Beautiful Rhodes - beautiful for people - hell for cats out of season - photo by Marcel Germain
Our local cat protection society used to trap pregnant feral cats and then allow them to have their kittens in captivity before spaying them and returning them to where they were trapped.
The kittens were then re-homed. I have two of those kittens at home and although they were pretty wild at first with a little care and work they have become the biggest pair of sops you could imagine.
They are now 13 and have been and continue to be wonderfully loving cats.
Sadly the cat protection society stopped doing this practice as they believed the kittens couldn't adjust, which I have to disagree with as I know a lot of people who have adopted the kittens over the years (I am close to one of the foster mums at the society) and all of them have been delighted by their cats.
They still trap neuter and release though, which I think is the best way forward for these animals.
I would hate to see the day we ended up like Greece and had a yearly cull of cats....
Hi Steph.. thanks for visiting. I don't know where you are but your reference to Greece and an annual culling got me on to researching that, which is why I retitled the article.
My research also threw up something interesting about Belgium. So we have Greece and Belgium offering different ways to deal with feral cats and indeed cats in general.
Greece - Rhodes, one of the Greek Islands
A newspaper article of 21st September 2010 (Mail Online) describes the idyllic holiday season on Rhodes, a popular holiday destination for Europeans in the colder countries further north. Rhodes is one of the Greek islands just south west of Turkey.
The tourists in Rhodes like to feed the stray cats. All is well until the holiday season comes to and and then it is Armageddon for the cat population.
They are unceremoniously poisoned. People put down poisoned food or poison the water. People see cats dying in front of them as they walk the streets. This is animal cruelty on a grand scale and the authorities turn a blind eye. And it isn't just cats - dogs get the same treatment and it isn't just poisoning. There seems to be a very debased culture of animal welfare in Greece. They seem to have a reputation for it.
The authorities in their wisdom not only ignore or approve of animal cruelty they do nothing about humanely controlling feral cat populations. Neutering is for pansies.
This is were Belgium intend to be different and amazingly optimistic - and perhaps overly ambitious.
In a newspaper article dated 3rd September 2010 (Guardian), it is reported that the Belgium government have decided it is high time to do something about the cat population (sounds familiar that).
They say that there are 1.7 million cats in a country of 11 million people. That is about 15% of the human population. As a digression, is that the same as the US? The population of the USA is 308 million (2010). 15% of that is 46 million. There are in fact about twice that number in the USA out of interest. The USA is a country of cat lovers which makes it all the more shocking that declawing exists there.
Anyway, they say that culling of feral cats takes place every year at the unacceptable rate of 13,000 per year representing about one third of the total of 37,000. This sounds an impossibly small number by US or UK standards. I read that there are 500,000 feral cats in London alone.
The answer, the government says, is to neuter the entire cat population of Belgium except for purebred cats.
This is discrimination of the worst kind it seems to me. The reason is obviously that breeders would be put out of business if the program were to be extended to all cats.
It is proposed that the neutering and spaying, national program will role out progressively starting with all shelter cats then extending to non-purebred cat breeders and thence to cat owner's cats.
All cat owners will be obliged to have their cat neutered or spayed at a cost of €130 (£108) for a female cat and €50 for a tom.
It is a bold and dramatic decision to fix a dramatic problem. And it is in complete contrast to the dilatory, doggy and disastrous methods of the Greek government. The Greek government is perhaps to preoccupied with its national debt to think of treating animals humanely.
Thanks Steph for encouraging me to look into the yearly cat cull in Greece, which appalls me, and sickens me. Belgium in contrast has taken the moral high road. I wish them well. Extensive neutering done properly is very effective I believe.
Whereas localized spasmodic trapping and neutering is not effective.
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