A Barrington woman with a soft spot for cats is losing her home and trying to find homes for dozens of her pets.
"Right now, there's no limit to the number of cats that a private individual can have," Janet Feldman said.
In the house she grew up in, Feldman was the sole caregiver to her parents until they passed away over the past few years.
"These animals have been here with me every single day helping me through all the tough stuff, and I've helped them through all their tough stuff, and that's why we became a family," Feldman said.
She poured her grief into taking in and taking care of cats -- some that she and others traveled to other states to save from being euthanized and some strays from the neighborhood. They appeared to be living everywhere: in kitchen drawers and inside a couch.
"People would call me and say, 'Could you take them because they're going die tomorrow?' And I would look at those little faces and say, 'Yes, I will take them,'" Feldman said.
The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said when it first got involved, half the cats didn't have their rabies shots, nor were they spayed or neutered, which is against the law. Most are now, with the help of a local veterinarian free of charge.
Feldman said she hopes with the sale of her house that she'll be able to pay back the veterinarian thousands of dollars for the meds that have been given to the cats already.
Meanwhile, the RISPCA has been able to place half of the 66 cats.
"A person should not have 66 cats in their home. That's absolutely ridiculous, and that's not normal in my way of thinking," said Dr. E.J. Finocchio, president of the RISPCA. "Mrs. Feldman is a hoarder."
"Hoarding to me is not the numbers. It's actually if you take care of the animals or you don't take care of them. And I've taken care of them, and there's nobody who can say I haven't done that," Feldman said. "Many animals have been adopted outright from here, so they don't even have to be sheltered."
Feldman said if there was a shelter in Barrington, which there's not, she wouldn't have had to take care of all these cats at her house.
"With all the other losses in my life, I just held on to them because that was the last loss," Feldman said. "That's the last thing I could do."
Feldman is out of work and is losing her house in a forced sale. She said she's found an apartment where pets are allowed and promises to limit the number to three. She said she will pour her energy into rescue leagues instead of trying to do it like she did.
23 Kenney Drive
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