It’s World Cat Day. While we have cats here with us in our own living rooms, this is a good day to stop and give thanks to people who are making a difference for cats in their communities all around the world.
Here are just a few organizations around the world who are working hard to make a difference. Thanks to their efforts on points all around the globe today and every day.
Joan Gage wrote in The Secret Life of Greek Cats,“Everywhere you go in Greece you will find a cat…Cats are the punctuation in Greek life…During their catnaps they dream of the days when they were worshiped by the ancient Egyptians and didn’t have to rely on the kindness of strangers for food.”
Today, Greece has an estimated four million stray cats and dogs, and cities throughout are known for large populations of street cats. The Greek debt crisis meant an increased number of abandoned cats. These cats do have to rely on the kindness of strangers, or at least of neighbors who feed and care for them.
Helping Cats in Greece
The high population of feral cats makes organizations like Nine Lives Greece even more important. Nine Lives Greece is a volunteer network working on reducing feral cat population through TNR. Not only does the organization provide food and veterinary care for over 400 street cats every day, they help many more. Nine Lives spayed and neutered over 1200 cats in Athens in 2015, all through volunteer efforts. They also try to find homes for as many stray and abandoned cats as possible.
Feral cats have large populations throughout Japan, especially in areas where there are plentiful food sources, such as urban centers. Probably most famous is Japan’s “Cat Island,” Tashirojima, which has become a tourist destination with more cats than humans living there.
The Japanese really love cats. Cat cafes, now becoming popular in the US, were first found in Japan. TNR programs to spay and neuter feral cats in communities are spreading throughout the country as people take care of the cats who live in their own communities.
Helping Cats in Japan
The Japan Cat Network is a volunteer-run organization helping the people throughout Japan help cats. They teach the importance of spay/neuter and TNR and connect people to local resources. The organization also became known for rescuing animals from the evacuated zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, and they run a shelter where these evacuees live.
Turkey has an estimated two million stray cats, and Istanbul is well-known as a place where you can see feral cats around the city streets. They are so prevalent that some people refer to the city as “Catstantinople” after the city’s former name and its oversupply of felines.
You can find cats everywhere in the city, often sleeping on parked cars or following fishermen in hope of a free meal. Feral cats in Istanbul aren’t usually starving and hoping for a free meal. A remarkable network of humans feeds them, and Turkish state policy is to trap, neuter, and then release them again (TNR). Unfortunately, there aren’t enough funds to perform TNR on such a big population of cats, so day-to-day care falls to the neighborhoods where the cats live.
Helping Cats in Turkey
He’Art of Rescue, a volunteer-run nonprofit started in 2011, helps feral cats in critical situations in Istanbul, fostering them as they are nursed back to health. They have found homes for rescued cats abroad where they can live out their lives in comfort away from the city streets.
More Places Around The World
There are thousands of organizations and committed cat lovers making a difference for cats who don’t have anyone else other places around the globe.
To every single one of them, thank you. World Cat Day wouldn’t be the same without you.
Flickr creative commons/Liz Lawley