By Adithya Sambamurthy.
It’s twilight in Antioch, California, a town about 40 miles east of San Francisco, and I’m riding shotgun with Ray Zeeb. He’s calling out the window of his white SUV to a cluster of cats running alongside his car.
“Look at ’em running, see ’em on the street right there? They’re ready to eat; they’re hungry,” he says. The animals are following him to a parking lot off one of Antioch’s main roads. As Zeeb gets out of his car, my camera picks up dozens of eyes in the bushes around us. Cats are everywhere, darting around, rolling in the dirt, tussling with each other.
Zeeb is a rugged 72-year-old man with white hair and a white mustache. He’s kind of a tough guy, but he has a soft spot for cats.
“Come on, Isabella! Hi, Louisa! She’s about 11 years old; she was born in that palm tree, five kittens,” he says while mixing two cans of Fancy Feast cat food into a bowl already filled to the brim with kibble.
The cats are drawn to the food, but they keep a safe distance. These cats are feral. They either were abandoned or were born wild and never had much human contact. Zeeb’s been feeding Antioch’s stray and feral cats almost every night for the past 12 years.