The animal welfare activities on Andros began with Marie’s holiday on Andros in April 2017 and a call for help from her in a forum on the Internet, long before the association was founded:
I’m on vacation on an island near Athens, and there are sick stray cats running at my feet at every step – miserable parts, scrawny, with fleas and diarrhea in their half-length fur. I would like to help, but there is no cat welfare activity here, at least not on the internet.
Question: Is there a good animal welfare organization nearby, e.g. in Athens, which takes some of these cats, cares for and places them by a donation from my side? I would also offer to take these cats with me, if they are able to leave, and to place from Berlin. But they have to be made ready for departure and I can not afford that here on site. I’m just staying a week.
Tips, ideas? I also have hardly any internet, bad connection, would be very grateful of practical proposals.
You may also give me a piece of your mind and say that so sporadic animal welfare does not work much. But for every saved cat saved… You know the saying.
I did not expect to meet such destitutes here. At my last two vacations in similar climes, there were only well-kept domestic cats. I have not seen such run-down, messed-up animals in 15 years. All they need is a sweeping swipe against the parasites, neutering and lots of food, then they are fit and ready for a good life… They are even tame.
Get in touch, if you know something!”
The pictures of the cats at the garbage containers that she showed in that forum speak for themselves:
Within days, the cornerstone was laid for the Andros project. Via A., who still supports her on site, the contact with the island’s only veterinarian was established. Although she did not practice at that time for family reasons, she agreed to examine some of the worst-suffering cats and clarify the further proceeding. Even the vet is still a dedicated supporter of this project.
Marie’s plan was soon established: long-term help is needed here, ideally with feeding sites managed by residents and area-wide neutering campaigns. Cats who can not survive outside are placed with the private animal rights activist A., so they can be medically cared and made ready for leaving of Andros. On the next visit, they travel to Germany and will be placed from there. However, this should affect only a few cats – the focus is on the neutering on site.
But first, when it was clear that helpers can be found, the first cats were fed once – at the garbage containers only she counted 15 animals. Sick, with cat flu and swollen teats, which later turned out to be severe mastitis, injured by bites, pregnant, cats that can hardly eat due to aching teeth, with ears wracked by the sun… And a first cat (the one with mastitis) could be accommodated on site.
At the end of this holiday trip it was clear:
“Now starts the planning of how it should proceed, if I will be back in 2 to 4 weeks to pick up the small one. I would like to neuter the first cats and hope the vet will practice again. I’ll ask her. Because I would not like carrying the cats to Athens, that’s two hours to the harbor and another three hours on the ferry and then in Athens – and then back again.”
And in the days after the return, that was exactly what was organized. The veterinarian agreed to open her practice for neutering and examinations, despite her break. The local contacts continued. A cage for carrying animals has been sent to Andros in advance. And at the end of May 2017 the next trip to Andros took place already.