I’ll start the article with the words of a colleague who notified me of this story….
This is about a woman, Alexandra, a photographer, who is resident in the European country of Montenegro. She is a wonderful cat photographer and she has a cat blog for her own two home cats, Usyaka and Pirate.
Below is a photo by Alexandra of Usyaka a stunning Oriental Shorthair (great photo):
She works tirelessly and alone to help the thousands of street cats who live neglected and hideously abused lives in Montenegro.
This is where Montenegro is:
My colleague says that Montenegro is a country with no animal welfare laws, no education about animals and little care for well-being. It is a developing country, though there is a lot of poverty and deprivation and of course, a subsequent ignorance and loathing for animals. Note: There are animal welfare laws but they are poorly enforced.
Alexandra gets very little support online for her work, and funds pretty much all of her cat work herself. She’s very brave in that she regularly has to deal with aggressive individuals who hate cats and are not shy of being violent or retaliating against her humane work by hurting/killing cats.
We aren’t just talking about young oafs on the rampage, we are talking adults with jobs, the educated and the elderly too. It seems that Montenegro just hates animals full stop.
Here are some words from Alexandra:
I’ve been helping some cats on the streets of Montenegro for two years. Unfortunately, no matter what I do, I cannot save them, because the life on Montenegrin streets is mortally dangerous for them. I lost many cats; some disappeared and some were killed by cars or intentionally poisoned. Thus, the only way to save them is to find them a loving home……The general attitude towards homeless animals here is revolting. It’s one thing when they teach their kids to kick cats and spit or piss on them just for fun, calling it “a game”, it’s another when they intentionally kill them. (extract from her blog about her cats in which she also refers to cat welfare problems generally. Please read the linked page as it summarizes the dire situation in Montenegro for street cats.
And here is a video about a cat she knows and helps, Osen:
Here is a still photo by Alexandra of Osen who is two years old at the date of this post:
Amongst many other activities in helping the street cats, Alexandra feeds this family of three:
You can read about this one example of her cat welfare work on this page: Cat Family.
It is hard to know where to start because the job at hand in helping the street cats in Montenegro is a mountain that one kind lady cannot climb on her own.
I am pleased to help in a very small way by highlighting in this article the work of Alexandra, who for me is a heroine doing work against the flow, in the face of what appears to be a general hostility towards street cats in that country.
It puts her in direct conflict with some members of the community in which she lives. This makes the work doubly difficult and depressing on occasions I’d have thought. If a cat rescuer sees that all around her there is a lack of empathy towards the cats she wish to help, it must be very off-putting.
Alexandra can only help individual cats when her time and resources allow. There clearly needs to be a root and branch change in attitude from the citizens of the country and that must start from the top with enforced law, in my opinion.
Good animal welfare law properly enforced will, over years, change the attitudes of people. It is in the hands of politicians and the authorities, which is depressing because we all have little faith in politicians.
“Montenegro does have laws that forbid cruelty to animals, but in practice the police and other authorities are reluctant to work with cases of animal abuse. I know it from my personal experience and from the stories of those who also tried to report an abuse.”
Montenegro is an EU candidate country. One day it will join the European Union. In order to do so they will need to have in place decent animal welfare laws on a par with the other member states. The hardest work is getting the police to enforce it effectively.
There is therefore some hope for a change for the better. The bureaucrats of European Union, the commissioners and parliamentarians should ensure that they place strict conditions in respect of animal welfare upon Montenegro before allowing them to join the EU.
I wish Alexandra all the best and send my love to the street cats she cares for.