Meet The "Cat Guy" Saving New York City's Strays Single-Handedly

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. By day Paul Santell is a mild mannered worker, but at night he transforms into a hero who roams the streets, protecting New York's stray cats.

While coming home one night Santell noticed a group of cats living on the sidewalk. He bought them a can of food, and the next day he found more cats waiting for him. Soon, looking after these strays became a hobby, and now that hobby has become Santell's personal calling.

Now, as the "Cat Guy," Santell is famous across the city, and people let him know when they see cats in need.

Santell gives New York's cats food and water, but he also traps them one by one to vaccinate and spay the city's stray population.

As he explains, it's not exactly an easy job:

“Getting access to areas where cats are living or retreat to when going to trap and save them often takes multiple trips, days, weeks, months,” he told Catster. “Some cats are very savvy.”

IRONMAN: THE LAST UNFIXED CAT AT THE MAIN INDUSTRIAL SITE I finally got him. Over two years of fixing and rescuing cats and kittens at the main industrial site and he is the last one left. He isn't even particularly hard to trap; two years ago I had him eating under the drop trap but I was waiting to trap 4 month old SQUIRT instead and wanted to see if she could be socialized (too skittish and was TNR'd and I still feed her there). I let him eat and leave that day. The difficulty is that he roams the entire site, often I do not see him for a few weeks, and when I do I am running late for work. I decided to press my luck today and run to work late. He was, like I figured, an easy trap with my remote controlled drop trap as I sat in my car with the trigger. He has the look of an old beaten up tom cat. I hope after his ASPCA appointment he can relax a bit and live easier with the rest of the fixed cats there. #cats #catsofinstagram #catsagram #catstagram #feralcats #industrialcats #tnr #trapneuterreturn #spayneuter #tabby #nodaysoff #astoria #queens #nyc #paulthecatguy

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One cat, who Santell nicknamed Ironman, managed to stay on the run for two years before Santell was finally able to trap him.

Amazingly, Santell manages to accomplish all of his amazing work for these cats on his way to and from work every day. The city's strays may not be able to thank him, but he doesn't need thanks anyways.

“There is nothing more gratifying and saving a life,” he says. “When people send me pictures of cats who they adopted from me it makes me feel so good, and it is overwhelming to think that if I hadn’t made a trip to a certain neighborhood on a certain day, that this cat would never be in a person’s lap in a warm home.”

You can follow Santell's work on Facebook and Instagram.

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