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Britain's Biggest Cat Lover Defends Living With 70 Pets As RSPCA Investigates

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Britain's Biggest Cat Lover Defends Living With 70 Pets As RSPCA Investigates

Britain's biggest cat lover - who shares his house with more than 70 felines - is being investigated by police and the RSPCA following claims that the pets are living in squalid conditions.

Ian, who uses the surname 'Catmando', lives with dozens of cats in a small terraced house in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, claiming he's able to train them to help people with epilepsy.

The 56-year-old describes himself as a 'professional cat carer and showman', and says he spends more than £5,000 annually looking after the animals - estimating he has cared for 5,000 cats since 1992.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS
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After animal rights activists gathered outside his home last week over concerns for his pets' welfare, Ian is now at the centre of an RSPCA probe.

Protestors say his animals can't roam free due to chicken wire, barbed wire and metal bars in his back garden, while photos inside the house show cats living among cluttered surfaces.

However, Ian maintains that the cats are happy and healthy, saying he trains them for a PTSD recovery charity and walks up to 15 of the pets down the street at a time.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS
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Ian, who is unemployed, 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.

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"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."

He said he's 'squeakier clean than a bar of soap' and has no criminal records or mental illness, adding: "I just love cats."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS
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Ian believes the stress from the protestors has caused one of his cats to have a miscarriage, and that many of the other animals are feeling unnerved.

He said the activists believe it's immoral to train and walk cats, but dismissed this as 'stupidity'.

Ian also tours the country with some of the cats in a cart as a showman, something he says is a family tradition.

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

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"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."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

Lincolnshire police have told protestors to stay away from Ian's house so that authorities can 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.

"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."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

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."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: UK News, News, Animals, Cats

Jess Hardiman
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