Some people, it seems, believe that unwanted litters of kittens are, quite literally, litter, as Nine Lives Greece volunteer Elena learned when she found no less than 14 kittens dumped in a rubbish bin.
After spring, September is the second most popular time of year to abandon kittens. The summer litters are just getting weaned, wobbling into view from their mothers’ hiding places, arousing the ire of people who see them as little more than vermin. The usual habit is to shove the kittens into a box and leave them in a park or beside a rubbish bin – for ‘someone else’ to take care of. But some people go the whole hog and dump them right inside the communal rubbish containers, sealing them in for a ghastly fate.
On the evening of September 15, Nine Lives volunteer Elena received the kind of phone call that all animal welfare volunteers in Greece dread – a report of 8-10 kittens that had been abandoned on a main avenue in western Athens. With her home already filled with rescue cats and being unemployed and thus financially unable to take in more, she put out a plea for help on Facebook, without much luck.
“All night, I was torturing myself about these kittens,” she says. “Whether they would survive the night; if I would find them alive the next morning; what condition they were in; how many there were; and where I would put them, since I already have my own cats and fosters. At 6.10am I got up and went there. As I arrived, I found two kittens dead in the road. I heard meowing and, searching around, realised it came from the rubbish bin. I opened it and found inside – absolute horror. Kittens everywhere, climbing on the rubbish bags, lying among the filth, desperate. I started to gather them up, immediately filling the two cat carriers I had with me. The final headcount was taken later: 14 kittens, the oldest 3 months old, mostly with gunky eyes, snotty noses and ringworm…”
Elena took home with her that morning 6 of the weakest of the kittens, she gave two to be fostered with a family who just that morning had contacted Nine Lives Greece kindly offering help, and the remaining 6 are temporarily staying in a safe garden, due to lack of any other foster space.
Our posts on Facebook about the kittens have been shared extensively, but there have so far been no offers from anyone to adopt or foster these kittens. Thanks to the support of Nine Lives friends, donations have been made to cover the kittens’ first vet visits, while donations of kitten food, beds and toys have also been most gratefully received.
We have learned from residents of the area that this is not the first time kittens have been dumped there. Tragically, in previous times, most of the kittens died. But no one has been to the police station to report this crime, nor had the courage to name the perpetrator.
It’s a heinous crime for someone to dump kittens in the trash just because they don’t agree with spaying, or can’t be bothered to find them homes, or for whatever other excuse they might come up with. We wonder how they can sleep soundly at night, knowing that they have condemned these poor creatures to an appalling death, either through starvation, dehydration or being crushed to death in the garbage truck. It’s important to note that abandoning animals is a punishable offence carrying a prison sentence of up to one year, or a fine of between 5,000 and 15,000 euros, while the fine for abuse of animals rises to 30,000 euros.
If you’d like to help one of these kittens, but are not in a position to adopt or foster, any donations to our bank account (Alpha Bank, IBAN: GR2901401770177002002000571,BIC: CRBAGRAA, account name: “Eptapsihes – Nine Lives”) or through Paypal (email@example.com) marked “For the 14 kittens” will go straight into food and vet care for them. Even a small donation can make all the difference for a hungry, sick kitten. Don’t forget to include your name and address, so that we can send you a receipt along with our heartfelt thanks.