Meet the man who shares his home with more than 70 cats

Ian, 56, proves that ‘cat men’ are very much a thing. So let’s go ahead and ditch that cat lady stereotype.

The single guy shares his home with over 70 cats, and has looked after more than 5,000 felines since 1992.

He describes himself as a ‘professional cat carer and showman’, and claims he trains the animals to help people with epilepsy.

But Ian, who uses the surname Catmando, is currently being investigated by the police and RSPCA due to concerned locals claiming the tens of cats are living in squalid conditions.

He has now defended his right to look after the animals at his property in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, stating that his pets are happy and healthy.

Ian, who regularly walks up to 15 cats down the street at a time, said: ‘I’m a professional cat carer and have been since 1992.

‘I’ve looked after over 5,000 cats and trained up 2,000 as alternative treatments for epilepsy.

‘Cats can recognise when someone has an epileptic fit coming, sometimes hours in advance.

‘I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t chase women. I sit down with the cats and it takes it all away – plus a room full of cats keeps it warm.

‘Everything is legal and above board. I’m a good person. I’m taking a stand because I have done nothing wrong.

‘I am squeakier clean than a bar of soap. I’ve got no criminal records and no mental illness at all.

‘There’s enough room for the cats and I have the police in the property on a regular basis.

‘They have all said the same: the cats are all healthy and there is nothing wrong with them.

‘I just love cats.’

Animal rights protestors have been gathering outside Ian’s house since last Thursday.

They say the animals cannot roam free because the back garden has chicken wire and metal bars, while photographs show just how cluttered and cat-filled Ian’s home has become.

‘The protesters reckon it is illegal and immoral to train and walk cats,’ said Ian, who has never been married and has no children. ‘That’s stupidity, what’s wrong with walking cats if people walk dogs?

‘At the end of the day, if you could pick on people who walk cats, who is it going to be next?

‘Hamster walkers, gerbil workers, tortoise walkers? What’s wrong with individuality? What’s wrong with freedom of choice?

‘There’s nothing wrong with doing something the old-fashioned way.’

Ian says he also tours about the country with some of his cats in a cart as a showman, keeping up his family tradition.

He added: ‘My father was a showman and my grandfather before him.

‘I let people cuddle the kittens and bring happiness and hope.

‘I’ve always had cats and at some points I’ve had up to 140.

‘I spend £5,000 a year on them in food, treats, toys and treatments.

‘I’ve just bought six chickens, 5lbs of gammon, 5lbs of sausages, 5lbs of bacon and £5lbs of chicken nuggets.

‘That’s £70 of food and just for one meal for them which I get every day if I can.

‘My cats are well looked after. People cannot go around making allegations about me – the allegations are pure fantasy.’

Lincolnshire Police this week warned protesters to stay away from the property so that the relevant authorities could do their jobs.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of this incident.

‘Unfortunately we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people, however we are grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.

‘A lot of the time issues will be dealt with by advice and education and it is not always appropriate to publicise this information for legal reasons.’

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