12/13/2014 12:14 EST | Updated 02/12/2015 05:59 EST

50 Quebec rescued cats trucked to Ontario to find new homes

On Saturday morning, 50 rehabilitated cats were loaded in the back of a cube truck, leaving a town northwest of Montreal for their new ‘furever’ homes in Toronto.

They're getting ready to embark on another of their nine lives.

Organizers of the mission spent the early morning rounding up cats at the shelter where they've been held and putting them in crates before heading west down Highway 401.

It’s the end of a journey for the cats, who were all rescued by animal inspectors with the province of Quebec after being neglected or mistreated by their previous owners.

“We’re just so excited," said Ewa Deminowicz, a Humane Society volunteer and one of the people travelling with the cats to Toronto.

“Some of these cats were with us for a year, or over a year. So it’s an extremely long time for cats to live in a shelter environment."

Foster families await cats

Deminowicz said the cats were in rough condition when they were rescued. Many required medical care, but others needed one-on-one time to learn to socialize with humans after being neglected or abused.

Once in Toronto, the cats will join foster families for the holidays. In partnership with the Toronto Cat Rescue, the Humane Society has found a foster home for all fifty cats.

The foster care is only a temporary solution. From there, Toronto Cat Rescue will find long-term homes for the cats. However, Deminowicz said being with foster families is a helpful next step.

“For those who are a little shy and timid, it’s a way for them to get used to living in a home environment,” she said.

The journey will be long for the cats, crated and resting in the back of the truck, but Deminowicz said the long-term benefits of finding them a home is worth the short-term stress.

“We were so happy to be able to place them all because it’s a lot of cats to rehome," she said.

“It’s also heartbreaking because we’ve gotten to know them so well, with time. We got really attached. So it’s the end of a chapter here at the shelter."