Mori – the start of it all!
I’ve been mulling over exactly how I have got SO involved with helping the strays cats recently, to the extent that I am regularly helping to clean 30+ litter trays at the cat home, finding foster homes for sick kittens, emailing cat rescue in Germany, fund-raising, sorting medication and vet visits, feeding some strays and even thinking of adopting a third one! SO where did it start and why am I doing all this?
I know where it all started with Mori, our beautiful first cat that we took in at 7 months nearly 2 years ago. He appeared, very thin and hungry at the bottom of our street and after a few days of leaving out small amounts of food and milk, I decided that he was far too beautiful to stay out there any longer. My sister had been telling me for ages that I should have a pet, and we had been travelling far too much, so maybe Mori was a sign to stay at home and look after something other than ourselves! I grew up with labradors and have always liked animals, but didn’t realise exactly how much i would grow to love cats and care for them in general.
The summer after we had Mori, I volunteered to feed some of the Almerimar stray cats for my friend Pam who had hurt her knee. On the second day this little black female cat appeared who was virtually the image of Mori with the same big green eyes, and that was it. It took me several months and one litter of kittens before I persuaded Chris to have another cat (as like Mori at this stage, Chris is an only child!), but in January Saidi came home, and after that I was pretty hooked.
I have carried on helping to feed Saidi’s wild kittens who are now nearly a year old, and in the course of trying to find a way to re-home them we came across an amazing German lady, Gisela who runs the Casa De los Gatos rescue home locally. The aim of the Casa is to take in stray cats and kittens and ultimately re-home them where possible in Germany. This seemed a great way to try and alleviate the stray problem in Almerimar (although each cat costs around 150€ for all the necessary vet treatments), and it was positive that we had the start of a plan.
We organised a fund raiser, The Almerimar Treasure Hunt and although that money went pretty quickly, we have continued to raise small amounts and receive donations specifically for the cats. Casa De Los Gatos didn’t work for Saidi’d kittens as they were too wild, but Gisela’s support helped us to castrate 2 males, and Saidi’s grandkids we caught early enough to take up there. So started my involvement with Casa De Los Gatos.
Apart from the kittens, we currently have at least 6 Almerimar cats off the street in the Casa and having met some of the girls from the German organisation there over the summer, I am now in regular contact with Germany. In addition, Gisela has supported us recently in getting the necessary vet treatments for a beautiful stray Persian, “Carly”, who Richard and Claire agreed to foster and have now decided to keep, AND little Pepe is my big success story to date: I found him hungry, with half his tail missing, and in big trouble out in Calle Alcor, and was able to take him straight to Gisela for help and home. He was adorable and has gone right through the system, via a foster home in Germany to a new family with a garden and other cats for company.
So is the Casa De Los Gatos the whole answer? It never was going to be and at the moment I and other cat lovers in Almerimar, are helping to keep the Casa going while Gisela is in hospital. I wanted to be focussed on Almerimar cats in the beginning but now I am finding out how much I care generally and that it actually feels great to be giving something back and effectively doing some voluntary work. We all give to charity from time to time, but to me it is much more rewarding when it is local and personal, and giving time (which I am lucky to have right now) is as important.
The Casa is very important to me and remains a big part of my plans to help the Almerimar stray cats in the future, and right now and for the foreseeable future Gisela needs our help. She has been very ill and has 50+ cats. Some of them I feel a big responsibility to as I took them there in the first place, and the others through numerous visits, I have grown to care about too.
I plan to keep supporting her, including helping to coordinate the re-homing of cats to get the numbers down to a more manageable level. This in the long-term is also going to help our Almerimar cats, as the contacts I am making are a big part of my future plans.
Right now all help is appreciated. We need more volunteers to go up to the Casa and help with litter, trays, feed the cats and generally spend time with them. We also have currently 7 kittens that we have taken out of the Casa into temporary homes here in Almerimar, and I am keen to keep them here as long as possible, if anyone feels they can take over for a short period.
I have surprised myself at how committed I am to this and just how much I care, and I have found it interesting in this current crisis at Casa De los Gatos who has pitched in and done what they can and who (whilst saying they love animals and want to help) hasn’t helped at all!
SO a big thank you from the Casa and me to Pam, Jenny, Jean and George who continue to do masses for the stray cats here, and to Mary, Maria, Tracy, Brita and Olivia for their help with litter trays and translations from Spanish and German!
ALSO a huge thank you to Jenny and now Tracy for taking care of the baby kittens (pictured below), who have needed special regular food and medications, and more recently to Dawn who has taken in 2 more little kittens from the Casa with fungus, and in desperate need of some love and attention, and to Jean and George who have been nursing another little kitten with an infected wound back to health, AND not forgetting Begona our vet for a caring attention to a stream of rather sick kittens.
As for us, as you may have already read, we have our own patient Lucy. She came from Almerimar originally and a week ago when I found her in the Casa she was desperately weak and we didn’t know if she was going to pull through. Now she is doing really well and may be about to become our 3rd cat. Watch this space!
My hopes for all the little kittens currently being looked after by us is that they won’t actually have to go back to Casa De Los Gatos. There will be transport for more cats to Germany in mid November and if we can get them ready to go and hold onto them until then, I would like them to go straight on their way. Casa De Los Gatos is a caring environment and when Gisela is well runs efficiently, but the little ones are vulnerable to infection from the large number of cats, and none of them really get the personal attention they need.
SO foster homes ARE urgently needed maybe even just for a couple of weeks, and also sponsors. Each kitten needs at least 100€ to get it on its way: vaccinations, chips, passports and blood tests are all needed, and for the older ones castration as well. Gisela has a vet who works for the strays virtually at cost, but there is still a cost. I’m going to post pictures of the kittens in the next week, and if anyone can sponsor one even partly I would be really grateful, and updates on their progress and photos will continue.
SO FINALLY thank you again to everyone who continues to help, and if anyone out there would like to in any way please contact me via the site or ring me: 676 40 49 01