance called."

Officers went to the property, which the man and his wife rented, and treated it as a crime scene until they confirmed the gunshot wound was accidental.

Once the officers got to the house, however, they discovered dozens of cats ranging in age from kitten to adult.

"The house was overrun was felines," Cain said. "The house was covered with feces and cat urine. Once officers entered the house, we thought there were 30 or so cats but now it's in the low 70s."

It was originally reported that 67 cats were rescued, but the final number is unclear.

Animal Shelter Cat
Officials believe they rescued more than 70 cats from a house that police investigated after a man accidentally shot himself in the abdomen. Above, a cat is photographed at the New York Animal Care And Control. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The town's animal control responders are continuing to monitor the house to ensure all the cats have been rescued.

Ammonia levels in the house due to the cat urine and feces were recorded at 44 parts per million. The highest legal level is 25 parts per million. Because of the toxic levels, the house was condemned by the town.

Police began working with the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NHSPCA), which took the cats into custody for evaluation before they are adopted out to potential new owners.

According to a press release from the NHSPCA, the organization began helping police in removing the cats from the home on December 8.

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"The cats were living in a home that was clearly overrun," said NHSPCA Field Services Manager Steve Sprowl. "The condition of the cats has not been determined as yet. Our veterinarian will be evaluating them all over the next few days."

As responders with the NHSPCA began removing the cats, they found more that eventually came out of hiding.

Sprowl said the cats were skittish when responders with the NHSPCA were trying to collect them, but they are currently quarantined as they undergo their veterinary checks.

NHSPCA Executive Director Lisa Dennison noted the organization's expanded campus recently opened.

"Just one week later, we are using every single inch of that new space to quarantine and isolate this very large volume of cats," Dennison said. "Our staff is working hard to create new protocols for our expanded spaces, and are now going to be caring for these 67 cats in addition to all of the other animals already in the building."

The length of each cat's quarantine will depend on any health issue they may be facing. Once they are cleared, they may receive their microchipped and spayed or neutered.

Some people have already expressed interest in adoption, and Dennison encourages people to visit their website to begin the process.

However, when the cats are able to be adopted out is a timeline determined by their health.

"It depends on the veterinarian and what she says," Sprowl said.

Cain told Newsweek the man will likely be charged with a gun violation, but he is awaiting to learn more before pursuing charges in relation to the cats.