Cyprus: where there are more cats than people

Cyprus is a country where the domestication of the cat has gone decidedly pear-shaped because there are thought to be more cats than people. It is estimated that if you combine stray dogs and stray cats their population is twice that of the population of people on the island. It is ironic to note that the first known domestic cat on the planet was discovered on Cyprus and is dated to about 9,500 years ago.

What surprises me is that the online Cyprus newspaper,, talks about a one-off €75,000 government grant towards spaying and neutering cats on the island ($89,000). That seems to me to be a very small sum of money and inadequate to fund the spaying and neutering 1.5 million stray cats!

The island’s National Committee for the Protection of Animals is meeting in September to decide how the €75,000 government grant can best be used to help control the out-of-control Population of Cyprus. I think if I was on the committee the first thing I would say is how do we get some more money out of the government!

It is thought that a cut in government funding for sterilising cats in 2012 is at least partly why there are so many cats on the island. State funding had dropped to €10,000 and then to €5000 by 2016.

At least the authorities on the island have decided that sterilisation is the answer. Effectively therefore they agree that TNR across the island funded by the government is the answer. That surely is a good aspect of this story. It would be nice to follow up to see what happens. The only issue, as I’ve mentioned, is that funding is still inadequate.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

It would be nice to see funding increased and the TNR programs proved to be highly effective. Cyprus is a good place to trial a nationwide TNR program because of its small size.

I would also like to see a discussion in the online Cyprus newspaper about taking preventative action. Surely the root cause of the problem is lax cat ownership in not spaying and neutering cats at an early age which is why the government is picking up the problem reactively. Preventative action is what is required and giving grants to the less well off on Cyprus for the purpose of spaying or neutering their cats or providing a discount service would certainly help.

Also, providing educational services about cat ownership would also go a long way to prevent unwanted cats.

A valued contributor to PoC, Harvery Harrison, lives on Cyprus. His cat companions are super. I hope he comments. He may well correct the estimates regarding cat populations size.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Harvey Harrison says:

    Having super cats that correspond to fine “breeds” occurring naturally and roaming free is a bit beyond most people’s understanding. TNR is a perfectly sound program but in Turkey and Cyprus it carries serious risks to the survival of Angoras and Vans. Another serious problem is that these cats are only protected from loss by the export prohibition. The law makes no mention of any prohibition of neutering and spaying which actually is a much bigger threat to them. The Turkish authorities always blame illegal exportation of these cats as the only reason for their increasing scarcity. That is totally false. I will bring that up at the conference in Ankara.

  2. Harvey Harrison says:

    Hi Michael. Thanks for writing to keep the topic of Cyprus cats on-going. I have my worries about any program to neuter the random bred cat population of Cyprus. Virtually nobody has any idea of the value of a good proportion of the cats in mention. they are all regarded as the same and grist to the mill when in fact they are not all the same. It’s takes some knowledge to understand that, but that knowledge is missing. I have so many examples of people adopting free-roaming beautiful Angoras and immediately neutering them thus cutting them off from any descendants. When asked how they feel about contributing to their impending extinction their usual reply is that they didn’t know or that there are too many cats. I counter by asking them if they think there are too many super pure white Angoras, or why it wasn’t obvious that such cats are not ordinary but are in fact very special. The mind set of people is very much influenced by the cat fancy which brainwashes them into thinking that cats without any fancy pedigree are worthless moggies. Then why do they adopt them as something special and then proceed to prevent their conservation as if they were nothing special? A lot of muddled thinking here, or no thinking at all. Or are their main concerns that of their own convenience? Cats in Cyprus and Turkey are nearly 100% free-roaming cats but which get a lot of help from sympathetic people. I do not see that they have reached the point of being a serious nuisance. Natural attrition keeps their number in check . There is only one female cat and 2 kittens at the Doner City restaurant now whereas there used to be 10 or more at any one time not including maybe up to 30 cats and kittens that have dispersed over the past 4 years.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Harvey. Thanks for commenting. I had not crossed my mind that neutering the stray (community) cats might harm the population of beautiful Angoras (and Vans I presume). It is a very good point if that is the point you are making.

      I agree, as you know, about how the American cat fancy has messed up. The Angoras and Vans of Turkey and in Cyprus are fabulous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *