Seven Cats Abandoned Near Shelter Freeze To Death 'Huddled Together'

Seven cats froze to death after they were abandoned outside in cold Wisconsin weather, according to an animal shelter.

The Oshkosh Area Humane Society (OAHS) said the cats were found frozen to death in two crates left outside the Ambulatory Surgical Center on Monday morning.

In a Monday Facebook post, an OAHS spokesperson said: "We are in shock and disbelief that these poor creatures died huddled together in the cold, trying everything to stay warm, and they had no blankets or any type of insulation in the crates to help.

"This is not acceptable. Most likely the person who did this thought they were at OAHS. Maybe they thought staff would arrive in enough time to help them. It doesn't really matter because seven lives are now gone."

Animal transportation containers
Photos of the animal transportation containers that held the cats. The seven cats were left abandoned in freezing temperatures. Oshkosh Area Human Society

According to World Weather, temperatures in Oshkosh on the morning of November 21 were as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit but felt as low as 21 degrees.

Pet and animal information website Animal Wised said cats can freeze to death if their body temperature falls below 60 degrees due to hypothermia.

Animal Wised added: "Once the temperature outside is 32 degrees or below, we will need to make sure our cat doesn't stay outside for more than 15 to 20 minutes."

The OAHS post continued: "We understand people need help with their animals. We understand there are limited veterinary and shelter resources. Every clinic and animal care facility is understaffed.

"That's reality. But abandoning animals without at least ensuring they are seen or picked up is not ok. Check the address where you're leaving them. We have pretty obvious signage in front of our building.

"Make an anonymous tip to law enforcement so we can be contacted. If you're in a crisis situation and don't want to be identified there are ways you can still ensure the safety of the animals.

"This didn't have to happen. Honestly, the cats would have stood a better chance if they were just set free rather than being trapped in a cold crate to freeze to death. Please offer kindness to the staff at the Ambulatory Surgical Center and to our staff who are processing this tragedy."

The spokesperson said its staff has been in contact with local law enforcement.

Jessica Miller, OAHS executive director, told ABC affiliate WBAY there has been a sharp uptick in animals being abandoned.

She added: "Since the beginning of January we have seen a 500 percent increase in abandonments and 700 percent increase in impoundments resulting from abandonment or neglect."

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.

The ASPCA added: "Of those, approximately 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. We estimate that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.

Newsweek has contacted the OAHS and the Oshkosh Police Department for comment.

Last summer, a group of five kittens "left to die" in a box by the roadside in sweltering heat were rescued.

TikTok user Lindz explained in a September 25 video that she received a call from a family member who had found a box of kittens on the side of a road.

She wrote: "Five kittens left to die in record-breaking heat." Clips showed the black kittens all cramped into one box with a hole cut out of the top on a day where Lindz estimated the temperature to be around 95 degrees.

Lindz later added: "All local shelters are full so we will be taking care of them until we can find them homes."

The TikTok user, who has fostered kittens before, took the kittens home, giving them food and water and showing videos of them drinking from their own water bowls.