Why are there so many cats on Cyprus?

The key reason why are there so many community cats on Cyprus is because not enough are being sterilized. The question is not about domestic cats but semi-feral community cats. Although there needs to be an education program to improve domestic cat ownership to ensure that all owned cats are sterilized. This would tackle the underlying, root cause.

You can ask the same question about Turkey or Greece or perhaps any one of the Mediterranean countries. Ultimately the reason comes down to the attitude of the citizens of these countries which is reflected in the attitude and behaviour of their governments. To that you can add the climatic conditions which are friendly towards cats living permanently outside. And thirdly, there is always a nice lady to feed the cats which help to sustain these colonies but sadly these wonderful ladies are missing out on one aspect of their care for these community cats: sterilization.

Community cats of Cyprus
Community cats of Cyprus. Some of the estimated 1.5m on the island where there are 1.2m humans. Picture in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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The local governments national governments of these countries are not doing enough to sterilize the cats. The Cypriot government should be working hand-in-hand with volunteers creating a network of willing workers to help stabilise what is still a growing community cat population through extensive TNR programs which incorporate sterilization. The bottom line is that these cats are still breeding and not enough is being done to stop it.

The Cypriot government fully understands the cause of their feral cat problem. They are fully aware that it’s about a lack of sterilisation. They have funded cat and dog neutering. In 2017, news media reported that the government donated €75,000 towards cat and dog sterilisation. But it wasn’t enough. Somebody who knows a bit about the problem is Dinos Ayiomamtis of the Cat Protection and Welfare Society.

He suggests that the only way for the government to truly commit to the community cat problem on Cyprus is to give €100,000 annually over at least five years. I would respectfully suggest that they need to give more than that.

The need to pull all the volunteers together and the veterinarians who will do the neutering. They need to work with the specialists to create a mighty network. They need mobile sterilisation units. TNR is the process through which this can be done. Perhaps they could subsidise veterinarians to allow them to provide discount sterilisation services?

There are numerous ways that it can be done but ultimately the Cypriot government needs to start funding adequately and they need to work with people because there are a lot of people willing to work to improve the situation. They do it naturally, instinctively. They like looking after the cats and they can’t turn a blind eye. This is what sustains the cat colonies but it isn’t enough to feed them. They need to be sterilized and vaccinated, in an ideal world. The barest minimum is sterilisation. That’s the only way to stop the procreation, the cycle. It is obvious and the government, as mentioned, knows it.

To return to the first paragraph, this is about the attitude of the government. They do not have an attitude which commits them to tackling the excessive number of community cats on their island. This means that they accept the cats as they are. What’ll happen is that the cat numbers will continue to climb and there will come a time when the citizens will genuinely see a need to tackle the problem. That feeling will work its way back to the government and then they will take steps.

I don’t know what happens to the cats in the tourist off-season. I know that in Greece they have a large number of feral cats too. To the best of my knowledge, they poison them in the tourist off-season period to cats are a tourist attraction. They serve a purpose but if I’m correct they are treated cruelly. I don’t think that happens in Cyprus but there must be some people on that island who don’t like the cats so much that they want to kill them and indeed do sometimes.

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