CATS: HOW TO HELP WHEN NEEDED

Published in For the Common Good

If you want to help cats in need on Hvar, here's how!

Zlatan, Jelsa's 'Pjaca cat', beloved of many during his short life. Zlatan, Jelsa's 'Pjaca cat', beloved of many during his short life. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Large numbers of unwanted cats are a problem everywhere. On Hvar, as in other tourist destinations, the problem is always highlighted during and after the tourist season. Animal-loving guests all too often find abandoned kittens and stray cats, and have little way of finding out how to help them. There is no animal shelter on Hvar, but our organization and many individuals do as much as we can.

Cat-lovers on Hvar have lots of hungry mouths to feed! Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Cat rescue facilities on the mainland are also very few. The regional Animal Shelter in Kaštela has limited capacity, but does what it can to help volunteers to care for cats and kittens in need, and to find homes for abandoned animals.

Mar, a stray who found a good home in Stari Grad - and a skateboard to ride around on!

What you can do

1. Make sure that the wandering adult cat who comes calling really is a stray: check with local people to find out if it has an owner.

2. Put down a bowl of water in a shady spot outside, fresh every day. (Milk - preferably organic - should always be diluted with water, and given sparingly, if at all)

3. If you choose to feed it, please give the best quality moist cat food (preferably not dry) that you can afford.

4. If you find abandoned kittens and want to feed them, you need special cat food for juniors (this is usually available in the supermarkets).

5. If the kittens are tiny or newly born, they need bottle-feeding with special formula milk (this is not generally available on the island, the vet may have it or may be able to order it in for you).

6. Do not take stray animals into your rental apartment or hotel room, unless you are sure this is not against house rules. Find a place outside where you can feed the stray(s) without causing upset.

7. If possible, it is helpful for the kitten or cat to use a litter tray.

8. If the cat is a genuine stray, take it with you after your holiday if you are sure you can offer it a good home.

9. If you want to help the island cats in general, you can arrange for 'your' stray cat to be sterilized, or give a donation to help fund local sterilization programmes.

10. If you find local people who are willing to look after the stray(s), it is very helpful if you can give them a stock of cat food for after your departure.

Homeless kitten lives outdoors, learns to use a litter tray. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

CONTACT US IF YOU NEED HELP OR ADVICE

IF YOU CONTACT US, PLEASE GIVE US

1. details of the exact location where the needy kittens or cats are

2. pictures of the kittens or cats

3. a description of their condition

Zlata (left) has lived free in Jelsa for some years, but is well fed and looked after. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

BEFORE CONTACTING US, BE AWARE

The waif and the chancer

Adult cats often seek alternative sources of food, even when they have a perfectly good home and loving owner. Cats remain independent, however affectionate they may seem to their human carers. They hedge their bets. So don't assume that a cat is in need of a new home just because it appears and meows pitifully at your door or rubs round your legs in a plaintive manner. If it is not skin and bones and has a good coat, it is probably not a stray. You can choose to feed it or not as you wish. If you do not, it will go and try its luck elsewhere. If you do feed it and make friends, do not automatically think you can or should take it home with you after your holiday - you might just break the real owner's heart!

Appropriate food

Please do not feed cats leftover human food or cheap processed meats. Poor diet combined with inadequate living conditions have led to scores of cats and kittens being born in an unhealthy state, in many cases causing severe eye problems leading to blindness. Kittens are a special problem. It is common practice for litters to be taken from their mothers and dumped far away so that the mothers cannot find and reclaim them. This gives the kittens a slim chance of survival. For people who want to save them, it is a time-consuming task, further complicated if they are not healthy.

Kittens who are born ill have little chance of survival

Cat friends and enemies

Many local people do not like cats, especially if there are large numbers of them. Particular problems are the mess cats can make in gardens and vegetable plots, the noise when males are fighting, especially during courting, and the nuisance in restaurants if they importune guests for food from the table. So not everyone is attuned to the idea of helping cats to survive and thrive. Check with the owner of your apartment, neighbours nearby or personnel in your hotel to find out what you can about cats or kittens which are apparently stray or abandoned.

In general, homeless cats should stay outside. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

After your departure

If you are not planning to take 'your' stray home with you, do not take it indoors, even if animals are allowed in your accommodation. You don't want to encourage them to enter other people's houses, where they might not be welcome. Hvar cats mostly live outdoors, whether or not they have a good owner and their own home. Some house cats spend time indoors, mainly during the day, and then go out to hunt at night. The Hvar climate is mild, even in winter, and there are plenty of places for animals to shelter during rain or (rarely) snow. They make use of natural caves, undergrowth, and derelict buildings, where they can also find food sources of mice, lizards and other delicacies. In towns, especially Hvar, cats gather where they think there is food, beside rubbish bins and outside supermarkets. As the big rubbish bins are being phased out in line with EU directives, that source of scraps is becoming a thing of the past. However, a lot of cats which have no particular owner are fed by local animal-lovers throughout the year. After the tourist season, there is always a problem of numbers. Cats which have been fed by visitors may suddenly have no source of ready food. This is especially acute in the small tourist resorts in small villages, where only a handful of people live in winter, and tiny bays, where there may be no-one. That is why it is such a help if you can give local animal-lovers a supply of cat food, however small.

Well-fed happy cats are a joy!

Adopting a stray

Think carefully before deciding to take a stray cat with you off the island. You must be sure that it is in the cat's best interests, and that you can offer it the home it needs. For instance, an adult cat which has survived living independently outdoors on Hvar will probably not thrive living indoors in an urban apartment in a country with a completely different climate. Take account of the lifestyle differences in a city, also the trauma of travelling if it involves a plane journey. Adoptions can work well, but you have to weigh up all the pros and cons carefully. A good example is Stella, a beautiful kitten abandoned in Pitve who found a happy life in Canada. It is unlikely that she would have survived long in Pitve, especially after the kind people who found her introduced her to the comforts of being a house cat!

Šumi, dumped then homed in Vitarnja, enjoys home comforts. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

No worries

Cats have been venerated in many past civilizations, most notably in ancient Egypt. Apart from the magical qualities attributed to them, they give practical help to humans in keeping rodents and snakes under control. Although they might make friends with humans, they are very independent creatures. Sometimes their apparent cuddliness is a type of dominance, an assertion of ownership of this favoured human, rather than affection as we humans understand it. So it is important not to get too emotionally involved with the plight of any waifs you might come across: you (and we) can only do so much to help, the rest is up to fate. Don't get upset or angry, it doesn't help. If you have done your best, you have to be satisfied with that, whatever the result. We must accept that we can't save all the cats in need. Cats are in their way excellent teachers of Karma!

Rescue cats give a lot of love, also to each other. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

VETERINARY SERVICES ON HVAR

Hvar Town: Dr. Mirej Butorović-Dujmović, 15a Šime Buzolić Tome, 21450 Hvar.

Telephone: 00 385 (0)21 88 00 22; Mobile 00 385 (0)91 533 0530

Working hours (2019): 08:00 - 14:00 Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 14:00 - 20:00 Tuesdays, Thursdays; 08:00 -12:00 Saturdays. Sundays & Public Holidays closed.

Besides diagnostics and treatments, the surgery offers expert grooming, including haircuts.

Directions: driving towards Hvar Town from Stari Grad, the main road comes to a small junction, where the main road curves right for the town itself, the left fork leads to Križna Luka, and the road straight head leads towards the graveyard. Take the road straight ahead until you see a sign for the surgery: turn left up this road, the surgery is on the left with parking in front of the building or in a designated area to the right of the building.

Stari Grad: Dr Prosper Vlahović, Put Rudine 3, 21460 Stari Grad

Telephone: 00 385 (0)21 244 337

Opening hours (2019): 08:00 - 14:00 weekdays, 08 - 12:00 Saturdays; Sundays & Public Holidays closed.

There is a pet shop on the premises.

Directions: at the entrance to Stari Grad itself from the Jelsa side, there is a park with a stream between the park and the road; go to the other side of the park, turn off on to the Rudine road, which is the only main turning on the far side of the park, situated about halfway along. The surgery is on the left up that road, with parking in front of the building.

CAT STERILIZATION PROGRAMME, STARI GRAD

The Stari Grad Cat and Kitten Fund (Facebook page) was founded by Amanda Blanch and Chris Edwardes to help needy cats in their area, specifically by organizing a sterilization programme, with the cooperation of Mayor Antonio Škarpa and local vet Dr. Prosper Vlahović. The programme has made a visible difference in helping to limit the number of street cats in Stari Grad. Amanda and Chris are owners of the highly prized Hidden House Hotel and can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The project depends on donations and all monies raised go directly towards the costs of sterilizing the cats. All gifts are welcome, no matter how small.

All donations should have the reference 'Cat Fund', together with the donor's name.

Donations can be made to: 

Amanda Blanch Cat Fund

KUNA ACCOUNT: IBAN HR3024070003105248485
Bic/Swift code OTPVHR2XXXX
Address: Duolnjo Kola 13, Stari Grad 21460, Croatia
EURO ACCOUNT: IBAN DE55 7001 1110 6052 1631 43
TW Account holder: Amanda Blanch
Bank code (SWIFT/BIC) DEKTDE7GXXX
Bank address: Handelsbank
Elsenheimer Str. 41
München
80687
Germany
UK POUNDS ACCOUNT: IBAN  GB49 TRWI 2314 7034 0812 39
Account holder: Amanda Blanch
Account number: 34081239; UK sort code: 23-14-70
bank address: TransferWise
56 Shoreditch High Street
London E1 6JJ
United Kingdom

TAKING CATS ABROAD FROM CROATIA

As Croatia is in the EU, it follows European law on the export of animals within the EU. Check with a vet for details about requirements for a particular animal going to a specific country, and make sure you allow enough time for the necessary inoculations and anti-parasitic treatment.

© Vivian Grisogono 2019.

You are here: Home For the common good CATS: HOW TO HELP WHEN NEEDED

Eco Environment News feeds

  • People and Planet’s annual sustainability league table finds patchy progress across sector

    More than half of universities are not on track to meet their emissions targets, according to an analysis.

    The student network People and Planet haspublished its annual sustainability university league, which found that 46% of higher education institutions were on course to meet the target, up from a third in 2019.

    Continue reading...

  • In the face of the impending climate catastrophe, there has been a growing clamour to repopulate the trillions of trees our planet has lost over the centuries. But large-scale tree planting is not helping, and in some cases it's creating more problems for the environment. Josh Toussaint-Strauss discusses how we've been getting tree planting wrong, and what we should be doing instead to safeguard precious ecosystems and reduce greenhouse gases

    Continue reading...

  • Climate change is happening, and businesses know it. So why don’t company reports show it?

    Last week, Shell walked away from 170 million barrels of oil off the coast of Shetland, declaring the “economic case for investment” too weak. As might be expected with such a politically sensitive venture, there has been much speculation about what other factors might have been at play, whether pressure from Nicola Sturgeon or from Whitehall. But let’s try another question: how did Shell ever decide that there was an economic case? After all, the energy giant does not deny that its entire business will have to change. It advertises its “target to become a net zero emissions” company by 2050, publishes a “sustainability report” and partners with environmental organisations around the world. Yet little of this environmental awareness shows up in the hard numbers.

    The company’s latest accounts features this disclaimer: “Shell’s operating plans, outlooks, budgets and pricing assumptions do not reflect our net zero emissions target.” In other words: whatever the oil giant says is not what it thinks.

    Continue reading...

  • As the sea claims more of the west African shoreline, those left homeless by floods are losing hope that the government will act

    Waves have taken the landscape John Afedzie knew so well. “The waters came closer in the last few months, but now they have destroyed parts of schools and homes. The waves have taken the whole of the village. One needs to use a boat to commute now because of the rising sea levels,” he says.

    Afedzie lives in Keta, one of Ghana’s coastal towns, where a month ago high tide brought seawater flooding into 1,027 houses, according to the government, leaving him among about 3,000 people made homeless overnight.

    Continue reading...

  • Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: This fallen giant, a victim of storm winds, is a gift to the soil and the curious walker

    The storm blew the old elm trunk down, a 15ft-high totem with the crumbling faces of the long dead looking westwards from the wood. The tree may have been more than 200 years old when it fell victim to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s, but it still sent out a hedgeful of suckers for the future, and its disintegrating trunk stayed upright until now.

    Once a prominent tree, marking some forgotten boundary, it becomes another anonymous windthrow sinking into the earth. The duff that rotted from its heartwood is rich and peaty. To see if there is anything in it, I dig about with a stick into what would have been the core of the tree and a place that had not seen the light of day for centuries. There is a bone. A rib, from a lamb or fawn, perhaps. I pick it up. It feels well-preserved, and there is something uncanny about the way it appears.

    Continue reading...

  • Outages hit Ireland and parts of UK after severe winds, rain and snow sweep in from Atlantic

    Almost 30,000 homes in Ireland and 500 properties in Scotland have been left without power after Storm Barra swept in from the Atlantic bringing severe winds, rain and snow.

    The latest outages came days after the final homes in Britain were reconnected after Storm Arwen, which caused “catastrophic damage” to electricity networks mainly in north-east Scotland, affecting 135,000 properties.

    Continue reading...

  • Scientists working on the Search For The Lost Fishes project have spotted the freshwater Batman River loach, which has not been seen since 1974

    A freshwater fish that scientists thought was extinct has been found in south-east Turkey, after an absence of nearly 50 years.

    “I’ve been researching this area for 12 years and this fish was always on my wishlist,” said Dr Cüneyt Kaya, associate professor at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University. “It’s taken a long time. When I saw the distinctive bands on the fish, I felt so happy. It was a perfect moment.”

    Continue reading...

  • Harm included cell death and occurred at levels of plastic eaten by people via their food

    Microplastics cause damage to human cells in the laboratory at the levels known to be eaten by people via their food, a study has found.

    The harm included cell death and allergic reactions and the research is the first to show this happens at levels relevant to human exposure. However, the health impact to the human body is uncertain because it is not known how long microplastics remain in the body before being excreted.

    Continue reading...

  • Farmers and rural business owners call for stricter rules and enforcement

    Fly-tipping incidents in England increased last year, with household waste accounting for by far the biggest proportion of the problem, which has been worsened by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

    From March 2020 to March 2021 in England, 1.13m fly-tipping incidents were dealt with by local authorities, an increase of 16% on the 980,000 reported in the previous year, according to data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday. Higher numbers of incidents were reached in 2007-09, but the way the data is collated has changed, so direct comparisons with years before 2018 are not possible.

    Continue reading...

  • He became a household name in the 90s, then disappeared from view. But he never stopped protesting. Now the man known as the human mole is busier than ever

    Dan works in forestry. Clare is a school counsellor. Recently, they took their youngest son to a superhero film. Their middle son loves football. They miss their eldest, Rory, who left home a few months ago.

    The Hoopers are much like any other family with three children, or they would be if Dan did not have an unusual superpower. He is the best DIY digger of tunnels in the country. And for a quarter of a century he has burrowed passageways into the paths of new roads, runways and railways that destroy the countryside and add to spiralling carbon emissions and global heating. In this strange underland, Dan has another name: Swampy.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds