JOHNSTON, Iowa (KCAU) — Twenty cats and kittens were found, 19 of which were successfully rescued, in a roach-infested, trash and feces-filled Iowa apartment Tuesday.

The Animal Rights League (ARL) of Iowa was called in to rescue the animals found in the apartment.

“There was no doubt the situation was dire,” said Tom Colvin, CEO at the ARL.

ARL was notified of the situation by the Johnston Police Department. The maintenance department of the apartment building had previously disassembled cabinets and removed baseboards in the apartment which made it easier to rescue the 19 cats and kittens.

Sadly one kitten, believed to be 4-6 weeks old, was found deceased. The kitten was sent to the University of Iowa for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Of the other 19 animals, most were thin with visible wounds or scrapes. ARL suggested that the injuries may have been caused by fighting in dangerous, food-scarce conditions. Other medical conditions faced by some of the cats include eye, gum, and upper respiratory infections, ear mites, and worms.

The cats are currently undergoing medical evaluation and will not be up for adoption until this process has been completed. Once the cats are available they will be listed on ARL’s website. In addition, donations can be made specifically for the cats that were rescued online or by mail or in person by sending donations to 5452 NE 22nd St., Des Moines, IA 50313; “RE: 19 cats”.

Colvin said large-scale rescue efforts are becoming familiar but it is important not to become numb to the suffering of the animals who were rescued.

The investigation into exactly what took place is ongoing.