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, in-cyprus.com, 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.
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.