Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Strangers raise $31,000 for Connecticut man who takes care of stray cats

The stray cats of Hartford, Connecticut, have a hero in Willie Ortiz.

The 76-year-old grandfather and retired welder has spent the last two decades feeding and taking care of feral and stray cats who call the streets home. He drives 22 miles a day in his 1988 Silverado to drop off food at 16 locations in Hartford and East Hartford, feeding about 68 cats. "The cats come out when they hear the sound of my engine," Ortiz told People. "They know my voice and they know the sound of my engine." He pays for all of the food, plus spaying and neutering cats and medication, by selling scrap metal that he collects.

Ortiz — who has never let sickness or weather stop him from helping the cats — wants to see the feral cat population drop, which is why spaying and neutering is so important to him. A friend set up a GoFundMe page to assist Ortiz with his costs, and after the story spread around the world, donations came pouring in from as far away as India and Portugal. As of Tuesday night, more than $31,000 has been raised for Ortiz, who will use the money to further his mission of feeding the cats and getting them fixed. "I was praying for some help, and the help came, and I was so glad that it came," he said.