WASHINGTON, PA., AUG. 1 -- A man who owns 120 cats said today he has been trying frantically to find new homes for his pets since a judge ordered him to get rid of the felines or lose his home.

Under a court order issued last Tuesday, Sam Mancuso must find new owners for all but 10 of his cats by Aug. 12 to prevent a judge from ordering his home destroyed and the animals confiscated.

Mancuso, 58, a print shop owner, said he began collecting cats after seeing the animals abused and abandoned. "I thought they needed a friend," he said. "And I wanted to be it."

But neighbors complained to health officials about the smell emanating from his house in May, when a son and a friend cared for the cats while Mancuso was hospitalized for a heart attack, Police Lt. Ted Zets said.

"He just had the cats, and they kept multiplying," Zets said. "It was getting to the point where . . . a stranger or a health officer couldn't go in."

The city health board declared Mancuso's home unfit for human habitation May 19. Mancuso has since moved next door, where he stays with his estranged wife and two children.