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Meet Stella: Shy Girl Saved from Cat Hoarder

Stella, a sweet Siamese mix with pale blue eyes and a bushy tail, is waiting at Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption for a home.

Every week, Midtown Patch visits an area shelter and highlights the story of an adoptable animal that might otherwise get overlooked.

Stella is only 11 months old, a teenager in cat years, but her life already sounds like it belongs to the guest of a daytime television talk show.

She grew up in a small apartment where a woman was reportedly keeping 20 cats, most (if not all of them) unspayed and unneutered. The woman was evicted at the end of December for not paying rent, and Stella and four other cats from the apartment ended up at . Ulcers covered their mouths, requiring antibiotic treatment.

When the shelter had Stella spayed, they discovered too late that she was already in the early stages of a pregnancy.

"She was probably pregnant by her father," said Judy Price, director of the shelter. She fostered Stella at home for most of January. The cat is back at the shelter now.

Stella's cage is partially covered in a sheet to help her feel more protected. She'll purr after a bit of petting, but mostly she cowers in the back of her cage.

"She just needs someone to forcefeed her affection for a while," Price said. "She's still very, very frightened."

Shyness and fear are common in cats kept in hoarding situations, according to Price. People who collect animals are often mentally unstable and don't realize they're not providing sufficiently for the hoard. In such close quarters, cats live in filthy conditions and aren't properly socialized.

In time, with a patient cat lover, Stella will relax around humans. Someday she could even be a lap cat.

"She's really not mean at all. I think that's a good sign," Price said. When Stella stayed in her home, "she was always a really sweet kitty. She's just fearful."

Stella is spayed, microchipped and fully vaccinated. Her adoption fee is $125.

Speaking of animal hoarding: a case of dog hoarding in Atlanta will be aired on an episode of the Animal Planet show "Confessions: Animal Hoarding" this Friday, Feb. 18 at 10 p.m. Check the show's website for more information on the psychology of hoarding and for resources on how to help a hoarder and his or her animals.

Some of the dogs rescued from the Atlanta home featured in "Confessions" are still up for adoption at the , according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution blog The Buzz.

Remember Bubba, last week's profiled animal? He's still looking for an adoptor. Check to see new pictures -- he's quite a handsome fellow.

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