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A half hour before the Tri-County Humane Society in St. Cloud was due to close Thursday, the cats started pouring in.

For hours, the cats, which law enforcement and Minnesota Federated Humane Society had removed from a home in Crosby earlier in the day, kept coming. Off a trailer and into the shelter, with a dozen staffers staying until almost midnight to help with vaccinations and antibiotics. In all, 94 felines filled each of the shelter's cat kennels and then some.

The group included two litters of nursing kittens. Staff tried the best they could to match each kitten with the proper mother.

"We had to get them food and water and in a clean space — they hadn't been in a clean space," said Marit Ortega, executive director of the Tri-County Humane Society, adding that some cats had fleas and respiratory infections. "They're in rough shape, but it could have been worse. When we were done, we walked through and took stock. To see so many of them relaxed and sleeping — they're in a really good place now."

Along with the Minnesota Federated Humane Society, Crosby police had executed a search warrant after reports of animal cruelty and neglect. In addition to the 94 living cats, eight dead ones were found inside. A press release from Crosby police did not detail what happened to the person hoarding the cats, and police chief Michael Van Horn declined comment Friday.

The animals needed a place to go, and the shelter in St. Cloud had had space, having expanded in 2020.

"We had no idea what we were saying yes to," Ortega said. "Surprisingly, they're all friendly. We didn't have trouble handling any of them."

One had a microchip. Staffers located the cat's owner, who had lost the cat seven years ago. The owner immediately drove to St. Cloud to pick the cat up.

"It was an indescribable moment," Ortega said. "They were absolutely thrilled."

Ortega hopes more owners can be reunited with lost pets.

Anyone who has lost a cat in the Crosby area in the last 10 years or so is asked to send a photo of the feline to

The state has a five-day waiting limit before strays are put up for adoption. The Tri-County Humane Society is accepting deposits on the cats, which will be available starting Wednesday. Deposits will be refunded should a cat be reclaimed by its owner.

In the meantime, the veterinarian at the St. Cloud shelter will spay the female cats.

"I hope that on Wednesday our doors are just overflowing with people wanting to help," Ortega said.

If you're not a cat person, have no fear: Every dog kennel at the Tri-County Humane Society is full, too.