For twelve thousand years humans have invited cats to share their lives as pest controllers, companions and pets, and in some cultures they were even revered as gods.
Their babyish features, large eyes and soft fur plays to our paternal instincts. The large number of cats that live as pets in households around the world is testament to how good they are at making us love them and take care of them.
But not all cats are loved. In Spain, as in many other countries, there are many cats that don’t have owners and live on the streets. Street cats are sometimes pet cats that have been abandoned or lost, or kittens born to cats that were already living on the street.
Street cats are often despised and seen as a nuisance. Many of them fall victim to disease, hunger, traffic, dogs, wild animals or even people who poison them. Their only crime is that they exist and are trying to survive.
If there is blame anywhere it is with the humans who allow these cats to end up in this situation. No pet cat should be abandoned in the street, and the many street cats that are allowed to breed uncontrollably are only doing as nature intended. Asking them to exercise self control is obviously not going to work, but a planned and continuous programme of trapping, sterilising and returning these cats back to their colonies can be effective in controlling their numbers and creating a healthier street cat population.
This doesn’t solve the problem of how some people will continue to perceive street cats as a nuisance, and that may be harder to change. Street cats can have a place in our towns and lives if they are given the appropriate space and care and their breeding is controlled. They can also have a positive effect on the environment by keeping rodents and pests under control.
In Pego there are many street cats. The kind people who feed these cats are not always able to control their numbers by themselves either due to lack of time or resources. To help them, APROP is currently planning a trap, sterilise and release programme for the street cats of Pego. If you would like to know more about this or would like to help us in any way by either becoming part of our volunteer team trapping cats or taking cats to or from the Pego vets, please contact me, Christine Thorpe Tel/Whatsapp 602242031.
If you would like to donate to help us buy trapping equipment you can contribute via the APROP website. Please add the reference “Gatos Callejeros” or “Street cats” to your payment if possible.