76-year old Willie Ortiz is not letting time nor age stop him from being dedicated to over two decades of providing for stray cats in his community. A veteran, the Hartford, Connecticut senior is also a scrap metal collector.
For the last 22 years, Ortiz has been feeding local stray cats every single day. Yep, you read that right, he hasn’t skipped a single day providing for the local felines in need!
Absolutely nothing stops him or interferes with his mission, least of all inclement weather. Rain, snow, or sunshine, Ortiz goes out and about every single day to collect scrap metal. He then sells the scrap metal to pay for the food and cat supplies that the local stray population needs to survive.
Ortiz cares deeply for the cats. Not only does he feed them and give them love, but he also pays to make sure each cat is spayed or neutered, which successfully helps keep the stray population from growing completely out of control.
Not that many of us wouldn’t do what we could given the opportunities, but it’s certainly curious to be so dedicated to stray cats, isn’t it? People wondered what led to such a dedicated act of love to cats he will never adopt into his home.
It was a hungry kitten that hooked his heart, begging for food and being ignored.
In an interview, Willie Ortiz said:
“People were pushing it away, and I could see it needed help. I know these cats can’t understand my accent, but I need to do something”.
The revelation that he could do something became reality because, from that day forward, Ortiz was dedicated to the safety and health of his local stray cat colony.
Every morning, Willie starts his day by driving around collecting scraps to sell. Then, every evening he leaves his home with tins of sardines and cat food to feed the cats, and while he is there he checks on their health.
The cats that Ortiz cares for in his community are all very healthy and well-fed! But that’s not all. Not only does he make sure they’re spayed or neutered, but injured or sick cats are collected and given medical treatment on Ortiz’s dime.
The work is difficult, but Willie has said many times that it is his “life,” and it makes him, “very happy.”
Willie has also said that he will continue to provide for the cats as long as he can.
People are not ignoring Willie’s work, either. In fact, a woman named Kathleen Schultz created a GoFundMe for Willie four years ago!
A few years ago, she explained on the GFM page:
“Presently he feeds 16 colonies of stray and feral cats, a total of 68 cats, every night, 365 days a year and has never missed a night in 22 years”.
“He makes sure they get what they need to have as good a life as possible”.
Today, his GFM campaign has raised close to $300,000, fed and provided for countless cats, and in April of 2019 had a tax-exempt (501c3) status approved! Connecticut… is Willie strong.
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