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Meet the animal loving nurse who turned her home into a sanctuary for 175 sick cats


When we get home after work, we want to crash out on the sofa with a glass of wine. But when Maria Torero, a 45-year-old nurse in Peru, gets off her shift she tends to 175 desperately ill cats.

Torero has turned her eight-room, two-story house into a sanctuary for felines with leukemia, scattering it with food bowls and two-dozen litter trays to make them comfortable.

The woman, who is also a mother of three children aged 16, 14 and 6, has been running her in-house cat hospice for five years.

She spends around £1,200 a month paying for their food and medicine, half of that from donations and the other half from her job as a private nurse.

Maria Torero cares for 175 cats (at last count) in her home in Lima

Torero finds strays around the markets and local streets of Lima, Peru´s capital, and gets them tested for leukemia before bringing them home with her. Nearly all of the street cats turn out to have the disease, which is not contagious to humans or other species, as well as fleas, parasites and malnutrition.

She said she doses out medicine, sterilises the animals and treats them for parasites every two months.

Her arms bear scratches from the cats that resist the injections, but she doesn't mind. "My best gift [is] love and respect I give them in life," she told Associated Press.

Torero has transformed plastic organiser bins into beds for the cats

She even knits them adorable little jumpers and gives them names such as Fellini, Peppa, Dolly and Misterio to name a few.

"Each one has a distinct personality," she said.

Meanwhile her children who live with her often play or cuddle with the cats.

She says each cat has a personality and gives them names as well as knitting them jumpers

When people ask why Torero doesn't care for healthy abandoned cats, she answers, "That’s not my role".

"I’m a nurse. My duty is to the cats that nobody cares about. People don’t adopt adult cats, especially if they are terminally ill."

Torero only takes in adult cats to avoid spreading the disease to new generations. "Bringing a kitten here is condemning it to death,"' she said.

(Images: Press Association)



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