Dear friends of Cats at Andros,
even though we are mourning for little Fredi, who unfortunately was not able to start a new life in a loving home, we would like to reflect on another important event for a moment.
Today, our association turns one year old. Time to look back.
You all know how Marie came across sick and hungry cats during her vacation in 2017 and decided to bravely step up and help. For more than a year, she poured all her energy into helping the local cats, providing them with regular care, finding allies and friends willing to help, and bringing the weakest animals to Germany. So many have found a loving home!
Soon, however, she also realized that in the long run one person alone could not keep up with all this work. So she looked for fellow comrades-in-arms and found people willing to start an association with her. On August19, 2018, a midsummer Sunday, it was time: the founding members met at the legendary “Kuchen Kaiser” in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The association was founded and everyone got to know each other face-to-face. Eight founding members had gathered. A rough division of the tasks to get the association up and running was decided upon.
Let’s exchange some memories!
It was an eventful first year for us. In the first two-thirds of the year, Marie still bore the brunt of the work. The plan was to gradually ease other members into the work and distribute the tasks. Marie undertook three more trips to Andros, then Lavinia’s first trip was planned to take place, under Marie’s guidance from afar. From September 2018, we especially remember the mini-kittens. Three of them survived, moved to Germany, and grew into big, strong tigers. Do you remember the tiny furballs?
On September 2, 2018, when Marie found them…
… and at the end of January 2019.
This is the sight that we all want to see – lively activity at the feeding sites and healthy, well-fed cats:
This one here, tiny, feeble Aslan, Marie took him with her to Germany. Since then he has grown into a big, caramel-colored cat, weighing in at 5 kilos. Who would have expected that?
Found in September 2018 aged 4 to 5 months, but weighing only one kilo…
… and in June 2019.
Together with Augustinus and Valentine, they made for a merry trio in their foster home.
Repeatedly, also a few dogs had the luck of the draw to be able to relocate to Germany. Here, for example, Luise and Mogli.
The second trip since the association was founded took place in December 2018. Then too the cats munched contentedly at the feeding site.
Luckily, the mini-kittens had overcome most of their health obstacles and fit to travel. They came to stay with Marie in her foster home. Ylvi, Sania, Valentine and Aslan in turn moved to the new, second foster home of the association, to Lavinia. Marie and Lavinia had met in 2017 and since then been in close contact. It seemed like a natural fit that Lavinia would provide the second foster home. Having two foster homes should make it easier when it came down to deciding which cats needed more care and therefore should move to Germany.
Valentine and Sania
Ylvi and Aslan
While the central hands-on animal welfare work went on, the infrastructure of the association was set up: It was registered as e.V., the charitable status was applied for, a bank account opened. A homepage was created, donations and funding opportunities explored, and donation links set up.
Thanks to Sandra A.’s great commitment and work, more food pallets were sent to Andros. Since the association’s founding, food pallets number six to ten were delivered. And that’s what it looks like. Stunning, right?
Augustinus, the minis and all four foster cats at Lavinia’s were finally adopted out, when Marie departed at the end of March for the third trip since the association’s founding. This turned out to be her “masterpiece”. More than 20 cats were neutered and five were flown out. They were dubbed the ”eye cats”, they all had an eye disease, quite a few of them requiring somewhat complicated medical treatments. Especially Emilia gave Lavinia in her foster home plenty of reason to worry.
Linos setting his sights on a “fur”ever home.
Emilia has also found a home after many health scares.
Whisky and Frodo were adopted together.
Soda now lives with loving humans too.
Well, and then came the day and the time that we all wish would have rather have not happened. On the evening of April 13th, Marie suddenly died. Still, the pain is no less profound than in the first few days and weeks afterwards. Every day each of us still wishes this were only a bad dream, that it did not happen, or she would just come back from a long holiday. Because she is still loved, and liked, and needed.
We and our great Greek friends and partners, essential to the project’s work on the island, still grapple with the situation and try to orient ourselves. Lavinia made a mentally and physically strenuous journey in April to pick up Bella and Sandro, as Marie had promised.
On May 25, 2019 we re-convened in a general meeting and elected a new board, at the same place where we had had founded the association. There was lots to discuss. Everyone had a snippet of information on how Marie had handled this or that. There were also written records, and fortunately we can still read her many posts in the forums. Above all, we are grateful to Jörg who kept the association going during these terrible first weeks and who handled all the bureaucracy.
And then, in July, it was time for Lavinia’s first “real” trip to Andros. Thanks to good preparation, Lavinia knew what awaited her and it turned out to be a successful journey. Many cats were neutered, dewormed, and their health checked. Lavinia and her travel companions did a great job and laid the foundation for further work. Three foster cats are at her foster home now and keep Lavinia on the go. And we are also still looking for new foster homes:
Now we are celebrating the association’s first birthday without Marie and yet she is with us. Her star shines bright in the sky over Andros at night. We hope she gazes happily at her legacy.
On August 14, 2018 she wrote in a forum: “I´d like to repeat myself here – I couldn’t have done this on my own. The small island cat project has become much bigger and more successful than I have ever dreamed. More neutered cats, more kittens not born into misery, saved some cats from terrible suffering, many cats with a much better quality of life and full bellies, and not so few paved a way to safe, sheltered homes … This is possible only by the many people who contribute to this project in all their different ways, taking bits and pieces of the project’s work on their shoulders and making sure it keeps going.”
We did just that: take the project on our many shoulders and divided the tasks well for the moment. New members have joined the association, and everyone contributes according to their abilities. So we build a bridge from the past into the future and look ahead positively. Life means change: the project for the cats of Andros goes on! If you want to support us, you are very welcome.
That all of this still works is all thanks to each and every one of you. A big, heartfelt thank you, to all who travel with us during the journeys, give good advice for the care of the foster cats, donate all the money for neutering and medical care, come up with great new creative projects for fundraising – felt rats, hay beds, cat sponges, bags, and door stoppers. Thank you for every warm word, every helping hand, and every kind gesture. You all make Cats at Andros e.V. possible!
Marianne on behalf of the members