FITCHBURG (CBS) – The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) is looking for adopters and donations after rescuing 31 cats from a Fitchburg home Wednesday after the homeowner died.

Many of the cats are skittish and under-socialized and will have to be adopted as “working cats,” cats who work in barns and warehouses to control the rodent population.

More than 30 cats were rescued in Fitchburg on Wednesday. (Photo credit: MSPCA)

“Cats coming out of homes where there is such large numbers often come with some behavior related challenges,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Angell.

It is possible that some of the cats can be adopted into quiet homes with very patient, understanding owners who, as Keiley says, “may be looking for a shy cat that may not be the life of the party but would still prefer to live with people.”

More than 30 cats were rescued in Fitchburg on Wednesday. (Photo credit: MSPCA)

The MSPCA’s Boston and Methuen adoption centers took 20 of the cats, and 11 went to Ahimsa Haven Animal Rescue in Templeton.

This is the third mass surrender to the MSPCA in five weeks, bringing the agency’s total of working cats to 52.

“Working cats help control the rodent population inside barns and other structures and make wonderful companions to other cats,” said Keiley.

More than 30 cats were rescued in Fitchburg on Wednesday. (Photo credit: MSPCA)

The estimated costs of health care for the cats, including treatment for infections, vaccines and spaying and neutering, will be more than $15,000.

Regardless of the kinds of homes the Fitchburg cats ultimately go to, they, like all cats adopted from the MSPCA, will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

The MSPCA accepts donations and provides more information about its working cat program on its website. Anyone interested in adoption can email methuenadoptions@mspca.org.

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