Willie Ortiz has been feeding street cats for the last 24 years, and he does not see himself stopping anytime soon.
Ortiz, who’s 76 years old, is originally from Puerto Rico, however he now calls Hartford, Connecticut his residence. Like most large cities, Hartford has a stray cat problem, and, according to Ortiz, folks don’t want them around.
“I noticed a variety of stray cats, and people had been pushing them and kicking them,” Ortiz informed The Dodo.
“They need assistance,” Oritz said. “I need to ensure that they have food and that they stay healthy.”
For the time being, Ortiz is taking care of about 68 street cats in 16 totally different colonies, Kathleen Schlentz, a good friend of Ortiz, instructed The Dodo. A colony is group of cats who live together at a particular location, such as a dumpster or an deserted building.
“The colonies are always changing,” Schlentz stated. “Sometimes the cats get hit by vehicles, or they do not make it through the winter, and other cats wander in, or people drop them off once they cannot take care of them, or do not want to take care of them. So the colonies change on a regular basis.”
While Ortiz has a huge heart, affording to take care of these cats has been difficult.
Ortiz doesn’t have a lot of money, so he spends his days collecting scrap metal and cleaning people’s yards to purchase cat meals.
Luckily, Ortiz now will get a variety of help from Schlentz — she helped construct him a website for his efforts to rescue cats, and manages Ortiz’s GoFundMe account.
But it’s Ortiz who does all of the heavy lifting, according to Schlentz.
“He works hard physically, and I don’t know how he does it,” Schlentz said. “He’s been doing this for years, and the cats have been fed every single day.”
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