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  1. ITV Report

Nurse transformed her flat into a hospice for 175 dying cats

A nurse, who lives with her three children in Lima, Peru, has turned her home into a hospice where she now cares for 175 cats suffering from feline leukemia.

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Maria Torero's two-storey eight-bedroom flat is now scattered with feeding dishes and litter boxes after it became a sanctuary for desperately ill cats.

Her three children, aged 16, 14, and six, enjoy playing and cuddling with the animals to help comfort them.

Despite suggestions he 45-year-old should shelter healthy cats instead, Maria told The Associated Press looking after those with illnesses is "my role".

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"My duty is to the cats that nobody cares about," she said.

"My best gift of love and respect I give them is life. Each one has a distinct personality."

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Torero has looked after animals who suffer from the virus for the last five years, after finding them in streets and markets around Lima.

The majority of the cats she cares for were also found to suffer from fleas, parasites and malnutrition.

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Feline leukemia is not contagious to humans and is usually transmitted to other animals through direct contact, mutual grooming and the sharing of litter boxes, food and water bowls.

Cats who suffer from the common virus can survive for several years, although their lifespan tends to be a lot shorter than any unaffected cat.

Torero, who will only care for adult cats in her home to prevent spreading the the virus to new generations, said other people "don't adopt adult cats, especially if they are terminally ill."

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Fellini, Peppa, Dolly and Misterio are among the new names that have been given to some of the stray cats Torero looks after.

Her duties involved in taking care of the cats include providing them with medicine, regularly sterilising them, getting them checked for parasites every two months. She said she sometimes dresses the felines up in small shirts.

With the help from donations and income from her job as a private nurse, Torero is able to spend an estimated $1,785 (£1,070) a month on care for the cats.