PITTSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — Carolina Tiger Rescue is welcoming three new Asian leopard cats after they were rescued from a home in Texas, the animal sanctuary said Tuesday.
According to a new release, dozens of cats were found living in the home in deplorable conditions.
It says they were being bred with domestic cats to produce Bengals, a hybrid cat species.
Officials said the owner of the cats recently passed away, promoting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reach out to The Wildcat Sanctuary, a member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance.
The nonprofit helped rescue 24 Asian leopard cats from the home, including three kittens and one with a leg amputation.
The cats were taken to the Houston SPCA where they were cared for and vetted until they found facilities to care for them permanently.
Over the weekend, Carolina Tiger Rescue welcomed three of the rescues.
“We are excited to welcome a new species to the rescue and provide safe forever homes to these three Asian leopard cats,” said Kris Marino, Executive Director of Carolina Tiger Rescue. “Unfortunately, scenarios like this are all too common. Wild cats are exploited and overbred, but often cast aside due to unwanted behaviors. The small cat crisis needs to be addressed before legitimate sanctuaries become completely full.”
Asian leopards are small, wild cats native to continental South, Southeast and East Asia.
Experts say they are often viewed as “exotic pets,” similar to other wild cat species.
“Carolina Tiger Rescue is home to many rescues that were relinquished due to their owners’ inability to care for them properly, and wild cats that were rescued from dilapidated breeding facilities,” the animal sanctuary explained.
Officials said other cats from the rescue were transported to The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota (8 cats), Wildcat Ridge Sanctuary in Oregon (6 cats), Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary in Mississippi (4 cats), Pride Rock in Texas (3 cats) and Bears Etc. in Texas.