by scott kovacevic
FOUND emaciated, sick and severely underweight, help is now desperately being sought to find new homes for 80 cats - half of which are kittens - which were found abandoned on a property north of Gympie, a region of Queensland, Australia.
Best Friends Felines founder Nikki Chapple said the cats were left on their own for more than a week before being found by the property's owner.
Believed to have been dumped by the previous tenant, Ms Chapple said the kittens in particular were left in poor health.
"Kittens should weigh on average 100g per week," she said.
"These guys were 200g, about half their weight.
"They have all tested positive for ear-mites, they have all tested positive for coccidia - which is like a gastro, bacterial bug in humans."
Ms Chapple said pets being left behind was an unfortunately common occurrence, with rental restrictions on pets playing a huge part in them being abandoned.
She said the cats were clearly domesticated, with the ones who had already been re-homed settling in quickly.
"I've seen photos of the adults 24 hours into care curled up with kids, playing with them and sleeping with them," she said.
"So somebody obviously loved them at one stage, just didn't love them enough to take them when they left."
According to Ms Chapple finding new homes for them would be a huge challenge, with one of the biggest challenges being caused by an absurd personal preference.
"90% of this colony is black, and black is the hardest colour to adopt out to silly old aged superstitions about black cats being unlucky.
"They have just as much love and personality to give as any other coloured cat."
Found roaming freely on the property, she said the owner had rounded them up to the best of their ability, placing many of them into a crate which was the only object available to them.
Ms Chapple said Best Friends Felines had placed the kittens into their own transport carriers when they arrived, with no more than five kittens per container.
Facing the monster task of helping 80 cats, she said she was extremely grateful for the help she had received from other rescue organisations.
"We could not have done it without the help of the several other rescues that have stepped up to take in.
"80 cats is too massive for any one rescue to ever take on especially in peak season because we were already at capacity, because we are limited by our funds because we do the full vet work we run at a loss with every adoption fee."
"In this day and age there is no reason for you to move out and leave them so cruelly behind on 40 acres in the middle of nowhere."
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