Previous to the Cats of Kalithea sick and injured cats/ kittens were housed at the Rhodes animal welfare society. However, due to the large number of dogs, sometimes up to 300, this made it unsafe for the cats. Volunteers of RAWS undertake the neuter and release scheme for both stray cats and dogs. Due to this scheme, there is now a colony of neutered cats at Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes Town. Another colony of neutered cats were released at Kalithea. These cats get food and water on a daily basis and if unwell/ injured then treatment.
However due to roaming dogs, often killing these cats and kittens a cat house was erected funded by DAPS – a German charity. The cat house provided a sanctuary for these animals but still we were losing cats by dogs. A fence was then constructed around the perimeter of the cat house with access for the cats via tree branches, but dogs cannot get in. There are approximately 60 cats and kittens in this colony – but this number is continually rising. Although approximately 70% of the cats here are neutered the 10% there currently are not, either too young or new arrivals that have adopted the colony and have not been caught yet or due to lack of funding!
Cats are often given less priority in welfare work, as they are seen as more independent than dogs and are able to catch their own food. Although this may be partly true they are very vulnerable as will be left untreated when sick / injured. Most kittens are born when resorts are open and are uncustomised to finding live food when these resorts close resulting in starvation. 1 female cat and her offspring can produce approximately 10,000 kittens within 6 years; overpopulation of strays often results in inhumane culling such as mass poisoning. Another reason why neutering is so important. The stray population decreases very quickly, up to 70% within 4 years when neutering schemes are in place.
Due to ever increasing cat numbers, the cost of keeping them fed, watered and healthy increases also, a strain on an already strained charity. One particular vet in Rhodes is very good – often only charging small amounts to treat injured/ sick animals.
However, although these cats and kittens have a ‘safe house’, it is still not ideal. Kalithea spa, where the cats are located, is on a busy road and roaming dogs means that these will always be same tragedies. The whole point of this web site is to step up adoption numbers so we can find well deserved homes for these friendly loving cats.