Toppenish auto parts store closing, giving away rescued cats

TOPPENISH, Wash. -- Anyone who walks into an auto parts store in the Lower Valley might get an interesting offer. How about a cat to go with that catalytic converter? The store's about to go out of business. That means everything on the shelves must go. KIMA learned there's a lot more than spark plugs.

If it's your first time at Mr. T's Mid-Valley Auto Supply, you might be confused. Auto shop or pet shop?

Mixed in with all the car parts...cats. On the shelves, on the counter, on the owner.

"The first one that came was shot in the neck and had its eyelashes burned off," said Terry "Mr. T" Latimer.

Mr. T's first rescue came 14 years ago, when he took in this stray cat off the street. Then came a few more, and word spread that tough Mr. T had a soft heart. Neighbors started leaving cats on his doorstep.

"I had one lady say she had one kitten to give away and left us a tub of 10 kittens."

His cat kingdom eventually grew to 32. More cats also meant more litterboxes.

"You can't keep the smell out of here all the time. I've had people who won't come in because of the smell, but I really don't care. I got too many people that will come in."

Like Antonette James, a regular customer at Mr. T's.

"A lot of them are really beautiful animals. And, it would be nice if they could all have homes."

They need new homes because Mr. T's is closing its doors in early March. The building will be demolished, and Mr. T will work from home.

As for the cats, a rescue organization already took in 12. Family and friends snatched up seven more.

There are only 13 cats left. Mr. T says they're going fast. And, it's no wonder. Their faces are hard to resist.

A chance to add one of these after you get what you need to make that engine purr.

Mr. T warns some of the cats won't get along with other pets. And, he won't give the cats away to just anyone.