By James Taylor

NORTH HIGHLANDS (CBS13) – A massive effort is underway to save dozens of cats found abandoned in a Sacramento County neighborhood.

Animal rescue groups say conditions are so bad that some have already died.

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Christine Morris of Fat Kitty City Animal Rescue is trying to save these cats’ lives.

“What you see here are the cats left behind that have no place to go,” said Morris.

So far, about 100 felines have been found abandoned in and around a vacant home in Sacramento’s North Highlands neighborhood.

She says the property is now owned by a nearby church, which has asked for help getting rid of the cats so the home can be torn down.

“There are more than 40 cats that are still on the property, some are wild, some are friendly, there are believed to be kittens left behind,” said Morris.

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But the rescue effort is challenging. They’ve seen some still hiding in the rafters and walls.

“It’s going to take weeks at a time. The cats are running free, there are still cats in the home that they haven’t been able to trap,” she said.

Several healthy-looking cats were also found dead and rescuers feared they may have been poisoned — an allegation Sacramento County animal control officers investigated but couldn’t substantiate. They say no one is facing criminal animal abuse charges because the cats are considered un-owned and feral.

“We have to make sure they’re healthy, they have to be spayed and neutered, that’s the most important thing,” said Morris.

The priority now is to find these felines new forever homes.

“They want to be with someone at night to cuddle with, we need your help, please,” she said.

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If you’re interested in adopting one of the cats, visit http://www.fatkittycity.org or http://animaloutreach.net/ for more information.