Nine Lives Greece – Οι Εφτάψυχες most sincerely thank OIPA (the International Organization for the Protection of Animals), for their exceedingly generous donation of 3,000 euros for the neutering and veterinary care of stray cats in the centre of Athens, Greece.
Thanks to this grant from OIPA, we have been able to start tackling a huge and growing population of stray cats on the foothills of the north face of the Acropolis. We have already neutered the cats around the eastern and southern slopes of the Acropolis, as well as the cats living atop the monument itself, and these colonies are visibly healthier and the populations are stabilized.
We had been informed of one particularly large colony at Theorias Street, between the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora, where there were many cats and kittens, including one whose eyes were so badly infected that he could not see at all, therefore at great risk from dogs and cars. Since receiving the generous donation from OIPA in September 2013, we decided to start with that colony, and have to date spayed 12 female cats from there, and neutered 9 males, as well as taking the kitten with eye problems to the vet for treatment and then adoption with a lovely couple who have other blind and semi-blind cats.
Each time we go there (especially if we go without the traps – these cats have a sixth sense!) we see new cats, but we estimate there to be a further 5-6 female cats to be spayed at that particular colony, and a further 3-4 male cats, as well as 10-12 kittens that will need to be spayed/neutered in a month or six weeks’ time.
While in the area, we found another large colony just a block along from the Theorias Street colony, congregating at a taverna and finding shelter inside abandoned houses nearby. The kittens at this colony were extremely thin and some obviously ill, while the adult cats have various problems as well (bad eyes, skin issues, worms etc). We have so far spayed 6 female cats from that colony, and 4 male cats (one of which had a bone stuck in his throat that was causing him extreme pain and was removed by our vets), as well as taking 3 kittens for treatment – two of which were subsequently lucky enough to find a home, though they continue to have some on-going health issues, sadly. We estimate a further 2-3 female cats to be spayed at this colony, and 6-8 males, but again, each time we see different cats there.
While en route to trapping these cats, we became aware of a small colony of 6 cats living at the left luggage hut near the entrance to the Acropolis, just 150m away from the colony we have been trapping on Theorias Street. The employees there feed the cats, but had not taken them to be sterilized. We have now spayed both resident female cats there, and also neutered 2 of the 4 males.
We have also, as part of this extremely generous grant, started trapping the cats living between a car-park and an abandoned building at the beginning of Plaka, at a small colony where a semi-paralysed cat has been spotted. These cats are fed by the car-park attendant. We have so far not seen the semi-paralysed cat but will of course take him to our vets as soon as he feels confident enough in our presence to emerge (he lives in the safety of the derelict house). We have trapped and spayed 4 cats from there, and taken a young kitten for treatment for a bad skin condition and injured hind legs. There is one more female cat living there, currently feeding kittens, still to trap.
In total, we have to date trapped and spayed/neutered 45 cats from the above-mentioned colonies. In the alleyways and old buildings between these colonies, there are many, many more cats: particularly at the Tower of the Wind site, the Ancient and Roman Agoras, and through the area known as Anafiotika (also teeming with cats, dozens of which we have neutered over the years but there are always more) towards the colonies that we have already spayed/neutered.
Thanks to the astonishing generosity of OIPA, the vast majority of these cats will now be sterilised and can look forward to healthier lives, while the local residents will no longer be complaining about a surfeit of kittens on their doorsteps and growing crowds of caterwauling cats.