The story of one Athenian pensioner and his family of 20 street cats.
Mr Kostas lives in a small apartment right in the very heart of historic Athens. He is 82 years old. With his very meagre pension he takes care of 20 cats that live at and around a nearby church. Every morning, he wakes up at 5am and starts preparing the day’s meals for his cat family. Since he has so little money to spend, he mixes a very small amount of tinned food (which is more expensive) or butchers’ leftovers with the bulk of dry food. Lately, though, the cats ate like kings, thanks to the very generous cat-food donations by Greek Animal Rescue (GAR) and Royal Canin to Nine Lives Greece – for two weeks, the cats enjoyed premium Royal Canin dry food especially for sterilised stray cats, and couldn’t get enough of the abundant delicious tinned food from GAR.
We thought we’d take this chance to introduce you to a few of Mr Kostas’ cats. One-eyed Dalaras and his friend Bithikotsis, two handsome gingers, were neutered through Nine Lives Greece by tireless trapper Evi, as was female Loulouka, while Sinahis (who is FIV-positive like so many street tomcats) was caught for neutering by another volunteer, Antonis. Huge male cat Tofalos appeared at the colony already neutered, as did his friend Aristocat; perhaps they had moved along from another colony (Nine Lives volunteers have been active in the area) or maybe they were ‘let go’ from a home…
There is still work to be done there, though. Next on Evi’s spaying list are “Mum” and Loulouka, two calicos who are stuck in an endless cycle of pregnancy and birth and have so far resisted all efforts to catch them. The poor cats are thin and worn down by endless pregnancies, and as soon as their current litters are weaned, Evi is determined to catch them and get them to the vet. Also on the trapping list are four young lads, Allithoroulis, Svouras, Mourfas and Melenios, as well as a couple of siblings who are just 3 months old now but in a couple of months time will be ready to be neutered, sparing them the dangers of fights, disease, infections, getting run over during mating season, and, of course, adding to the overpopulation of stray kittens.
We will continue to support Mr Kostas, through the efforts of Evi and Antonis, to get the remaining cats spayed/neutered, and we hope that we will be blessed by more cat-food donations to help him continue to feed his beloved cat family.