It's safe to say that Osvaldo Coelho is the guardian angel for the cats of Guaíba, the town in south-east Brazil where he lives.
Seven years ago as a tire store manager, he spotted 2 cats wandering in the woods opposite his home and decided to help them. However, the man wasn't particularly a cat person in the past. He even confided that he didn't like them at all. "But when I started taking care of them, I learned to understand and appreciate them," he explains.
In the meantime, the wooded and marshy territory of Guaíba has seen its cat population grow. As felines were not spayed/neutered, they reproduced. What's more, people started abandoning their pets there.
As a result, Coelho now looks after 180 cats. He feeds them, cares for them and provides them with shelters, dozens of which he builds himself to protect them from the elements. Although taking care of cats is definitely his cup of tea, it costs him about $600 a month.
Example that has inspired authorities and activists
Describing himself as a cat person, he has insprired other locals to help cats in need. His example prompted the local authorities to create the Animal Welfare Office in March 2022. This institution provides the man with regular support, as does a recently founded rescue.
SOS Gatos da Colônia has been established by photographer Katherine Scaranto, who was moved by Osvaldo Coelho's passion and compassion for these furry creatures.
SOS Gatos da Colônia not only raises funds to help Coelho in his endeavors, but also carries out spay/neuter campaigns to limit the growth of the cat population. This initiative is supported by more than one local veterinarian, who offers free cat care.
Do you admire this ultimate cat person? Don't hesitate to share this story with all your friends!
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