GAINSBOROUGH, LINCOLNSHIRE, UK – NEWS AND COMMENT: This article is about the culmination of a huge struggle by animal rescuer, Michelle Page, of Page’s Pet Rescue, and her colleagues in trying both to save the lives of cats hoarded by a delusional (in my view) individual who calls himself “Catmando” and to try and get the police and the RSPCA interested in the plight of these cats.
As it happens, the story ends highly successfully thanks to the efforts of Michelle page and her friends. But the result was not without stress and sleepless nights; a cost to the mental welfare of Michelle Page who said that Catmando had a problem with her but that all she was trying to do was to “provide these cats with the best quality of life”. That’s the reason why Catmando hates and hated her. He wanted to go on hoarding and neglecting cats to the point where their health was jeopardised and she wanted to do the opposite, so she was standing in his way. And thankfully Michelle Page is a very determined lady.
SIDEBAR: Metro.co.uk have taken a completely different viewpoint to the story. On September 17, they published an article in which they paint Ian Catmando as a delightful cat man who has over 70 cats in his home and who has looked after more than 5,000 cats since 1992. They say that Ian Catmando describes himself as a “professional cat carer and showman”. And he claims to train them to help people with epilepsy. They do confirm that he was investigated by the RSPCA and the police. Catmando claimed that everything was legal and above board. He said that “I am squeakier clean then a bar of soap. I’ve got no criminal records and no mental illness at all.”
He believed that everything that he was doing was legal and above board. He claimed that the police had visited his home and decided that his cats were healthy. He also said that at some times in the past he has had up to 140 cats in his home. He spends £5,000 annually on them. He said that is cats are well looked after and that people shouldn’t go around making allegations against it which are pure fantasy.
Interestingly, the report that Lincolnshire Police warned protesters to stay away from the property so that they could do their jobs. The RSPCA said that they were aware of the incident. COMMENT: Judging by the photos of his home and the health of the cats he is indeed delusional or perhaps he has very low standards of animal welfare.
I reported on this a little while ago, on September 13, when at that time it was said that a man was allegedly stealing indoor/outdoor cats from the streets of Gainsborough, putting them on a trolley and taking them to his filthy home, the home of a classic cat hoarder by the looks of the photos, where apparently the drains were blocked with cat faeces. At that time people did not know what was inside his home but concerned people knew that something was very wrong. The home was surrounded by chicken and barbed wire and there was cat poop in the garden and fleas all over the windows on the inside of the home.
It seems that Ian Catmando, 56, was oblivious to what he was doing and on occasion was seen walking 4 young cats on a lead as if he were some sort of cat guru. He claimed that he was training cats to be therapy cats. As mentioned, he appears to be delusional. Michelle Page and her fellow campaigners struggled to get the RSPCA and the police interested. They set up protests which you can see in the photograph. It looks very impressive to me but it comes at a price in terms of effort and struggle.
Michelle Page said that the whole thing has been very stressful to her: “It has been stressful, we been out night and day to try and sort it, and naturally it’s had a massive impact on us.”
That weight of responsibility and stress has been lifted because she’s has successfully managed to rescue all the cats. Police attended the property on Tuesday morning on September 14 and rescued 11 cats, one had died. And now all remaining 27 cats from Catmando’s home in Portland Terrace have been removed and taken into care after weeks of protests outside his home. It shouldn’t take weeks of protests for this to happen. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why the RSPCA simply couldn’t have stepped up to the plate on a phone call and checked things out. Perhaps they checked and approved what he was doing which is strange when you see the cat photos. I guess not all were in a bad way but too many were.
As was believed, the conditions inside the house were unpleasant. It was thought that over 50 cats were inside but as it happens a total of 37 have been rescued, 10 of which went to rescues other than Michelle page’s rescue. As usual, the cats are being checked by a veterinarian. Some are in bad condition. They being micro-chipped and eventually new homes will be found for them. One of the cats had been stolen and has now been reunited with their owner three years later. The cat had been reported missing and Michelle had posted an appeal online.
Michelle said: “Obviously it’s a massive weight lifted off our shoulders knowing that the cats are safe, but the process has been so mentally draining and now we are being met with the financial burden of caring for all these cats who need help.”
Some of the cats required dental work and they were covered with fleas while some needed x-rays and surgery to fix problems. The usual URIs were evident. Michelle Page’s rescue needs money because it’s a very expensive process in rehabilitating cats which have been so badly neglected and abused. She has set up a fundraiser and an Amazon Wish List. Please click on these links: Fundraiser & wishlist if you wish to donate. At the time of publishing this article, £2,536 has been raised towards a target of £5,000.
P.S. In my view Catamando might have committed the crime of animal abuse under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and theft under the Theft Act. What happened? I would expect nothing to happen. They seem to have decided that what he was doing was borderline and not a crime. How bad does animal abuse have to be? It is a question of standards.
SOME MORE ON CAT HOARDING: