EDMONTON -- In five separate visits over five weeks, the Alberta SPCA removed 143 cats from a home in the Edmonton area.

It was done with the cooperation of the home owner and with the support of the Edmonton Humane Society, Kirby Safe Team, Alberta Animal Services (with Companion Animal Outreach Society) and WHARF Rescue.

"The gradual approach to removing the cats allowed the owner to properly process what was happening, and to reduce the shock of having the cats removed," Ken Dean, director of animal protection services for the Alberta SPCA said in a written release.

All the cats were taken to EHS for veterinary care and were spayed or neutered.  Alberta SPCA is accepting donations to help cover the vet and boarding costs, which are expected to exceed $25,000.

Some of the seized cats were put up for adoption at EHS and others were sent to the partner agencies to be rehomed.

No charges will be laid against the animals' owner. He was cooperative through the process and the cats were found to be in good health.

"From what we can tell, the cats were very much taken care of and loved, he had names for all of the cats, he knew their personalities, and so this isn't a situation where someone accumulated cats and wasn't taking care of them," communications manager Dan Kobe said. 

"High ammonia smell for sure. There was lots of urine. Lots of feces." 

The man has a few cats left in his care.

"One of the best reasons for doing it slowly and working with the animal owner is you can pass along information, you can arrange to have his remaining animals spayed or neutered and hopefully we're not dealing with this again in a year or two," Kobe added.

"He knew every cat. He had names for them all. He took care of them. He knew their personalities."

Cat overpopulation is a continued problem in the province. The Alberta SPCA had 10 cases in 2019 that involved 20 cats or more in a single home.

Owners are encouraged to spay or neuter their pets to help keep populations under control.