Our March team left after a brilliant TNR program from then on it never appeared to stop, a week later the German charity we work very closely with (Flying Cats) sent some vets over from Bulgaria to neuter dogs and cats. The organisers allocated some time for us although sadly very early appointments which meant 5.30- 6am starts, being over 1.5hrs away from the actual clinic where they were working, we managed to catch 22 in 3 short mornings of trapping.
One small village Kalithies actually requested help as they had far too many cats hanging around bins and roaming the streets, pregnant, injured, feral and sick basically due to inbreeding along with lack of good food.
Whilst trapping and trying to catch one particularly (photo) difficult and stubborn pregnant female, an old lady came out and offered a handful of luncheon meat. I kindly declined as I assumed it was her own food, but the cats went wild as soon as I accepted and placed some in the trap 2 were fighting to get inside.
Just goes to show, the best and most expensive cat food is not always the meat of choice.
Once the Bulgarians left the island our Belgian ( UK based vet Joke ) ( pronounced Yoke ) arrived and on being collected from the airport for her week of sterilising, I received an urgent call someone dumping a box of kittens at Kalithea cat sanctuary and could we drop by asap. Being a volunteer there myself and having a key to the open air enclosure, we raced over to find a mother and 7 kittens extremely scared and confused as they appeared well looked after but alone with large Toms and other cats stalking or at least being far too inquisitive for mummy cats liking.
Joke checked them over as I made up a safe house for them, popped them in together until the next day when Heidi would make other arrangements.
As there was no team this time around, prior to the vets’ arrival I had been setting up in Pylona community hall so we could get started straight away with our one week of neutering.
The afternoon before collecting Joke I managed to trap 11, knowing this would not be enough for her as she is extremely quick and needs a continuous conveyor belt of cats, dropping her off to set up I drove around Pylona village to find more furry customers.
In the past 2 seasons trapping in Pylona during the winter months and being a small village unlike big tourist areas, the cats were beginning to be short on the ground and less visible. With all locals’ eyes watching out for four legged fluff balls, I managed another 12 but it was getting harder and hotter by the hour.
That evening we went into my local village Lardos where over time we had also neutered 100 cats or more, but lo and behold we found a small colony of tatty, sick and mangy cats searching for food. Yoke not used to trapping was as good an assistant I could ever have, at the ready with everything we managed to trap 12 although one starving with a broken leg, eye hanging out managed to evade us. At least we had the next morning filled.
(However the desperately sick cat was captured the very next evening, whereupon he was sadly euthanized.)
Endeavouring to find more cats, I put out a call to a couple of people that feed a great deal of strays.
Thankfully Shirley who has had at least 30 cats neutered by GCWS Rhodes, managed to find 2 toms and one happened to be our 1500th cat!
As days became hotter touching 45 degrees, it was seriously hindering my trapping. Lovely for the tourists but cats went to ground, however over the 4 and a half days of neutering we still managed 89 with the wonderful help of Julia Driver who is a dentist in the UK residing here for a few months of the year, Karen my neighbour who had never been part of TNR program and Jennifer who kindly changed her dance schedule around so we could use the hall, also taking home 2 kittens from a mother cat who’s milk had dried up. They were fantastic help, along with locals who bought in never ending homemade cake, apple pie and sandwiches. Thank you ALL so much.
Neutering finished but not the rescue of kittens and cats. One mother who was neutered at the time was in a shocking state, her 4 kittens were starving and nearly ate one another when food was put down, and we decided to see how Mum would fare over 3 days and make a final decision as she could not go back on the streets in such bad condition. Each morning we went in she was expected to of died, in actual fact she and her 2 x kittens are here at home with me.
Mum has made a great recovery, although still requiring some TLC until I can get her to Kalitheas.
Another phone call came through via a vet; someone had found a kitten in the middle of the road!
The gentleman bought it to me, it was approximately 3 days old but with the TNR program about to start there was no way I had time to feed every 2 hrs. Face Book being a powerful tool, a mother with 4 seven week old kittens was found and she took to the tiny little mite as if she were her own. In actual fact the kitten is 3 weeks old now and it was discovered, she is a He.
Another cat with me at present is a lovely friendly boy Tommy from Kalitheas; he had an eye removed which swelled to such a size I agreed to nurse him at home. He is better, swelling went down after a few days of care, had his rabies jab and passport made ready and will be off to Germany as soon as we find a flight partner.
Room is running out as another young kitten Nikki which was doing very well at Kalithea was placed with the mum and 7 kittens, he was totally alone and she was happy to feed him. Sadly cat flu hit the family and he became extremely ill again home with me, slowly recovering but it is still touch and go as he has lost a great deal of weight. Fingers crossed.
Last but not least Kit one of the winter feeding program kittens that used to prefer jumping in my car to eat alone, along with Poppitt who also had an eye removed have left for Germany where they have Forever Homes.
Thank you Flying Cats.
It has been a very long TNR season, productive with our neutering figure now standing at 1,563.
Well done everyone involved.Cat Quote: The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.