The Trouble With Cats

Published in About Animals

The sufferings of Hvar's cats blight an otherwise happy visit to Hvar.

Stella's postcard from Canada Stella's postcard from Canada Lidija Biro

Lidija Biro has been on Hvar for three months studying wine-making. Her visit has been highly successful from many points of view, but she is concerned about the sad fate of so many poor cats on the island. As she explains:

"Hvar is an incredibly beautiful island to visit. Its charms are many, the sea, the steep mountainsides abundantly fragrant with lavender, rosemary, fennel, and mint.

Terraced vineyards and olive groves hint at delicious wines and oils to enhance any meal. Lovely hilltop villages with friendly people and sophisticated sea-side towns offer everything a tourist could want and need.

But there is an ugly side to life on Hvar. Cats!

There is an abundance of unwanted, homeless, hungry and sick or injured cats that roam the towns and villages meowing for a morsel or a gentle pat.

The locals say, “It’s the tourists! They feed them all summer and then go away. But the cats remain.”

No, dear people of Hvar, it’s not the tourists who are to blame, it’s you. Simply, have your cats neutered. There are too many for you and the tourists to look after.

The price for the procedure is less than the cost of the abuse suffered by kittens and abandoned cats on a daily basis ... slow death by starvation, poisoning or a quicker death under the wheels of a car.

During my stay on the island, I have seen dead kittens in the tunnel to Zavala, young cats dropped off in upper Pitve, hungry, dirty cats in every alleyway of your beautiful towns. My heart broke the other day when on a walk along the sea, an orange and white kitten meowed at me for some comfort as he hobbled closer with a displaced or broken hip.

As my three months on Hvar come to and end, I have done my part by helping to feed the cats of upper Pitve and contributing to the establishment of an animal shelter. I am also taking one of the stray kittens back to Canada with me.

So what about you? Will you do your part ... and neuter your cat?

The tourists will thank you!"

© Lidija Biro, November 2014

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

 

POST-SCRIPT : AFTER HVAR

Lidija Biro contacted Eco Hvar in late September by e-mail, when Stella the kitten first arrived in her life: "I am renting a house in a village on Hvar, and a stray kitten turned up hiding in the entry to the house. The kitten does not belong to anyone of the neighbours (I asked). I am from Canada and will be leaving in November so I would like to find a home for her/him(?) soon before we get too attached. Can you help? I am taking the kitten to the vet in Stari Grad for deworming. Thank you." 

This was one of several such queries received by Eco Hvar during the year. Usually, our advice is to feed the cat outdoors, and let it find its way in its own environment. However, Stella had already been taken in, washed, de-wormed, given a collar, fed all sorts of special foods, and had definitely become a house cat. Despite having a strong character, she was small and unlikely to survive on her own in a sometimes hostile environment. So our advice was that, unless a similar level of home comfort could be found for Stella, Lidija and her family should take her with them when they left, if they possibly could.

And so it was that Stella embarked on a Great Journey, taking in Međugorje, Mostar, Sarajevo, Kutjevo and Zagreb among other beautiful places. She proved to be a good and resilient traveller. From Zagreb, Lidija reported: "Stella Bella has been a good traveler so far although she gets up way too early (around 5 a.m.) and meows for her breakfast." As no suitable home had been found for Stella on her travels so far, she went on the next stage of her odyssey, which proved to be much more of a trial for her, despite her special cat-box supplied with food and water: "Stella Bella survived the plane trip … just barely. She was cold, wet, and frightened by the time we arrived in Toronto … but she is a little survivor and recuperated very quickly."

Once in her new home, all was well: "Stella is happy, safe and enjoying the run of a large house (Mom’s) here in Mississauga. She has been watching with fascination the snow falling and the squirrels hopping about the back garden. Right now, we have decided that she is to be an indoor cat. But come the mild weather in Spring and Summer, we may let her out. I am sure she is missing her outdoor romps and her cat friends on Hvar."

 

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