Almerimar strays has been helping cats and some dogs for over 2 years now, so I thought it was a good time to reflect on what we have achieved and focus on what is needed for us to continue into the future.
Lots of people have commented positively about the reduced population of cats in the marina, and I feel that getting the population of port cats under control has been one of our biggest achievements. 6 big cats from the rocks have been re-homed, 12 from around Calle Alcor, 2 from the Nautico cats and 7 from around the darsenas. In addition we have re-homed 21 kittens from the immediate port area, and all the females are now sterilised. This is a huge achievement, and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us in any way.
That however is by no means all. As news of our work spread slowly we have helped other Almerimar cats from outside the immediate port area, and cats from Adra, Beja and Roquetas, and now I am starting to work with PAWs in Mojacar to see if by at times working together we can achieve even more, and solve one another’s problems.
At my last count we have sent close to 100 cats to Germany for re-homing, a further 10 have been adopted here, including my 3 beautiful cats! and we have sterilised at least 15 others. AND even that is not all as we have also sent 10 dogs to Germany for re-homing, re-homed one here, and helped with 3 further sterilisation, and we are not even really focused on dogs.
For me this has all been a lot of work but hugely rewarding, and I would like to thank again all the cat ladies, (and a few men), the girls in Germany, the vets, Gisela’s cat rescue, Karin, Jos and Miguel at the dog protectora, and everyone who has helped me achieve this.
What started off as a sterilisation program has grown slowly into something much bigger and I think very worthwhile. Over the 2 years by developing relationships, I have managed to greatly reduce our vet bills, and secure regular money from Germany our biggest source of funds. Money will however remain one of our biggest challenges, which is also why I would also like to thank all the people who have fund-raised over the 2 years or donated money to our work.
I have been asked a number of times for an overview of how much our sterilisation and re-homing program costs, and the main things that the money gets spent on. As Almerimar Strays moves into its 3rd year it seemed a good time to do this properly so that everyone who was interested could understand the extent of our work, and how much continued support we still need.
Looking at the numbers, broadly speaking, each animal that we help costs us now in real terms an average of 50 euros. Each feral cat with some funding for worming, de-fleeing and ad hoc medicine needs close to 50 euros, each dog we take to the protectora goes with a contribution of 50€, and after the contributions from Katzenherzen for the re-homed cats, I still need 50€ net for each one. This is why our local fund-raising is so important.
The breakdown of Revenue and Costs since Almerimar Strays started is:
Almerimar Life Fundraisers – 2410 € (17.0%)
Cafe Bar Ankara Book Sales – 3200€ (22.5%)
Other Book, CD and DVD Sales – 410€ (3.0%)
Collection Boxes – 360€ (2.5%)
Donations – 1145€ (8.0%)
Katzenherzen Germany – 6480€ (45.5%)
Table Top Sales – 220€ (1.5%)
Total Revenue: 14225€
Boxes & Cages – 325€ (2.5%)
Fostering Costs – 1530€ (11.0%)
Medicines – 385€ (3.0%)
Transport – 400€ (3.0%)
Vet Bills – 10835€ (80.5%)
Total Costs: 13475€
Current Balance: 750€
By far the biggest contributor to the revenue at 45.5% is the money we get back from the Katzenherzen Germany, when they successfully rehouse a cat. This isn’t a fixed amount per cat and varies depending on any additional vet costs they incur and the amount they receive from the adoptants.
The regular Cafe Bar Ankara Book Sales have contributed 22.5% to the revenue and continue to be a significant, regular fund-raiser. Given the need to generate more funds, we are starting to look at the opportunities for additional book sales elsewhere, and table sales which we have done little of to date. Camping Los Gallardos is an initial prospective new location.
The Almerimar Life fundraisers have contributed a healthy 17% but they are time consuming to organise and they understandaby don’t generate as much during the recession, but we will try and establish two or three regular events each year. Having seen the PAWS fundraiser at Los Gallardos recently it would be good to get one large event established here in Almerimar each year and a couple of smaller ones: maybe an annual Poker Run, and an activity based one like a Sponsored Walk and a Spring Fete? All ideas are welcome.
The whole area of donations and sponsorships is another one that would benefit from more focus. As we get more and more specific requests to help with cats (particularly from outside Almerimar) if we can get a minimum donation each time that would go a long way to funding the process, ideally the 50€ net cost.
In terms of the costs, I continue to look at ways to reduce the medicine and vet bills. These at 80.5% are our biggest single cost and will go up the more animals we try to help. Our vet bills, working with Miguel at the protectora, I have virtually at cost, and I now buy all Frontline, worming tablets etc. cheaper online. There is not much more I can do to reduce this cost apart from to ensure that all our animals are healthy when they travel, as vet bills in Germany are much higher and affect our revenue from Katzenherzen.
Transport costs per cat may increase as we try and get more flight partners. Flying a cat to Germany with a passenger is much less stressful for the cat, but usually costs more, depending on the airline. One benefit of the relationship with the PAWS Cattery in Mojacar is that they have agreed to help shuttle cats to Murcia and Alicante airports for us which opens up a lot more options, especially as a large proportion of visitors and second home owners to Mojacar are from Germany. This will help alleviate the pressure of securing enough boxes on the transport van to Germany each month.
Fostering costs need to come down, but I don’t want to compromise on the quality of food where we are asked to provide it. We do need more fosterers who are able and prepared to provide the cat food and litter themselves. People are starting to email in their willingness to help foster thanks to the articles in the Euro Weekly News and on the site, and hopefully this will help reduce the costs and also make it possible to help more cats.. At the same time the option to place Almerimar strays in the PAWS Cattery in Mojacar will help reduce the pressure of finding fosterers here in Almerimar BUT will require us to continue to help rehouse their existing cats first to free up space.
We are always looking out for people that can foster strays cats for 4-6 weeks while we get them ready for re-homing. We are also very keen to find more flight partners from this region to Germany, and of course we welcome prospective adoptants.
In addition if you think a fund raiser would work in your area then please let us know. Books sales are always popular, and we can easily travel to your town (within reason) and help set one up with you, and of course if you have any Books, CD’s, DVD’s or items for a Table Top sale to donate please get in touch.
AND finally the beautiful cat featured below is my very own Oscar now almost 18 months old, but still the baby of our little family. He was rescued actually from the water by friends, and came to me as a foster kitten at 3 months. As is obvious he never left and has made himself very much at home.
Oscar is just one of the beautiful Almerimar cats that has needed and received our help. There are many more to come, so please continue to support Almerimar Strays in any way that you can. I would love to hear from you.
Oscar’s Sunbed Session