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."

 

You are here: Home about animals The Trouble With Cats

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Hostile dispute over trophy hunting fuelled by ‘myths driven by emotion and morality that ignore critical facts’

    Leading scientists have warned that global conservation is being undermined by celebrity power after they suffered death threats and abuse in a hostile dispute over trophy hunting.

    Groups such as the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and Born Free are pressuring the UK and US governments to ban trophy hunting, with support from many famous names, much of the public and more than 150 MPs across the political spectrum.

    Continue reading...

  • Call for world leaders to act in wake of French extradition case that turned on environmental concerns

    Air pollution does not respect national boundaries and environmental degradation will lead to mass migration in the future, said a leading barrister in the wake of a landmark migration ruling, as experts warned that government action must be taken as a matter of urgency.

    Sailesh Mehta, a barrister specialising in environmental cases, said: “The link between migration and environmental degradation is clear. As global warming makes parts of our planet uninhabitable, mass migration will become the norm. Air and water pollution do not respect national boundaries. We can stop a humanitarian and political crisis from becoming an existential one. But our leaders must act now.”

    Continue reading...

  • Efforts to map the Earth’s trees are growing – and could change our understanding of the planet’s health

    When a team of international scientists set out to count every tree in a large swathe of west Africa using AI, satellite images and one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, their expectations were modest. Previously, the area had registered as having little or no tree cover.

    The biggest surprise, says Martin Brandt, assistant professor of geography at the University of Copenhagen, is that the part of the Sahara that the study covered, roughly 10%, “where no one would expect to find many trees”, actually had “quite a few hundred million”.

    Continue reading...

  • The roles of agriculture and home heating in causing particle pollution are often neglected

    When I talk to people about air pollution sources they normally blame the nearest busy road.

    In new research, 16,000 people were asked where they thought air pollution came from, revealing some important misunderstandings. Respondents from seven European countries were asked to pick the two main sources of air pollution. Top choices everywhere were industry and traffic. However, the reality is very different.

    Continue reading...

  • Stamford, Lincolnshire: The trademark fingerprint of the wood-boring beetles is often hidden from sight

    “Contracted” is the word that springs to mind as I look closely at the log I’ve pulled from the pile in my garden. It’s cold with frost-shimmer, and as I study its micro-landscape of moss-forest and bark-gully, I find where the rind has flaked away … something on the bare wood beneath.

    I pick at the bark, like a scab. Beneath is a strange tattoo. At macro scale it resembles a labyrinth; all corners and spurs, tight-wound and interlocking, tortuous and confined. Zoom out and in form it’s like a weird fossil, outstretched wings or limbs or leaves, radiating out from a central spine or arm or trunk.

    Continue reading...

  • There are only two remaining rhinos of this species, a mother and daughter, but scientists see new hope in stem cell breakthroughs

    “I watch these beautiful animals walk the path toward extinction every day,” keeper James Mwenda tells me. He’s out in the Kenyan bush, swatting flies. The anti-poaching K-9 dogs bark in the background. “I’ve watched their numbers fall from seven to two... Working with them and watching what’s happening – it’s an emotional freefall.” He smiles, clearly resigned to the pain of bearing witness. “But I’ve dedicated my life to it.”

    The window to keep the northern white rhino from going functionally extinct to fully extinct is closing fast. Were things left only to nature, the two remaining rhinos – elderly, calm Najin and her feisty 20-year-old daughter Fatu – would be the last of their kind to graze the African grasslands. After civil war, habitat loss, and aggressive poaching, scientists declared the species extinct in the wild in 2008.

    Continue reading...

  • Report says not enough funding is being made available to deal with effects of extreme weather

    Millions of people around the world are facing disaster from flood, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather, as governments fail to take the measures needed to adapt to the impacts of climate breakdown, the UN has warned.

    Nearly three-quarters of countries around the world have recognised the need to plan for the effects of global heating, but few of those plans are adequate to the rising threat, and little funding has been made available to put them into force, according to the UN environment programme’s Adaptation report 2020, published on Thursday.

    Continue reading...

  • Historic court case accuses country of being responsible for ecological damage and its impacts

    A Paris court has been asked to convict the French state for its alleged failure to act to halt the climate crisis.

    The legal case, which is being brought by four environmental groups after a petition was signed by more than 2 million citizens, seeks to hold the country responsible for ecological damage and its detrimental health and social effects.

    Continue reading...

  • Wood pellets are sold as a clean alternative to coal. But is the subsidised bioenergy boom accelerating the climate crisis?

    Kalev Järvik stands on a bald patch of land in the heart of Estonia’s Haanja nature reserve and remembers when he could walk straight from one side of the reserve to the other under a canopy of trees.

    Järvik has lived in the Haanja uplands in the southern county of Võru for more than 10 years. His closeness to the forest has shaped his life as a carpenter and the fortunes of the surrounding villages, with their handicraft traditions – a substitute for farming on the poor arable land. Upcountry, travel literature promotes the region to city dwellers, promising its ancient woodlands as a place to rest and reinvigorate the mind.

    Continue reading...

  • Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: This was the perfect day to return him to the place that gave hope, strength and inspiration

    “Whoop!” The brassy fart of a horn announces hunting somewhere behind the wood. Thread through the blackthorn into a hollow between scrubby spoil heaps, to gain the confidentiality of snow. At the gate, look west to the white wall of the Berwyn mountains; the sky streaks blue and salmon. The hunters vanish, but a chainsaw labours in the threat they leave behind; its voice fills the air with angry frustration, then shatters into calls of rooks across snowy fields.

    A bolt of light from low in the south-west fires across the land, illuminating half the Wrekin to the north. This hill, hog’s back still hidden in cloud, sends a lightless flicker between the present and the most ancient of days. Some kind of realignment of time and place happens there in the mist – a shift that can be felt for miles around, as if it has something to do with the great communications mast nailed into the oldest rock in the world.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

Feed not found.