If you have been following this blog for a while you would know how much I love cats (and animals in general). I am very sensitive to matters concerning their well being and I have a deep admiration for people who have made it their goal to help stray animals.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Cordelia Madden-Kanelopoulou, who together with 5 other people, runs an NGO for stray cats, called Nine Lives. I was very intrigued to find out more about their work, so me and my brother (who is also a cat lover), decided to go on a feeding trip with them and see them in action.
So, Friday evening, we met with Cordelia and Eleni Kefalopoulou, President of the NGO, and went along with them to feed “their” cats. I learned that the cats are fed every day, in five different areas of Athens (around 250 cats). I find this amazing. There are people, volunteers, that have undertaken that task and they do it, responsibly and eagerly every single day!
But there’s more to that. Nine Lives also neuter the cats and take them to the vet when they’re sick. As you can understand, the good will of the members of Nine Lives and of the volunteers, although important and admirable, is not enough. It also costs money to feed the cats and to take them to the vet. So each month they struggle to gather the necessary amount via sponsorships.
The feeding trip was quite an experience. Eleni and Cordelia knew all the cats by name and as soon as they heard their voices they gathered around purring and miawing, longing for the meal of the day.
All the cats are very well fed (which is quite obvious by their chubby physique) and most of them are neutered and healthy. It’s not an easy task to keep them healthy and to neuter them, since most of them are not easy to capture. And lets not forget that these cats live outside, in the harsh and dangerous environment of the city, dealing with angry dogs, cars, and cold or hot temperatures every day. Eleni told me that the stray cats don’t usually live for more than 18 months. A very sad fact, considering that a house cat can live up to 20 years!
They are mostly killed by dogs, not only by the stray ones, but also by the ones that are taken for a walk by their owners. I witnessed a similar situation on Friday, when a lady had unleashed her dog and he was chasing a poor kitty. She stood there, just calling his name, while the cat was struggling for her life. I chased the dog away and yelled at the irresponsible owner, but I don’t suppose she “heard” me. That cat got lucky that night. Who knows what would happen if I wasn’t there.
So, if you own a dog, please be careful when you go to a park or any other open space and unleash him. The poor cats don’t stand a chance if the dog grabs them. Lets at least protect them from that!
They say that the cats have nine lives, which is a clever name for the NGO, but is actually anything but true. The cats are vulnerable as any other being and deserve our love and care. After all, it’s us that put them on the streets in the first place.
Nine Lives do the best they can at helping stray cats, but they could definitely use more help. You could help by volunteering, by donating food or money, by driving the cats to the vet and most of all by caring!
You can also adopt a cat. The ones that are very friendly with people or too scared to live on the street, are temporarily accommodated by the members of the NGO but they can’t keep them forever (since all of them already have other cats). Nine lives don’t have a foster home, they just try to find them a home, so if you want to adopt a cat, make sure it’s a stray one. Those are the ones that desperately need a home and they have so much love to give! As a matter of fact I’m thinking of adopting one. I will let you all know as soon as I find him or her. Until then, enjoy the photos from the feeding trip. Aren’t they all beautiful?!
|"Come on guys, make some room for me. You are squeezing my ears!!!"|
|"Guys, I see the girls are here. It's dinner time!!!"|
|"OK, I have to get down somehow, the food looks yummy!"|
|Isn't he gorgeous?!|