Fifty-five cats have been removed from a house in Williamstown that has been described as “unfit for human habitation”.

Nathan Miles, the founder of Western Suburbs Cat and Kitten Rescue, said he received a call on Friday night from a woman asking to have 60 cats removed from her home.

Mr Miles said the rescued cats were being assessed at The Lost Dogs Home.

“It’s a tragic situation,” he said.

“They’re in shocking condition … They were living in putrid conditions covered in urine and faeces, in absolute squalor.

“Unfortunately, there are still cats in the premises,” he said.

Mr Miles said the woman at the Williamstown address denied the cats were hers, so they were taken in as strays.

The Lost Dogs Home’s Dr David Cunliffe said extra veterinary staff were called in at the weekend to assess and treat the cats.

“Because of their circumstances, we are holding them as stray cats for eight days, however we are hoping to be able to start moving them to our adoption and foster program sooner if possible,” he said.

“Many of these cats have problems related to chronic cat flu, such as ulcers and eye problems, as well as being poorly nourished.

“One kitten had to be euthanised because of chronic flu and a ruptured eyeball,” Dr Cunliffe said.

“It’s also vital that the human element is not forgotten and the resident receives the help they need through the council’s networks.”

Hobsons Bay council’s corporate services director Tammi Rose said if anyone became aware of cat hoarding they should alert the responsible authorities, being the council or RSPCA.

To find out more about adoption or becoming a foster carer, visit dogshome.com or lostdogshome on Facebook.