Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Meet the Stray Cats of Gozo

Malta's green little sister is located a short 20 minutes ferry right North of the main Island of the Maltese Archipelago. Only 67 square kilometres in size, Gozo (Maltese: Għawdex) has much history to offer, including one of the oldest free standing temple in the world, 5,500 years old Ġgantija. The Island is popular amongst divers from all over the world, for hiking, for its rough yet green landscape, or simply for relaxed holidays away from the busy tourist centres of Malta. And cats know that, too.

Watching her clowder gather for a meal in Żebbuġ, Gozo.

By conservative estimation, some 350,000 stray cats live on Malta and Gozo. With very little control exercised by official bodies, it is thanks to the initiative and devotion of more than 1,000 individuals who feed the strays daily, provide veterinary support and have them neutered and spayed as young as 4 months (primarily at their own costs!). However, some clever moggies hide too well and do reproduce. Today the cat population in this overdeveloped, sea-locked small nation is stable, if not declining.

For the book "Islands of Cats - the humble Stray Cat Carers of the Maltese Islands", 6 of the 22 stray cat carers portrayed were visited in Gozo, namely Żebbuġ, Xlendi, Fontana, Għajnsielem, Qala, and Rabat (former brit. Victoria). While the book highlights the work of the stray cat carers, for this post, the stray cats of Gozo are the stars, photographed at around feeding time during the winter months. Enjoy the view.

Knocking at the Stray Cat Carers door. It's feeding time !! Żebbuġ, Gozo.
Strays after their in-house meal at a stray cat carer's home in Għajnsielem, Gozo
Hello. I live in Għajnsielem, Gozo, too.
Feeding time at the SPCA's Cat Café in Gozo's capital Rabat (former brit. Victoria).
Anywhere in Malta or Gozo: After the meal, snoozing in the sun. The shelter of a parked car is always welcome.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Simon's Cat Logic - Do Cats Fall In Love? - About Neutering and Spaying

As always, Simon Tofield has created a lovely clip, and goes with his "Cat Logic" videos a step further. Cat expert Nicky Treverrow talks about mating habits and the advantage of neutering and spaying, starting at 1 min 05 secs ...

Sunday, 17 July 2016

In Timaru, New Zealand, Cats keep going missing (via TheGuardian)

One owner who set up a Facebook group to search for pet Moses uncovers a peculiar and unsettling trend in suburbs of Timaru, New Zealand.

The Guardian 7 July 2016: "When Ashleigh Hicks’s cat Moses went missing, she was concerned because it was unusual, but assumed he would soon return home. However, it appears Moses is not the only one to have disappeared in odd circumstances. He is vanished cat No 50 this year alone in the city of Timaru, in New Zealand’s South Island. '

A common factor I have noticed in the majority of these stories is that the cats simply disappeared for no particular reason, cats that don’t tend to wander far,' Hicks said. 'We all thought this is too much of a coincidence and suspected foul play.' After Hicks set up a Facebook closed group called #freethefurbabies, she realised just how many of the animals had gone missing in similar circumstances. The group now has more than 100 members. Members have begun pooling information; including times and..." read on.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Love and Devotion: Sugar - the Paralysed Cat

photograph ©2016 Islands of Cats
Doris, the founder of the cat sanctuary "C.S.A.F. - Carers of Stray and Abandoned Felines" in Cospicua, Malta, and her team are lovingly caring for «Sugar» for ten years.

The tomcat fell off a balcony some seven years ago, leaving him all paralysed from head down. Euthanising was no option for Doris' sweetheart. With the help of the volunteers at the Sanctuary - and the other 250 cats - Sugar enjoys being cared for in the cat shelter.

Sugar resides in a comfortable basket or baby seat, being moved, fed and cleansed daily by the volunteer carers. He receives veterinary care whenever needed, and on July 11, 2016, the CSAF posted on Facebook:

photograph courtesy C.S.A.F.

Our precious and beloved Sugar, a paralyzed cat that has been under our care for the last 10 years, has had to have his teeth taken out as they got all rotten. He is now doing a slow recovery at the sanctuary...

Sugar not only gets a lot of attention from the carers, but also from several fellow-cats, some of them often stopping by to cuddle with him in his basket during the night. Sugar might be paralysed, but he is totally aware of what is going on around him. A wonderful example of what love and devotion can do. Blessings to lil' Sugar and to everybody so patiently looking after him.

photograph ©2016 Islands of Cats

The "C.S.A.F. - Carers of Stray and Abandoned Felines" is one of 22 stray cat carer portraits in the new (e)book "Islands of Cats - the humble Stray Cat Carers of the Maltese Islands" - click here to read more.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

300,000 Stray Cats in Malta and Gozo - Beloved or a Nuisance?

Through a dear friend we heard last Sunday that The Independent Malta had picked up the topic around stray cats in Malta from our media release sent to the press in Malta a few weeks ago. The article was published in the print version from Sunday, July 3rd. Below a scan from the newspaper:

Our original text (web address and sales links were not published by the Independent):

300,000 Stray Cats in Malta and Gozo! Beloved or Nuisance?

More than 1,000 individuals from all walks of life, nationality, gender and age group take care of the many stray and abandoned cats on our Islands. Far from being a hobbyists and not always appreciated by fellow citizens, these primarily private initiatives render an important service to Malta’s environment.

Visit Malta’s branch office in Japan features a map on their web site where Japanese tourists can find spots to watch stray cats on Malta and Gozo. Tourists happily photograph the feeding of stray cats in Argotti and San Anton Gardens, or embark on a chat with a stray cat carer in Sliema’s Independence Park. These cats are good looking, well-fed and unobtrusive in behaviour. Plates and bowls with food and water can be seen in many places, sometimes even sheltered. Malta’s stray cats belong to the landscape as much as luzzus, lizards, and lampuki.

Who are these people actively caring for an estimated 300,000+ stray cats and how does the local environment benefit from it? Together with their research for their book ‘Islands of Cats’, the authors learned about the unknown advantages, such as, if cats are moderately fed, rodents will stay away. Caring and feeding stray cats daily and in fixed locations keeps them from roaming and tearing up garbage bags. However, most important, stray cat carers control a great part of the cat population by having them neutered and spayed as young as possible. As a result, neutered tomcats are less noisy and do not spray their territory anymore.

It is the devoted work of these stray cat carers that the growth of this highly procreating species is kept at bay and is now gradually diminishing. Uncomplaining, the carers often cover the costs of veterinary needs and decent cat food personally.

‘Islands of Cats’ portrays a representative 22 stray cat carers in Malta and Gozo. The self-published ebook pre-release also comes with interviews and informative cat facts on 121 pages. Its 222 colourful photographs extend to several chapters about places of interest for readers abroad, with outlines in English, German, or Maltese. A hardcover version will follow as soon as funding for printing has been secured. ‘Islands of Cats’ aims for readers in the Maltese Islands as well as animal lovers all over the world.

[contact information, links, etc]

Monday, 4 July 2016

Nice Idea: New Tokyo cat cafe filled only with “Apple Cats” who have feline AIDS

The initiative aims to increase awareness and reduce prejudice against cats infected with the virus.

RocketNews24: 04 July 2016: "A Japanese cat cafe chain is gaining increasing support from kitty lovers around the world for housing hogo neko, or rescue cats, in the hope that they will find their forever homes after spending time with customers. Called Neco Republic, the company is growing steadily, with branches in Gifu, Osaka, Aichi, and Ochanomizu in Tokyo, and now they have another cafe opening in the nation’s capital, this time dedicated solely to animals with feline AIDS..." read on.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

intelligentCatCare Magazine - Good Resource for Stray Cat Carers and Pet Cat Owners

Feeding time at a stray cat colony in Swieqi, Malta - photo © 2016 Islands of Cats

Last week, Malta welcomed 500 veterinary surgeons for the annual ISFM European Feline Congress, which takes place in different European destinations. In his report on on July 3rd Times of Malta online, Dr Martin Debattista writes:

"If you are a cat owner, breeder, cattery operator or a stray cat feeder and you like to stay updated with what is happening in world cat health, I strongly recommend that you check out the website run by the International Cat Care – which is available at http://icatcare.org/advice.

Whether you are a dedicated cat carer, feline breeder or simply a cat owner interested in matters relating to cat health, you will be able to read about several feline conditions worth knowing about.

The website also provides valuable advice as to how best work together with your veterinarian in the treatment and care needed by your cat. You can also sign up for a free monthly e-magazine."

Another interesting note was that due to a busier lifestyle, more pet owners seem to turn to cats rather than dogs. Click here to read full article.

Today, the cat is the #1 favourite pet. iCatCare is a good resource for many topics around cats, pet and stray alike.