Cat lover dubbed ‘Mr Catmando’ who lives with SEVENTY felines is being investigated by police and RSPCA as activists stage protests at his home after accusing him of animal cruelty
- Ian ‘Catmando’ lives with more than 70 cats in Lincs. whom he says he cares for
- The 56-year-old describes himself as a ‘professional cat carer and a showman’
- The police and RSPCA launched probe after animal welfare activists complained
One of Britain’s biggest cat lovers who shares his home with over 70 cats is being investigated by the police and RSPCA over claims the animals are living in squalid conditions.
Ian, 56, who uses the surname ‘Catmando’, lives with dozens of felines in a small terraced house and claims he trains them up to help people with epilepsy.
He describes himself as a ‘professional cat carer and showman’ and has defended his right to look after the animals at his property in Gainsborough, Lincs.
Ian says he spends more than £5,000 a year caring for his pets and has looked after more than 5,000 cats since 1992.
But he is now at the centre of an RSPCA probe after animal rights activists gathered outside his home last week to stage a protest over concerns for the cats’ welfare.
They say the pets cannot roam free because the back garden is covered with chicken wire, barbed wire and metal bars.
Pictured: Ian ‘Catmando’ who shares his home with over 70 cats is being investigated by the police and RSPCA over claims from activists that the animals are living in squalid conditions
Ian describes himself as a ‘professional cat carer and showman’ and estimates he has looked after more than 5,000 cats at his home in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (pictured), since 1992
Photographs from inside his house show dozens of cats piled on top of cluttered surfaces and living in seemingly filthy conditions.
But unemployed Ian says his pets are happy and healthy and he has trained thousands of cats over the years without any complaints.
Ian regularly walks up to 15 moggies down the street at a time and claims he also trains them for a PTSD recovery charity.
Ian, who is not married and has no children, 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.
Animal activists gathered outside his home to stage a protest over concerns for their welfare
Cat lover: Ian insists he is doing nothing wrong and that ‘everything is legal and above board’
‘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.
‘If you have 30 cats in a room that is minus five centigrade, within an hour the temperature is well over 20 degrees.
‘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.
Ian insists there is enough room for all 70 cats inside his home and that police regularly visit
Pictured: Inside the house of Ian Catmando, on Portland Terrace, Gainsborough, Lincs
‘I just love cats.’
Ian has hit back at the protesters who have been gathering on his street daily since last Thursday (9/9) and says that the stress caused one of his cats to have a miscarriage.
He added: ‘One of the female cats was pregnant with seven kittens and she’s miscarried. The other cats are seriously stressed out.
‘The protesters reckon it is illegal and immoral to train and walk cats. 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.
Ian Catmando says being a cat showman runs in his family and that he brings people happiness
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.
A force spokesperson said: ‘Officers attended a property at Portland Terrace, Gainsborough on Thursday 9th September following reports of people gathering outside.
‘This was believed to relate to a number of cats being kept at the address.
Lincolnshire police visit Ian after protesters gathered outside his home and have urged the public to stop protesting and accusing Ian of animal cruelty as the matter is investigated
‘No arrests were made during either incident and on both occasions, the groups left the area.’
West Lindsey Community Policing Inspector Gary Brockie added: ‘Officers along with an RSPCA Inspector and a housing officer from West Lindsey District Council attended the address at Portland Terrace.
‘This is not a police-led investigation however, we continue to work with and support the RSPCA who have the relevant information and expertise.
‘My request is that those who have previously felt the need to gather in the location to please stop doing so as this will support the relevant agencies to conduct their enquiries into this sensitive incident in an unhindered manner.’
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.’
A West Lindsey District Council spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of concerns and are currently liaising with the police.
‘At this stage, we cannot comment any further while an investigation is under way.’
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