Chris Arsenault turned his Long Island home into a cat shelter after losing his son in a tragic accident

By Kelli Bender
Updated December 12, 2016 01:57 PM

Chris Arsenault is crushing the cat lady stereotype.

Known as the “cat man” of Long Island, the New York resident has earned this title, transforming his home into a haven for homeless cats and kittens.

According to CBS New York, Arsenault is currently caring for over 300 rescue cats at Happy Cat Sanctuary. He was inspired to turn his abode into a safe space for abandoned, abused and unwanted felines after his son’s tragic death, wanting to honor the boy’s life by providing a new start to dozens of animals.

The furry residents of Happy Cat Sanctuary live both inside and outside the fenced home, and all of them appear to adore Arsenault, a 58-year-old retired train conductor. Felines affectionately swarm the man anytime he arrives at the sanctuary, as if they sense that it was Arsenault who saved them.

“Their lives were so horrible, from not having food, or threatened of being poisoned or being dumped somewhere,” Arsenault told CBS New York.

Arsenault cares for the kitties with aid from a team of volunteers and donations, which help cover the $1,000 per week it costs to keep the sanctuary running and the felines happy.

“It’s unconditional love, you know, the cats they just know that you’re helping them,” Arsenault said.

To learn more about Happy Cat Sanctuary and how to donate, visit the shelter’s website.