The cats removed from a dangerous hoarding situation at a Toronto apartment are doing “surprisingly well” given the living conditions they were discovered in, rescuers say.

Volunteers with Toronto Cat Rescue (TCR) continued to save cats from the two-bedroom apartment on Tuesday after nearly 300 were found living in the unit over the weekend.

“We have about 80 of the cats. They’re doing surprisingly well. Some are underweight, some of the cats are shy and somewhat traumatized from the move, but many of them are doing quite well,” TCR executive director Belinda Vandersluis said.

“There were cats absolutely everywhere… The bathroom, the living room, the bedrooms were just full of cats.”

Neighbours told CTV News Toronto that they had complained about an “unbearable” smell in the hallways that rendered them breathless as they walked through.

One resident said the scent had them concerned someone had died inside a unit.

Samantha Harrison, who lives on the 18th floor right beside the unit where the cats were found, said that the smell was so potent she had to duct tape her own door.

“All night I hear scratching on my walls,” she said.

Harrison said that she had complained about the smell and the cats to numerous agencies, but no action was taken.

“I’ve complained to housing, I’ve complained to bylaw, animal services and I even went as far as messaging, emailing John Tory,” Harrison added.

Speaking with CTV News Toronto on Tuesday, Tory said that complaints such as these are a “challenge.”

“It becomes a constant challenge that you have to deal with … you are dealing with people, there is a process that has to be followed to get into their apartments, so it’s just not an easy thing to deal with.”

But Harrison maintains there was no way that the city or Toronto Community Housing officials didn’t know what was going on inside the apartment.

“It’s sad that nobody wanted to help,” Harrison said. “You’re only doing it now cause you realize the extent of what she has I there.”

Toronto Community Housing said that records showed the unit was “deep cleaned” in the fall and that the tenant had three cats at the time.

“We’d heard complaints. We needed to deal with it, but until we actually saw the conditions when we opened the door, we didn’t know,” said spokesperson Bruce Malloch.

Malloch said that Toronto Community Housing is now investigating the incident.

“We want to understand, were we diligent enough? Did we act fast enough and take the necessary steps to deal with the situation?”

Vandersluis said it’s difficult to know why it took until this weekend for the situation to be addressed.

“I think most people would have a hard time understanding what it might be like to live in that environment, that we wouldn’t ever have ourselves in that situation. You know this week is Canadian Mental Health Awareness week and you have to consider that mental health would be a part of this and having 300 cats,” she said.

“There’s just absolutely no way to care for 300 cats, no matter how much space that you have.”

The cats that have so far been removed from the home were assessed at Birch Dan Animal Hospital. Most of them are fairly well socialized and have no fleas or infections.

Some of the cats were dead upon their arrival.

Vandersluis said some of the cats have been placed in foster families for observation. They will all be vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

“They are prolific breeders and they will continue to have litter of kittens and just a few months later those kittens will have kittens, and it happens very quickly,” she said.

“We have a few pregnant cats that are ready to have their litters quite immediately. We’re hoping that goes well. Sometimes with malnourished cats the litters do not fend as well as with a cat that’s been well taken care of.”

Vandersluis said those interested in helping TCR and the other partner agencies involved in the rescue can visit their website.

“You can find out what cats are going to be ready for adoption, you can find out how to donate,” she said.

“Those are really the most important things people can do.”