A woman whose house was destroyed in a fire in East Auckland is facing a large vet bill for the care of some of her foster cats and kittens who survived the inferno.
The fire also killed at least 11 of the cats - many whom she was fostering.
Three of the surviving cats had to be put on oxygen overnight and others are still yet to be found. Others had to have the soot washed off them and have sore eyes.
The total vet bill so far is $4000 and is growing.
A devastated Jewels Annabell said neighbours, friends, family and members of the Community Cat Coalition were now rallying around to help her after the fire which started in the kitchen but caused significant smoke damage to her house.
While she remained focused on making sure the surviving 20 cats were okay, Annabell knew she would need to find a rental property for her and the 16 cats and one dog while her smoke damaged house was repaired.
"What I really need is to have them somewhere stable where I can be with them that is quiet and peaceful and obviously needs to be finished."
Last night she found one kitten hidden in a room and another was hiding under the deck after escaping a fireman. She said the cats were frightened and unwell and she wanted to look after them until some were in a position where they could be re-homed.
Annabell had just started a new job this week but had to leave when a neighbour called her to tell her about the fire. When she arrived the firefighters had managed to rescue many of the cats and put the dead ones on the deck.
She said the cats did not die from the fire. "They died from smoke inhalation and if they didn't die they still inhaled a lot of smoke and are covered in soot. And licking the soot is bad so they had to be washed so it's been quite a process."
Some of the cats were in cages in the lounge and did not survive.
A Givealittle page has been set up by fellow animal rescuers to raise funds to cover the vet bills and help the pet lover through this "horrific time".
Annabell works tirelessly to save homeless cats and rehabilitate them until they can be rehomed, according to the Givealittle page.
"She is a pillar of the Auckland animal rescue community, often dropping everything so she can go save a cat on the other side of the city. Her commitment to animal welfare is unwavering - spending all of her free time on caring for animals that are otherwise overlooked, homeless, and neglected."
Fire crews were called to the property in Golflands after a fire broke out just after 10.30am on Wednesday.
Animal rescue services were also called in to help after dozens of cats were caught up in the blaze.
Northern fire communications shift manager Daniel Nicholson told the Herald yesterday that the property was a cat rescue centre and a number of cats were inside at the time. The SPCA had been asked to assist.
A member of the Fire & Emergency NZ at the scene said at least 11 cats were dead and up to 12 cats had been rescued but had suffered smoke inhalation and had been whisked away for treatment.
A photographer who arrived at the scene just after the fire said all the windows were black and he could see cages inside.
A spokeswoman for the SPCA confirmed that staff had been at the scene to offer assistance but no longer had any of the cats in their care.