The woman sold her car and diamond engagement ring to shelter 1,000 cats

Stray animals are a global problem. Rarely has a country managed to keep moray eels and homeless balloonfish off the streets. The number of animals in need of shelter is very high in most countries and animal welfare organizations are not able to help them all.

Then good people get involved, and some of them end up in a situation where the number of pets is overwhelming. This is the case of the American Linea Lattanzio, nicknamed « Cat Lady ».

The American has never been a pet volunteer, and she had her first cat Thomas in her 60s, after divorcing her husband. It didn’t take long for her to spot a stray cat on the street, then another.

When the number of cats increased to ten, she sold her 1973 Mercedes and her two-carat diamond engagement ring. With this money, she was able to buy a large house in California, where she created the largest cage-free cat shelter.

There are also a small number of dogs that are free to roam the grounds, as well as cats. She ran the shelter for the first seven years on her own money, then joined animal welfare groups and philanthropists who helped her.

Over the past few years, she’s had over a thousand cats in her house at once, and they’ve ended up taking up all the space. She had to buy a trailer and live in it in her own garden. But she does not regret it, believing that she is closer to nature.

She estimates that more than 28,000 cats have passed through the kennel in 24 years. Some of them found new owners, others remained wild and lived here until the end.

Of course, the retiree cannot take care of so many animals on her own. She now has 45 employees at the shelter, as well as volunteers. Each week, the shelter needs 1065 kg of food and 272 kg of cat litter. Linea estimates that caring for cats costs around $1.6 million a year.

Sure, she could have spent that money on fancy clothes or fancy cruises, but Linea chose to help animals and doesn’t regret it.

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