Animal Friends UK help stray cats in Athens get vital vet care
This July we received an email from the lovely people at Animal Couriers. They told us that they had helped to reunite a loved cat who had gone missing, Pepe, with his owners, and that as a thank you, they had been asked to nominate three charities whose work they esteem, to receive a monetary reward. To read the full story of this remarkable reunion, click here.
Animal Couriers very kindly proposed Nine Lives, and very soon we received an email from Animal Friends pet insurance company, telling us we would be the lucky recipients of a €1,000 donation, to be used in helping stray cats in Athens not so lucky as Pepe.
Given that neutering/spaying is the single most important action that can be taken to improve the situation for cats on the streets, and is the core focus of our work, we decided to spend this hugely generous sum on TNR (trap-neuter-return) programmes for cat colonies in Athens identified as being particularly desperate and needy. It was crucial, though, that these were colonies that were regularly fed, whose feeders were not anti-neutering (sadly, many are, simply exacerbating the problem), and where the cats were not in such danger that they would not survive in any case, neutered or otherwise.
Thus, we made the decision for the first tranche of the donation to be spent neutering/spaying a 30-strong colony of cats living at the edge of Athens’ First Cemetery. Cemeteries are always rife with cats here in Athens, and they tend to be tolerated in these peaceful expanses for keeping off rats and mice. This particular one, being so large and central, has a cat population that has grown into the hundreds. Another charity had recently sterilized some 50 cats near the entrance, and we decided to start from the group near a side entrance. These cats are fed daily, but receive no veterinary care whatsoever and many were suffering from skin conditions due to flea infestations, from cat flu, fight wounds and all the concomitant problems found in large unneutered colonies. The feeder wanted the cats to be neutered; the situation had got completely out of hand and she was struggling to pay food bills for the constantly expanding population.
As of September 1st, 15 of these cats have been trapped by super-efficient cat-catchers Yiannis and Shirley, and taken to our vets to be spayed/neutered and given any necessary vet treatment. By the end of September, all being well, that particular group of cats will all be sterilized, and looking forward to a healthier, more stable future, thanks to the generosity of Animal Friends.