Sunday 17 January 2021

Cat owners in Cyprus are abandoning their cats because of the Covid-19 pandemic

This is what I would describe as a behind-the-scenes story. It doesn't hit the headlines because it concerns Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, a small island and not for example America which leads the way on domestic cat news. 

But it is a very telling and a sad story. It's reported that there has been a 30% increase in the abandonment of domestic cats on the island. They are sometimes left behind as people leave the island. I'm referring to expatriates possibly possibly British people who feel they haven't got the money to afford to take their cat back home with them.

Spotted street cats of Cyprus. Read about them by clicking here.

These people may have dual residency. I know that a lot of British people have second homes in Cyprus or they moved to Cyprus in retirement. But they've been squeezed economically by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dawn Foote who runs a rescue centre where there are 800 rescue cats, all of which are neutered, said that, "People, at the moment, have just got no money, and it's expensive to get a cat to another country. You've got passports to pay for, you've got transport carriers to pay. It's heartbreaking."

If it's not people going home is local residents who feel that they can no longer afford to look after a domestic cat. Once again is about money. The poignancy of this problem is that, currently, Cyprus is famous in the cat world for being the place where archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the first domestic cat in a grave with their owner. The grave is dated to about 9,500 years ago. So the island had a significance in the cat world. The cat would have been a domesticated Far Eastern wildcat. They look like rangy tabby cats.

There appears to be criticism of people who feed stray cats on the island without ensuring that they are spayed or neutered. I don't know how prevalent this is but simply feeding a stray cat is not enough sadly. You have to ensure that they are spayed and neuter otherwise you simply promote and increase in the number of unwanted cats that should be living in homes. There should be government-sponsored TNR programs which includes spaying and neutering at least as part of the process.

There is criticism of the government strategy with claims that it is not working that well.

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