Twenty-two cats have been rescued from a cave in Quito following the death of their owner.
The body of the cats’ owner, identified only as Oswaldo, was found in the cave where he lived in the El Panecillo district of Quito, adjacent to the San Diego cemetery.
According to a police spokesman, Oswaldo, who went by the nickname “the Ecuadorian Bruce Lee,” had lived for several years in the cave where he had constructed a kitchen, bedroom and living area. Neighbors say he made a living giving martial arts demonstrations and giving lessons to children.
After hearing of his death, friends and neighbors alerted the Quito Metropolitan Police Rescue Unit to the fact that Oswaldo kept a large number of cats as pets. “The cats would wander into his cave and he fed and took care of them,” one neighbor said. “He loved his cats and they loved him.”
According to Christian Rivera, director of the police emergency operations, officers had to climb a steep embankment to rescue the cat. “It wasn’t an easy place to reach and the rain made it harder. We had to make several trips since the cats were free to come and go from the cave and we are trying to make sure rescued all of them. We thought we had them all on Tuesday but more kept coming in.”
As of Thursday, Rivera said 22 cats had been captured.
The cause of Oswaldo’s death is pending an autopsy but Rivera believes he died of a heart attack. Oswaldo was believed to be in his mid-50s.