July 2020 – Traveling in Times of Corona

PROLOG

The journey in July was influenced by the Corona pandemic, which was not foreseeable during the planning process. As the organization started already in January, a long time it even was not sure, if it could go ahead as planned.

Before starting with the travel report, let’s see how the big world affairs affected our commitment on a tiny island.

As already mentioned, the complete journey was organized in January. It was booked, talked over with our Greek friends and recorded in our calendars.

And then Corona comes. Actually, we waited for the cancellations and vouchers, full of concerns what will happen at the cat feeding sites without our endorsement. Of course, feeding was safe, but no neutering and no medical care.

The great relief came with the announcement that tourists are allowed to enter Greece from July on. Now everything went fast:

The non-stop flight Athens to Berlin was cancelled, a transfer in Munich came on top. Hence, we changed to a non-stop flight which, unfortunately, was only possible two days earlier.

The rental car and accommodation was changed also. As the landlord knows us and the project, it was no problem, we had the option to come whenever it fits for us.

So far, so good. One week before departure, Jörg got the message, that the booked fast ferry was cancelled for the whole summer. No more information was available. So again, now very experienced, the ferry was changed.

And if that wasn’t enough…two weeks before traveling another news. Usually, we book the flight tickets for the cats during the journey, as soon as we know, how many will come with us. The tickets are not cheap and of course we won’t waste money. But this time these tickets will be very hard to get, because many animals from many animal care organizations were waiting for their flight in a new home.

Thus, the association’s board decided to book the cats’ tickets on spec. This decision turned out to be very right, as we got the last available cat ticket, at least with the option to let two cats travel together. Since then, we checked each day, if a cats’ flight was cancelled and we could get another ticket.

This emotional seesaw continued until the last weekend before the journey started. Jörg’s bottled-up energy was discharged during packing of the “Andros suitcase”:

All of this…

… fitted in here.


July 15th, 2020

Surprisingly, the flight was just in time and without any problems. So, at the evening we still had enough time for our great passion: Looting of the Lidl store!


July 16th, 2020

Todays’ ferry ride also went very well. The ship was fully booked, but as always, everything was loaded into the ferry, no matter if it was a small scooter or a big truck. Forward…backward…left..right and everything was in place! This precision is amazing, especially with the pandemic background this time.

We arrived at Andros on time, quick unshipping and finally – after the uncertainty in March – Jörg could show his family first impressions of “our cat island”:

Of course, visiting our three main feeding places was scheduled for today. Our friend A. (2) was dwelling at Andros at the same time, caring about feeding place intensively. So, we start with this place.

FEEDING SITE 2

Many cats were meeting here, because A. (2) is constantly present.

Some members of this population:

FEEDING PLACE 1

Unfortunately, there were not many cats. Hopefully, this will change during the feedings two times daily.

Hyazinth was first. He snuffles quite a lot, this will get him special antibiotic-treats.

After chattering the cans with cat food, these ones also joined us:

An unneutered cow-like male cat, living there quite a while.

Robin, also in need of an antibiotic treatment.

Marie

FEEDING SITE 3

Also only a few visitors. Amongst others, the kitten living there quite recently. They are very shy.

A panther without name.

Down on the right Sokrates, some more cats without names and one of the kitten in the middle.

A tiger without a name.

Unneutured and very beautiful.

One of the kitten – extremely shy.

At the evening, the party went to a restaurant at the seafront. Of course they had a furry guest. Not one of our cats, she seemed to live there, trying to get her food at the restaurants, which obviously, was very hard recently. Accordingly hungry and skinny the little thing was. No question that the party shared their grilled and roasted fish in a fair way.


July 17th, 2020

Today we started with an easy job: the kitten, which were rescued by our friend S., should be neutered. No catching, just take the readily packed cats and drive to the vet.

But before we took care of the feeding sites.

FEEDING SITE 3

Nothing new, except Sokrates becoming a great cuddler already at day 2!

The skinny colored one.

The red tiger.

FEEDING SITE 1

Two new furries appeared:

Medea

Fynn

But also the unequal black and white duo was present. Because it was nice and unneutured and just stood there, Jörg took it with him. Well, the cat, not the horse! He was given the name “Aristoteles”. His sponsor likes Greek philosophers, as you can also see with Sokrates 😉

This is how it looked like in the car, after all candidates for neutering were packed:

Here, the four other cats presented with their names:

Jörg took the opportunity for some photo stops, after picking up the neutered cats in the evening. This beautiful island is definitely worth stopping to make some pictures.


July 18th, 2020

At feeding site 2, two male cats were waiting for their castration today.

One of the two guys also had to overcome the amputation of his ear. He is a completely white cat, these animals suffer extremely from the sun. Nearly his entire right ear was necrotic. Fortunately, A (2) was able to catch him easily!

Todays’ candidates:

Nothing new on feeding site 1. Therefore just Aristoteles, who already forgot the trapping, being naughty as always.

At feeding site 3 the kitten appeared. They were extremely shy. It would be really nice to get them caught, so they they could live with S. in a safe environment. One little white one was already seen two days ago. Here we could see the black one and two tigers.


July 19th and 20th, 2020

Our vet had to go to Athens for two or three days, so we had a break for castrations. But we continued to spend the time meaningful! Instead of catching cats, we started the anti-parasites treatment.

In addition, we were able to show the strays living at S. house.

At feeding site 1 we met an old friend.

FEEDING PLACE 1

The mentioned old friend is Thorin.

It seems Thorin fell in love with Medea (Hyazinth discreet in the background).

A very shy unneutered male cat was showing only shortly.

FEEDING SITE AT S.

A wave of photos from here.

IMPRESSIONS OF THE ISLAND

At the end of todays’ daily report another impressions of Andros. This island is really beautiful and offers many possibilities to experience nature.

Starting with a breathtaking view from Epano Kastro, a medieval ruin of a fortress…

… ending at hidden idylls at the end of hiking trails, like the Pithara-waterfall.


July 21st and 22nd, 2020

Not many cats were present at the feeding sites. It was very stormy, so the cats did better to stay in safer places.

Thorin was fighting against the wind. A point of honor with THIS name!

But Jörg was lucky. At feeding site 3, he could catch two of the kittens, which were already supported by our vet. Now they will stay at our friend S., who will take care of them. They are too young for neutering, but in autumn it will be their turn.

You remember V. and G.? They live somewhat outlying and care about many cats, even they don’t have much money. We were able to neuter already many cats there, because of your great support. Today we continued this project.

Remarkably, another neighbor came forward, who also cares for a lot of cats on his ground. He asked us for help with the castrations. Of course, we’d love to give this assistance, because this is a main aim of our project here at Andros. The people living here should recognize the advantages of neutering and medical care and they should want it for their own cats. Therefore, we were very happy about the request from S.

So these cats were neutered today:


July 23rd and 24th, 2020

Bright sunshine, but still very stormy weather. That’s the reason why only some friendly and very hungry cats appeared.

This was a little throwback for the neutering plans, because “not neutered” and “friendly” is rare combination, even at Andros.

But this tiny colored one, you won’t even imagine pregnant, was the final candidate for castration and is now named Hypatia.

Also because of the stormy weather we can’t present many photos from V. and her neighbor. They live at the hillside in a valley which is narrowing the more distance it gets to the sea. This leads to multiplied wind speed. You almost need a sailing license there when driving a car (!).

Here the photos of the brave ones:

On our journeys we always got encouragement and friendly words from the people who live here, but still there is an alarming indifference towards animals spread at the island.

The route from one feeding place to another goes right through the middle of the village, passing by a church and a playground. Not far behind, Jörg found a young black and white cat lying on the street – obviously she was hit by a car. And she was still lying there, when Jörg came back from his accommodation, where he got a bag and gloves. No-one cares about this little being in the meantime.

Rest in peace sweet little kitty.

The peaceful pictures from the feeding sites didn’t make this forgotten, but let’s us hope for a promising future:

No more cats could be booked for our flight back. So, the only ones coming with us were Kito and Frido, the two FeLV positive cats from April. The both already moved to our accommodation to get used to their flight companions.

After a shower (yes, it was necessary after driving with the car) the first food tasted very well:

Like every respectable cat, also these two were chilling after eating. But obviously they had different ideas how to use a cat toilet. Hence, a third bowl was set up. But maybe the cat litter accelerates the drying of their fur after the shower, who knows!?

During the night we had two well-behaved boys, who were using the cat toilet as cat toilet again. So, the next morning we did giardia testing and fortunately, got a negative result.

With such a result, the nap is even more relaxing!

As arranged, the meeting between H. & I. and Jörg took place at July, 24th. They visited two of the feeding sites. Again, a small step to intensify the collaboration with our new Greek friends!

But the timepoint was chosen unfavorably: at noon, all cats were fed up (thanks to your food donations!) and satisfied, lying somewhere at a shady place! Finally, some nosy cats couldn’t resist the sound of a spoon beating at a food can:

Until now, we accurately recognized our cats, but here we cannot say if it was Delia, Elia, Fine, Nora, Seven or maybe Hermine?

Black cats… Perhaps you know? This black beauty definitely looks healthy and this is exactly what we want for all (black) cats.

Some of the cats a I.s house, already neutered long time before our cooperation started.


EPILOG

Finally, the journey to Andros in July 2020 has been finished. As done before, the last report is up to the travelers, this time Jörg:

“I already reported, that this journey took place under very special conditions. First of all the uncertainty if we would be able to travel at all was nerve-wracking. And Lavinias last visit was already about five months ago!

All in all this journey was more wistful for me than in October 2019. Of course, at that time everything was new for me. I had to get to know the cats, places and people. But I was hoping to see more cats – those appearing at the feeding sites until the beginning of the year and those who were neutered in February.

At feeding site 1, cats like Aliki, Gali, Odin or the black ones like Brick, Kefali and Pepe. Or Thanos. And also “my” Wasilios was not there. At feeding site 3, I missed Glykos and Leandros, who was yet seen on pictures took in July.

Of course, I know, that there will always be cats we will never see again, because they are gone anywhere else or dead. But so many who were not seen this time…

That made me even more happy to meet familiar guests like Thorin or Sokrates. And the newly neutered and friendly ones like Aristoteles and Hypatia.

Nevertheless, we made a lot – 14 cats were neutered, two of the kitten at feeding site 3 were saved and the “business as usual” medical and anti-parasite treatments were carried out. Hyazinth for example, benefited a lot from medication! Also two times of feeding made the strays’ life much easier.

The farewell walk at Saturday morning I completed with a laughing and a weeping eye. And all cats came – even Melina!

FEEDING SITE 1

FEEDING SITE 3

The tiger kitten from picture 1 was extremely shy, it even ran away when look at it.But maybe this attention will safe its life. He definitely eats already like the big cats. (Addendum: one week later A. (2) could catch the kitten. She brought it to S. where it was united with his siblings.)

FEEDING SITE 2

A. (2) is caring daily for the cats at this site. So, the farewell here took place two days earlier.

FEEDING SITE AT S.

Together with Aristoteles from feeding site 1, four cats from S. were brought to the vet at day 1. All four are healthy and happy:

TRAVEL CATS FRIDO & KITO

All together, we achieved a little miracle!

As we found out, that Frido and Kito were tested FeLV positive, we already posted them on our homepage and some animal placement portals. Maybe this could lead to a short-term stay at their foster home.

But this wish didn’t come true…

… because immediately after arrival in Berlin, Frido & Kito moved into their forever home!!!

For security reasons the first few hours they spent their time in the “castle of cat litter” – this proved to be safe at Andros already. But soon they realized that now a happy new life started.

… SOME MORE PICTURES OF THE ISLAND

Every journey to Andros means a lot of work, this time, too. Nevertheless, beside all worries we have the certainty we facilitated the stray life of ‘our’ cats at Andros!

If you don’t use the main streets only but go through the middle of the hills, you get rewarded with such impressions:

And then we had to say goodbye – to our cats, our Greek friends and to a wonderful island.

Last but not least, I want to say thank you to all supporters of the Andros project. And to those being a great help for me during the whole journey:

First of all, my family, assisting me at the feeding places and tolerating my absence during the vet visits.

Lavinia for her always quick and competent assistance, and many answers to my questions.

The three members of “Cats at Andros”, who were our “voice” in public relation.

Our Greek friends, who do a great job at the feeding places to keep our project going, every day!

And of course all of you, who follow us here or at the forums, supporting us with your donations, and wishing us all the best, what gives us the power to go on!”

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