Seven dead cats were found in their owner’s flea-ridden, squalor flat after she moved out.
Sick Carrie Renwick’s home was so full of rubbish it was impossible to get into the rooms.
Six of the moggies were so badly decomposed only their fur and bones remained.
Two were found dead in a wardrobe, two were discovered on the bathroom floor.
Another dead cat was found on a bed, one near the door and one behind the curtains on the floor.
The cats would have died “slow” and “painful” deaths over four days due to a lack of food and care.
Footage of the house filmed by the RSPCA when they arrived (Credit: Jam Press/RSPCA)
Piles of cat poo were found in mountains of uncleaned litter trays in the living room.
Rubbish – including food packaging and cans – was also strewn across the property and furniture and clothes blocked the hallway.
Other household items were also scattered across the floor like a sleeping bag and fan.
When the RSPCA officers turned up at the 53-year-old Renwick’s flat in Runcorn, Cheshire, hundreds of fleas jumped out of the letterbox.
A spokesperson for the animal charity said: “Hundreds of fleas jumped out of a letterbox after they’d infested a flat in Runcorn where the bodies of seven badly decomposing cats had been living in squalid conditions.
“The deceased animals were surrounded by rubbish and overflowing litter trays at the property which was so full of clutter that some of the rooms were inaccessible.
“Six of the cats were so badly decomposed that only their fur and bones remained.
“Their owner Carrie Renwick, who had moved out of the flat in Primrose Close, has now been banned from keeping animals for ten years after she was prosecuted by the RSPCA for neglecting them.”
She was sentenced to 16 weeks in jail at North Cheshire magistrates court, but it was suspended for 12 months.
Renwick was banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
She pleaded guilty to two animal cruelty charges contrary to Section 4(1) and Section 9(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The court heard how the deceased animals were removed by RSPCA inspector Nadine Pengilly on 5 July this year after police officers had discovered the animals the day before after entering the flat to do a welfare check on the occupant who wasn’t there.
In her evidence given as part of the case, Insp Pengilly said: “As I approached the front door I was attacked by hundreds of fleas escaping via the letterbox.
“We went to the back of the property and I could clearly see the flat was in a filthy condition with overflowing litter trays and bags of rubbish all over the floor.
“The place was full of clutter and there was a mass flea infestation.
“The first room on the right was the bathroom which was dirty and cluttered.
“I found two dead cats on the floor.
“The first room on the left was the main bedroom where there was a dead cat on the bed, two in the wardrobe, one near the door and one behind the curtains on the floor.
“The bedroom was cluttered with items and made access hard as I had to climb over bags of shopping.”
She added: “The black cat found in the wardrobe looked like he hadn’t been dead long as he still had flesh on his body and was being eaten by maggots.”
RSPCA inspector Leanne Cooper, who also attended the address, said: “There was a foul smell coming from the property that I could smell from standing outside the front door.
“I could see live and dead flies on the windows and hundreds of live and dead fleas.
“These actually jumped on me when I opened the letterbox.”
The deceased animals were taken into possession by police and their bodies examined by a vet.
“She said the cat found in the wardrobe had died at least 36 hours earlier and had a body score condition score of 1/9, with the ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and bony prominences all visible from a distance.
“She said the animal had no discernible body fat and obvious loss of muscle mass.”
In her statement she said: “The other six carcasses were dried out and rigid which suggests they had been dead for some time.
“Decomposition was so marked that the bodies were not suitable for a post mortem examination.
“Reviewing the carcasses along with the environmental evidence, starvation and dehydration cannot be ruled out as potential causes of death due to the lack of water and fresh food.
“I would expect a responsible owner to seek veterinary attention should their pet become underweight.
“Moreover, if their animal became weak or lethargic. Starvation and dehydration cause weakness and debilitation.
“This will have been uncomfortable and severely impacted the cats’ everyday lives and their ability to ambulate, to obtain food or water and even to play.
“Emaciation can cause mental suffering through having a constant hunger that is never fulfilled.
“It is reported to take at least four days for a cat to starve to death – a slow, painful and prolonged process as the body shuts down.
“This will have been unpleasant.”