July 15, 2019
And again, a new trip to Andros has started to continue fulfilling Marie’s legacy.
Lavinia has arrived in Athens with her helpers – on Andros you always need friends who take care of driving and cooking and everything that pends. There they took over the relocating cage that Marie left at the end of March, and there was also a transport box. (Actually, it shouldn’t have been a relocating cage in Athens, but a “real” trap. But more on that later.)
Luggage is of course a lot on board. This is what a typical Andros case looks like: medication and anti-parasite agents for cats. Food is also stuffed in between, no gap remains unused.
July 16, 2019
Today we crossed to Andros. What a sight when the ferry tailboard is opening! How many times have we imagined this in the past few weeks! Lavinia in particular, but we others who we support from Germany no less. Andros – a longing destination with a lot of work waiting there.
And of course Lavinia went straight to the feeding sites and met old acquaintances.
Feeding site #1
Let Lavinia speak for herself:
“We were greeted by the old-established Wasilios. I would almost not have recognized him because he has changed from long-haired cat through summer to short-haired cat since April. But his charming look and loving welcome have betrayed him. Whether short or long, I think he can wear both well.”
Scooping together is best! With Aliki, Elias and Melina.
(We can use your help with the names, unfortunately we still don’t recognize all cats.)
“Robin in the middle, probably Sunny on the right and a very cuddly guy on the left, being long-haired in April. (I think he also had a name. I don’t know that right now.)”
But as always, there are new faces. Lavinia again:
“The one here I don’t really know and I don’t like the look of the eye. It is totally cloudy due to the cat flu, but it does not look inflamed. In addition, his nose was running pretty intense. He always meows loudly and is probably a kind of a warhorse. Not necessarily easy to handle. We are trying to treat him with antibiotics starting tomorrow.”
A new arrived cat, black and shy.
Where there was still a dense green meadow in April, there is now dry, broken brushwood. Unfortunately, that doesn’t offer much protection from the sun.
Some cats got hard done by life, Lavinia reports:
“A poor guy. He looks pretty bad. We saw him in April and he looks a little better now. Quite shy, but very peaceful. He is also more integrated in the group than in April. He is a travel candidate.”
“Räudi (that’s how we first lovingly named the poor mangy guy) and Kleinweiß (‘Small White’) here in the picture. Kleinweiß is so cute, but the ears look terrible.”
Feeding site #3
Here are some newcomers, and it becomes clear once again what work lies ahead of Lavinia and her companions because the cats need help. Among the new ones is the potent tabby tomcat in the middle.
And a suckling mother cat. The dilemma: she should be neutered urgently, but the litter should not be alone for too long. Marie has had this problem many times and it is not easy to solve.
Another new arrival.
We keep our fingers crossed that Lavinia manages to catch and take care of cats. We all know that this is not an easy task and is very dependent by chance and on luck. Marie has extensive experience in this, her footsteps are large. Nonetheless, we are very excited to see how things go tomorrow.
July 17, 2019
Today the feeding site routine began, which Lavinia does not yet have. And there is a whole lot of good news!
Do you remember the old warhorse, who didn’t look good at Marie’s last trip, and whom Lavinia also found in a not so well condition in April? Today he was at feeding site #1.
Lavinia reports this and more: “Today we were first at feeding site #1. We saw the white sick one from the last time. He looks better and also seems more trusting. In addition, Gali showed up – cuddly as always. The flu cats get antibiotics, but fortunately there are very few.”
And then came the premiere: the first cat got caught in a trap at feeding site #2!
“Then we went to feeding site #2 and got to know another A. who also plays an important role for the cats at the feeding site. The cats look great. We were able to catch and neuter a tomcat.”
This tomcat is now called Data. And as you can see, he’s a beautiful striped guy, here in the company of Neela.
Here, Data still sleeps off the intoxication of the anesthetic. Now he can scurry into a better life, free from unrest and fights! Tomorrow he will be checked again whether he is well and how he put the surgery away.
There are other cats at S.´s feeding site and site #2 yet:
Lavinia and her companion got to know the different mentalities of the residents in dealing with the cats and especially the topic of neutering. They report: “At feeding site #2 we had an interesting conversation with a local who explained to us why so many Greeks, including himself, are against neutering (interference with nature, playing God, etc.). We tried to explain our point of view to him carefully, and at least he listened intently. Maybe it worked. It is worth a try. It is important that people there gradually understand the need for this, but it takes time. But the conversation was very friendly from start to finish.”
This continues Marie’s intention one to one: explain kindly, ask questions, listen – but not to be condescending to the people. This is the only way to make the project successful and have a future. It doesn’t work without the locals!
Last but not least, they visited S., “just to say Hello”. Here are all about 20 cats neutered and in very good condition, see for yourself:
And finally a very cute one:
“The little one is still very mini. She was collected by A. (2) on the streets of Athens and taken to the feeding site at her house. Unfortunately it is still too small to neuter. Weighs not even 1 kg – it does not come across so well in the photo. She would be a candidate for October. But very trusting.”
July 18, 2019
Today was a strange but at the same time important day because it brought insights. It started very hot and was getting hotter and hotter. In the morning there were only a few cats at the feeding sites and they made themselves scarce more and more during the day. The cats are smart and do the right thing, they have a siesta. And most of the cats who were there were neutered already.
And this was a good thing because improvisation has to be done. Lavinia already found in Athens that what she picked up as a trap is very small. It’s more of a relocating cage, and it’s more complicated to catch with it. In principle, no problem, because there is also a trap on the food pallet that a member of the association has contributed. However, the pallet has not yet arrived at Andros, the shipping company has not delivered on time. So Lavinia starts with what she has, but under difficult conditions.
Because of the heat, however, the day was spent to continue exploring the situation and getting to know the important people. In the place where the veterinarian resides (approximately 1 hour from the place where the feeding sites are) also lives A., who takes care of the feeding sites and the dogs. They sat together for three hours and talked about everything. It was very constructive and concrete. Various people know many details of the journeys from Marie and have gathered it. But there is still something new and surprising, and some things that you have imagined in one way or another are completely different on Andros or only make sense when you see it on site. We are all still learning what and how much Marie did and how she did it. Those who are on site have to sort it all out.
Tomorrow there is an opportunity to help an old man who has taken care of several cats and asked for help. The other A. will accompany our travelers there, establish contact and translate. It will be shown how help can be given, we are all very excited.
In the evening, when it was getting cooler, the parasite treatment was coming up. 25 to 30 cats showed up and could be treated completely. This means that they can now go through the summer and autumn much healthier. To quote Marie: “So that the food benefits the animals and we do not feed the parasites with it.”
“I had to send off Robin 30 times from my backpack.”
“He tried it again and again.”
The yesterday neutered Data was also seen today. He is fine, he has survived the procedure well!
A very delicate mouse was caught during the treatment, and the somewhat strange day finds its very conciliatory conclusion. Lavinia reports:
“When we dewormed the cats at feeding site #1, we caught a very small adorable kitten. I just estimate 2 kg or almost. 5 to 6 months old. Was bullied there and came when we were just finished.”
July 19, 2019
What an exciting morning!
As agreed, Lavinia and her companions met A. (2) in the town center and drove after her with the car. In the middle of nowhere, it went stairs down and up and crisscross, until they were standing in front of a house that belongs to an old man who provides the cats with food there. 3 queens, who were quite hungry because they had not yet had breakfast, went to the kennel, in which food was displayed.
Afterwards, the Andros travelers were led a few minutes further to a neighbor’s house, where also cats live, including some kittens. Two other queens were caught.
Lavinia was then able to drive to the vet with six cats. Because yesterday’s little cat was also picked up. A sponsorship has already been taken over for her and her name is now Motte. And Lavinia has good news about her: “Fortunately, as it turned out, she wasn’t pregnant, although her teats and her relatively round belly suggested it. Now she will never have to be it! Instead, she suffered from a very severe worm infestation. That is why she is so thin, except for the round, hard belly. Fortunately, the anthelmintics will make her feel better soon .” (The poor quality of the photos is due to the speed, because the veterinarian wanted to get started right away.)
The neutered cats will be brought back in their place tomorrow and hopefully can lead a more carefree life.
And here are Lumi’s kittens. Even if it is a cute sight, it is exactly what we want to prevent. So it is good that five cats do not have to have any more kittens!
As for Motte, the situation is tricky. She came out of the meadow at the very end of the treatment last night and ran after Lavinia and her helpers. She, so small and tender, was bullied by the other cats badly and was also pushed away when she tried to contact them. The feeding site is also a place where unwanted cats and whole litters are sometimes abandoned. Motte gives the impression that she knows people, just like she did in the evening in the bathroom of the apartment.
A similar problem arises with Kleinweiß at feeding site #1, this small one is also bullied. Lavinia reports:
“A portrait of Kleinweiß. When we were there in April, he was more integrated into the group… At the moment, like Motte, he is pretty bullied and driven out. He looks (not in the picture, but otherwise) a lot more battered, not to mention the ears. There are so many bigger cats living there, and there have been arriving a few new too, so his delicate stature doesn’t give him that great chances. Unfortunately, he is also more shy than in April. But he also has fewer chances to get close to us because the others always drive him out.”
But Kleinweiß was present at the evening parasite treatment. There were spot-ons today!
Feeding site #1
Even the fold tomcat, who was also seen more often in Marie’s pictures, was photographed today and received his medication. Do you remember him? He’s fine except for a slight cold. Unfortunately, he appears too irregular to give him antibiotics.
Because so many take him in their hearts: Mr. Warhorse picked up his antibiotics load.
This pretty mouse was particularly present yesterday and today. Is she neutered? In any case, she is not marked on the ear…
Feeding site #3
About 15 cats were treated at feeding site #3 today.
Lavinia’s report: “Today at feeding site #3 we saw a 3-week-old mini-cat, who meowed loudly and hid in the tall grass. Probably abandoned. Unfortunately, it came no closer than 2 meters. Maybe we’ll be luckier in the next few days!”
The sweet one in the picture was happy and he rolled on his back cheerful.
The cats live more dangerous here, since a main street runs right next to the garbage containers. On the other hand, they have a large meadow, which is currently dry.
July 20, 2019
The cats caught yesterday survived the neutering well and were released today at their feeding site:
The other three cats disappeared so quickly that it was unfortunately not possible to take a picture.
The old man and his neighbor were very happy about the help they received: “How can I thank you for all you have done?” They are people who like the animals, but who are helpless, maybe overstrained, have little money and don’t even own a car. Here the help from us and the many donors came just right. People were left with parasite agents, and the plan is to neuter the kittens and the remaining 4 queens, 2 of which are heavily pregnant, at the two houses later.
This little mouse was found at Lavinia’s accommodation in the last few days and was neutered today. B’Elanna is weak on her feet, has flu and worms. When neutered, she also turned out to be pregnant with 4 kittens at an early stage.
And it goes on with today’s emergency. This little guy is the kitten who shouted at feeding site #3 last night and was hiding in the grass. After several hours of luring and tricking in the bushes, Lavinia’s companion was able to catch him because even though he had called for people, every crack of the grass frightened him.
At the vet, he was weighed 700 to 800 grams, after all, heavy enough for a deworming treatment that he urgently needed. He can also be treated against fleas. But his eye, which is likely to be affected by the cat flu, is particularly worrying. It must be removed probably, but he is still too small for an operation and not yet capable of flying.
Lavinia therefore tries everything to find a place for him, where he is cared for and fed until he is fit for surgery, neutering and travel.
Now the little one is sleeping and we hope that the anti-worm remedy will work well overnight and not weaken him too much.
July 21, 2019
Motte and B’Elanna have been put together today and are clearly feeling good. As we are used to from the Greek cats, they feel lonely on their own and much better in pairs or in a group. And lo and behold, Motte immediately was head-cuddling. B´Elanna was cautious for a while, but as the pictures show, they are now very tight and almost a heart and a soul.
There is good news from the little guy. He got through the night well and became increasingly agile. The anti-flea and worm agents appear to have worked. He is incredibly cuddly and affectionate. He already uses his makeshift toilet in the kennel very well, as if he had never known anything else. And he eats, but only pouches, no canned food. The little one has the potential to become a great charmer, anyway he is already a small one!
Because we think that such a little guy who fights for his life, and who is supposed to be neutered, should have a name, one member of the association took over the sponsorship and called him Fredi, and another would like to support him too.
On the round at the feeding sites to provide all cats with medication again and to say goodbye slowly but surely, two little kittens finally appeared at feeding site #3 on the main street, who came immediately and were very trustingly. The two look relatively well-groomed and healthy and clearly know people. Therefore, it can be assumed that they were probably abandoned when people noticed that someone is taking care of the cats there.
So that they survive the winter, the two were bagged straight away, because they can’t stay there, it’s too dangerous on the main street for small kittens. It has long been considered where to put the cats. Finally, a solution was found: they can stay in one of the places where the neuterings were done.
The old man’s neighbor will care for the two together with the other cats so that they can live there until the next Andros trip and become large enough for neutering. It has been agreed to return to these two people and, if possible, to neuter the kittens and queens and these two newcomers there and provide them with medical care.
The little tiger is a tomcat and the black cat is a little lady.
July 22, 2019
The two kittens that were caught last night traveled to the locals today. V., the woman’s name, has agreed to feed the two together with their cats and take care of them.
Lavinia reports: “We take them to the kittens at V.´s Haus. They are out there too, but are given food and water, and someone is there to look after them. Since the house is on a slope and the street can only be reached via winding lanes and stairs, there is at least no danger to them as far as this is concerned. It’s not an optimal solution, but better than going back to the garbage and main street. I very much hope that the two will be fine. Unfortunately we can’t do more for the two.”
We sincerely hope to find the two unhurt and fully grown in autumn!
The black girl and the tiger boy also got in touch with the kittens there, as you can see:
And Lumi has shown up again, even if at a safe distance.
Little Fredi is also visibly better, he seems quite satisfied in his cage:
July 23, 2019
Lavinia and her comrades have landed safely in Germany, but also righteously tired.
Yesterday evening Fredi, who is unfortunately not yet able to fly due to his age and size, was brought to the kitten foster home in Athens. He immediately felt comfortable there and made a good impression. Lavinia and her companions were finally able to have something to eat in their accommodation at midnight, after having been on the move continuously since morning.
But now we need all your fingers crossed and good wishes, please! Because unfortunately Lavinia got the news shortly after landing that Fredi was in the clinic because of his eye and was being operated on. We hope and wish so much that the little guy can do it and get well.
Fredi’s “exchange partner” is little Loxi, another adorable tiger cat that lives on the foster home in Athens. So this trip was also a bit in the sign of tigers.
As you can see, Loxi has a slight bad posture of the head, which is why she became a candidate for departure. In Greece, she has little chance of a home. In addition, it is easier to find out the reason for the posture in Germany. But she copes well with it, and somehow she looks very charming with this.
And there is an addendum to write: So that these two, who are housed at V., are not just a gray tiger and a black girl, Lavinia called them Snoopy and Leila! They are fine, as V. has meanwhile written.
July 24, 2019
We only have a short message from Athens, but it says that Fredi’s surgery went well at first. So Fredi still needs your fingers crossed that everything is healing well now and that he has enough strength. We hope the best for the little guy.
From Andros came the news that V. and A. (2) decided to move Snoopy and Leila again to A. (2) in the house, so that they could get used to people better and not run away.
If they are more trusting, they should be integrated into the cat group at A. (2)´s house, which is cared for there. It’s great that the people there think and think about what’s best for the little ones. They are behind the idea of the Andros project!
July 26, 2019
After an exhausting journey, Lavinia also has a final report for us:
“Hello my dears,
after a two-day break and some relaxation from the trip, I am now speaking up again. It was an exciting journey with ups and downs, with precarious situations for which solutions have nevertheless been found. Marie was always in my head and in my heart and I often asked her for advice: when it came to deciding what happened to little Fredi and with Snoopy and Leila, when it came to deciding whether B’Elannas 4 kittens should be aborted and we can at least save her. Because despite all rationality and animal welfare awareness: It is still a bad feeling to have to decide that these four kittens have no chance of life. I have absolutely no regrets about this decision, but they just deserve to pause briefly and remember the fours.
Preparing for the trip beforehand took a lot of time and energy, but it has to be that way, because once you’re on the island, you have little chance of getting things that you forgot at home. Everything has to be well planned, packed and organized in order to be prepared for (almost) all eventualities. I think we did it pretty well (thanks to great help from the donors and Marie’s preparatory work).
My feelings about the trip were mixed. We already knew the most important places and a few of the most important people from the trip in April; something should be possible with that. Nothing could have been more frustrating for me than flying home without success.
In the beginning it has gone really slow because we didn’t really know where to start. In addition, the trap we were told we could pick up in Athens had turned out to be a relocating cage – not really suitable for catching. After a conversation with A. we finally found a thread that we could scrape through with – it started to go smoothly from there. Thank God!
This shows how important it is to work together with the Greeks. However, the best preparation alone doesn’t get you very far – the network decides on success and defeat.
We got to know other important people in our project and new places. We had a lot of discussions and were able to get to know and consolidate Marie’s existing structures on site.
A peculiarity of such a trip, which Marie and now we also had to find out: You go there and also have a rough plan in your head where you would start and who is a potentially travel candidate. The reality is, however, that something new is added every day, you are faced with new problems and tasks and you always have to be flexible to adapt to the given situation. But it is also important to know and accept your personal limits. With a heavy heart we had to leave Kleinweiß, the Warhorse and Räudi there. There was no way to catch them and certainly not without a proper trap. The only consolation is that everyone got their parasite treatment and hopefully will have a carefree time.
It was hot, exhausting (physically and mentally), emotional, sad, but also wonderful. Marie always with us in our hearts.
- 8 cats were neutered (1 tomcat and 7 queens).
- About 55 cats were treated for parasites.
- 4 cats were saved from certain death.
- 3 cats were given the chance to have a new, safe home in Germany.
That’s not an incredible amount now, but for the first (‘real’) trip I think it’s quite acceptable. And the next time we can start right there and so there is certainly a lot more possible than this time.
Many thanks to everyone who supports our project both morally and financially – without all of that our hands would be tied!”
July 28, 2019
… and the diary of this trip is still not finished, because Lavinia speaks again:
“Today I have a nice message for you, suitable for Sunday: Fredi was allowed to leave the clinic yesterday and has survived everything so far. The suture looks good! And also otherwise he looks very twee, I think.
I dare to be cautiously optimistic. Saying goodbye to Fredi was anything but easy, he grew very dear to my heart in the few days. But I’m happy that the silly eye is now a thing of the past. Now he has to get big and strong so that he can be picked up when the time comes and we can find a wonderful home for him.”
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