Firefighters found heavy flames shooting through the roof when they responded to an early morning call for a house fire in a residential neighborhood in Terre Haute, IN yesterday. The emergency responders were surprised to discover the occupants of the house, which was used for a cat sanctuary and had 87 cats caged inside. Firefighters, police, and animal control officers got all of the animals safely out.
The sanctuary is operated by Jim Kitchen, who lives in the house next door. Kitchen says he bought the neighboring house just for the cats, who are made available for adoption.
Animal Control was quick to say Mr. Kitchen is not a hoarder, and the facility is clean and well managed, and the animals are well cared for. The city has inspected the property and knows about the cats. The house was not zoned for its current use, however, and Kitchen was lacking city permits.
Jim Kitchen operates the sanctuary out-of -pocket, with the help of donations from the public.
Anyone wishing to adopt or foster a cat, or make a donation can contact Jim Kitchen or Jenny Maxwell at (812) 230 – 3822. The operation needs food, litter, cages, and medicines for the cats.
The fire started in the attic and was contained there, and the cause has not been determined.