The couple, in Laholm municipality in southern Sweden, first became the subject of an investigation in 2009 following anonymous complaints. Halland county council then ruled they could not own more than nine adult cats, which was this summer extended to an overall ban after one of the cats had to be put down.
But when animal protection officers visited two properties owned by the couple earlier this month they found that the ban had again been broken, by quite some margin.
“They found around 100 cats at the addresses,” Sara Olsson told regional newspaper Hallandsposten. “The county council has never taken care of this many cats before.”
Most of the felines, which she said were strays that had been adopted by the couple from the street, have now been taken into custody by animal protection officials.
“Their intent is good, but it's sad to see how they just let them reproduce. Nine cats, which you are allowed to have without permission from the county administrative board, would have been manageable, but 100 is an incredible number. To look after so many cats you would need several people working full time.”
Ten cats ran off when the officers visited the property, but the 90 taken into custody are to be examined by a veterinarian to assess their health and decide what happens next.
“When we have done checks before quite a few cats have been perceived as feral, and afraid of people. It's therefore important to examine their mental health as well,” said Olsson.
“Once the veterinarian has carried out an assessment we will decide what will happen to the cats. If they are wild or sick, they will probably be put down. But if they are healthy and manageable, they will be placed in another home,” she added.
Last December, two Swedish women, also from Laholm, were banned from owning animals after authorities found they had treated their cats like human babies – keeping them strapped to highchairs and with one of them breastfeeding her pet.