Around 100 cats have been removed from a filthy and crowded apartment in San Diego by animal control officers on Thursday (2 November).

Most of the cats were reportedly in good health and were taken to a county animal facility in Bonita, where they would be evaluated by veterinarians.

Grant Israel, 64, the owner of the cats, said that the number of cats at his home began to increase about five years ago.

"What happened was we started with one cat, then two cats. Then, all of a sudden, we had seven cats and we couldn't get rid of them and they just kept having more cats," Israel said.

"They're black cats, so a lot of people don't like black cats," he added.

Animal control officers have also seized some tabby cats. Israel, who has surrendered all but five of his animals, is not expected to face criminal charges.

"I'm glad that they're being (taken) care of," the San Diego Union-Tribune news website quoted him as saying.

The hoarding of cats was discovered when deputies were sent to Israel's home to check on the welfare of his 89-year-old mother.

During the check, they found "tons of cats" and called the county animal control officers, Dan DeSousa, spokesman for the county Department of Animal Services said.

"It's a typical hoarder house," Lewis Petersen, the first animal control officer who arrived at the home said.

According to Peterson, most cats appeared healthy although conditions in the home were still "concerning". There was faeces on the ground and the apartment had a pungent smell.

Given the living conditions of the family, Israel's mother was taken to a hospital for evaluation as a precaution.

The process of removing the cats was difficult and slow because most cats were not socialised with humans. According to Peterson, by nightfall, there were about 50 more cats remaining to be brought out. "Every time we find some, we find more hiding under furniture," he said.

"Any that are friendly, that could make good pets, we'll try to get up for adoption," Petersen said.