Animal welfare authorities have rescued almost 70 cats after they were found living in a home so filthy, the concentration of ammonia from cat urine forced inspectors to evacuate after 30 minutes.

RSPCA Victoria inspectors expected to find about a dozen cats when worried neighbours called them to visit the home at Hume in Melbourne’s northwest.

Instead, they found 67 cats and kittens in the home, which was covered with cat faeces, piled with rubbish and had a number of dead animals throughout.

The ammonia in the air from cat urine was so strong it stung the eyes and noses of inspectors.

The ammonia levels measured 25 parts per million, demanding inspectors wore personal protective equipment and only stayed in the home for a maximum exposure period of 30 minutes before they had to leave.

“We were originally alerted to this property after neighbours raised concerns regarding the smell coming from the house and the number of cats seen through the windows,” RSPCA team leader Karen Collier said.

“It’s one of the worst examples of unsanitary conditions we’ve seen with many of the 67 animals suffering health conditions ranging from emaciation, ear infections, ringworm and panleukopenia virus.

“It’s an incredibly sad situation where the person in charge of these cats was unable to provide a clean and sanitary environment including providing adequate food, water and veterinary care.”

The RSPCA negotiated the surrender of the 67 cats and kittens, which they suspect could be linked to an illegal breeding operation.

The authority is investigating and the animals are receiving treatment.

The organisation urged anyone with animal welfare concerns to contact them.

Source: AAP