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.

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