TORONTO - It’s safe to say this home has gone to the cats.
Peter and Nancy Wilson have 30 little furballs.
Actually it could be more. Nobody’s sure because to count them is like, well, herding cats.
Photographer Veronica Henri, who’s allergic to felines, tried, in between sneezes.
“Let’s just say there are cats everywhere,” says Veronica.
The couple — Peter, 70, and Nancy, 69, who have been married for 49 years — lost count.
“I would say 30-plus. We have a lot of cats,” admits Peter.
Too many, according to his landlord. Through a sheriff, the couple — and their cats, and one dog — received an eviction notice, effective Tuesday.
The cats may have got everything else in their tiny Morningside Ave. apartment, but not Peter’s tongue. The retired former military police officer and his lovely wife, who is a former court reporter and certified animal technician, are speaking out.
“We have exhausted every avenue of hope. We will be evicted from our apartment after eight years of tenancy,” he tells me. “We have always paid our rent on time so that is not the issue.”
The 30 cats are the issue. And, of course, the smell.
Being Victoria Day, the office of Edelstein Properties, which manages the unit, was not open Monday, but the Toronto Sun left a message. The paralegal firm D and D Associates was also unavailable.
Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie said he has attempted to contact both Monday and will be following up with them Tuesday.
“My wife love cats,” explains Peter. “We took in some pregnant cats last year and unneutered males. That means kittens. My wife saved one cat from being drowned by the owner. The cat was born with three malformed legs. We named her Skidder. She’s so grateful to be alive.”
Nancy considers herself to be a cat rescuer.
“She can’t say no to people who can’t keep their cats for whatever reason,” says Peter. “After a couple of years, the population in our two-bedroom apartment has gotten out of hand and so has the odour.”
Their apartment, and now their lives, has gone to the cats.
“Half of my pension goes to feeding and taking care of the little ones,” says Peter. “I’ve asked for help from various animal rescue organizations but no one seems to want to help.”
And these are people, and animals, who are in need of help.
“I’m in failing health. I’ve had several heart attacks and need a life-saving operation,” explains Peter. “I was given a year and a half to live two years ago so I’m on borrowed time. My darling wife is in bad shape, too. She needs a wheelchair to get around and is in constant pain.”
He believes if they become homeless on Tuesday “we will lose everything we possess except for the very clothes on our backs” which is “too frightening to contemplate” because if “put out on the street, we will not survive very long.”
They also fear for their cats.
So what to do about this? There are no bad guys in this story, but what’s required is an out-of-the box solution.
First, stop the eviction. Second, let’s see who in the pet rescue world can take these cats for potential adoption. Third, let’s get this couple some medical help as well.
Throwing them all out is not the answer.
Their cats may have at least 270 lives combined between them but Peter and Nancy Wilson each only have one.