Christmas is upon us and the island has returned to its quiet, tranquil life beyond tourism. It seems as if this has been a very long tourist season and as per usual emails, phone calls, messages and face book posts of problems regarding sick, injured or dying cats came flooding in and although we endeavour to deal with every request at times some were impossible. Our one Christmas wish, would be a request for a kind soul to start a cat Rescue Service here, this may at least help to solve some of the problems…
In the meantime our amazing vets visited in October, they well and truly blitzed wherever they worked. In the first instance we had a healthy donation which allowed a single vet to come out and work around Lindos Memories hotel, specifically chosen by the person who donated the money being very aware of the numerous cat situations and was seriously worried about their health. In those 2 x dedicated days we managed to TNR 12 x cats at the hotel and another 16 in and around the Pefkos / Lindos area taking our total to 853 since we started.
A few days later we loaded 2 x cars with traps, carry cages, medical equipment and items allowing the vet to remain at the Skiadi Monastery retreat another day, so she could check then release the cats. A while back we had promised the monks we would neuter all 22 of their inbreeding cats, however they telephoned prior explaining they had a very sick kitten which needed medical attention and on collecting it Kefala the Boss cat was also trapped and neutered, leaving us with 21 cats. On our arrival one kitten had been taken without asking by a visitor much to the Monks disgust as they never allow their animals to leave the sanctuary of the monastery, taking us down to 20. The volunteers managed to trap every cat within half an hour whilst the vet (Christine) set up her room for neutering, the program was then under-way.
Zacharia the monk who takes care of their cat colony, along with the Abbot were absolutely fascinated by the neutering and would pop in to watch asking if we needed help, did we want some cake, could they fetch us tea or coffee, unbelievably generous and as you can see from the final photo extremely happy, so much so they donated to the TNR program….
Whilst the vet and her husband who had also kindly volunteered stayed the night at the monastery, the rest of us packed up and made our way to the Old City of Rhodes collecting many other traps and equipment on the way as we realised this was going to be the hardest and most difficult project ever organised.
The second vet ( Joke pronounced Yoke ) arrived with vet nurse Chrissie, plus another trapper Laura and her husband Garry who very kindly donated his holiday time, as did Sebastian the partner or of regular trapper Katie. What a team…!!! As soon as they arrived everyone pulled their weight unpacking, cleaning, tying tarpaulins around to protect the cats for when the trappers came back. The very first day a record was set with 36 cats neutered, seriously unbelievable as we normally expect minimum of 20 cats per day otherwise it’s not worth our while bringing the teams out and the only reason Yoke did not manage more – the trappers could not keep up with her!!
This was made even more difficult by the first vet joining the team after a couple of day’s rest, the trappers needed to double their daily collection. Up at 4am they scoured the streets and alley ways, to no avail as the locals and restaurants had been feeding the cats and they were not being at all co operative. Katie and Mara went round explaining to the very inquisitive locals who genuinely thought they were trapping cats to euthanise however when they understood everyone went out of their way to assist, taking trappers to different areas or explaining where to locate colonies of cats just waiting to be caught.
Suddenly the numbers neutered were hitting 45-50 per day and the vets were in their element.
On the 3rd day a momentous occasion as the 1000th cat was neutered, not a particularly healthy looking Tom with a damaged jaw, cuts and bruises approximately 5-6 yrs old, hopefully he will now manage to reach 8-10 years and live a much healthier life.
This TNR project was particularly extreme without cars being allowed into the old town, narrow streets of cobbled stones, tiny alley ways, crumbling, decaying steps hundreds of years old it was survival of the fittest. No vehicle to carry the heavy cages and cats backwards and forwards, this was just the tip of the iceberg in the Medieval City and them all did an amazing job.
All in all a spectacular performance by everyone involved and at the end of the weeks neutering, our total was 1166 since GCWS-Rhodes started the TNR program…. WELL DONE EVERYONE
What I find even more amusing, remarkably they all want to come back again????
March 2015 will be the first neutering program of the New Year, we have been invited back to assess the situation in Lindos and then to Asklipio village where the cat situation is very much out of hand…
Before Christmas wishes are proffered GCWS-Rhodes would like to announce their online auction starting December 1st.
To place a bid you will need to go to our second Facebook page Rhodes GCWS, with an understanding that none of the items can be sent overseas. They are prizes donated for visitors, tourists or people that live on the island, if you know of anyone getting married, coming on holiday or would like to give a gift to anyone on the island of Rhodes then it may benefit you to take a look… Happy Bidding.
Once again to all of our friends and supporters:
CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR