October 7, 2019
Even while Lavinia was planning her July trip, it was clear that this could not be the last Andros ride for this year. By autumn at the latest, we have to look that everything´s all right and tackle what Lavinia could already see as the next task. However, this time she did not drive herself.
But even the novice, who started this journey, continued right from the beginning a good tradition and packed all this…
… into the now legendary „Andros suitcase“.
In December, when Jörg wrote the travelogue for Marie in the forums, he joked about the tourist who plunders Greece’s supermarkets.
But already on the evening of the first day of travel he stood even with this prey on an Athens Lidl parking lot – almost 70 kilograms of cat food in handy doses, 5 kilograms of dry food for cats and 20 kilograms of dry dog food for A., our Greek partner at Andros. Thus, our newcomer has completed his first day quite passable.
October 8, 2019
On the program are the crossing to Andros (only today – learned from previous flight delays and scarcely calculated ferry connections) and a visit to the feeding sites 1 to 3. The latter even today, if necessary to be able to start immediately with antibiotics to take advantage of all possible travel days.
So far Jörg was distracted by his travel arrangements, the gathering of important information from Lavinia, Marie’s parents and our Greek friends, the planning of the most important and urgent tasks and the like more than enough. But aboard the ferry, the first time suddenly, there was nothing to do for him. A very emotional moment:
„I have read Lavinia’s travelogues over and over again to internalize the places and cats. But I also read how emotionally moving it was for her to continue the project, to follow in big footsteps and then to continue in the right direction. Now I stand on one of these ferries myself, ready to depart. The deck´s vibrating from the idling diesel engine under the feet, and I breath the cool morning breeze of Rafina. Then to see the sun rise from the direction of my destination.
And finally, the crossing begins, but I do not know what to expect. I have set up an exact plan with Lavinia´s and other help, but it will not be more than a framework, because whether this plan and the real life become best friends is uncertain.“
But there is no time for much leisure. After less than 2 hours Andros is reached and the ferry arrives at Gavrio.
And after arriving at the holiday home (the same that Marie used on almost all her travels, as strategically located and equipped – now even with suitable Wi-Fi, Jörg does not have to climb to the roof like Marie on her first trip), already cat Cleo comes from the neighborhood over. She likes to stay here in the yard, because she knows that the Andros travelers also think of her and give her her ration, which of course she got immediately and then inhaled in no time.
The visit to the feeding sites was another very touching moment. So far only beholded in photos – and now the many, so often seen cats before and behind and around you!
What one can record for the cat research: „Lidl Coshida“-blue is the color, on which all cats stand! When a stranger approaches the garbage containers, all the cats rush away. If this stranger brings out the blue food cans, there is no feet of space for him.
Feeding site #3:
Next at feeding site #1:
At the feeding site #1, there are also two new „eye cats“. Luckily, they were given antibiotics on the first evening. Let’s hope that it succeeds on the following days. Nevertheless, that would also be travel candidates again.
And who strolls by self-confidently and with firmly steps, when Jörg was almost finished with the feeding site #1? Jörg’s sponsorship tomcat Wasilios, who actually lives more in the village, but still has the feeding site #1 as a boss under control. You can not call it anything else when a neutered tomcat ousts the potent ones off the treats with a paw swipe and a short hiss. And this flood of images by Wasilios you have to endure now:
One (yet with treats in hand) against all (still without treats in the belly)!
„There’s your car in the back and you have to pass us by!“
And also feeding site #2 was visited:
October 9, 2019
The first „real“ day on Andros begins. Jörg and S. have made an appointment at the feeding site #1. A few cats have recognized the guy with the coshida-blue cans from yesterday and came in the welcome and waited together with him.
„When is S. coming? I’m bored!“
Thorin knows how to connect waiting with lolling.
Also this first meeting was a moving moment – for both sides. For the one of them, the confirmation that the Andros project continues, albeit with other people, but with no less heart and soul. For the other the meeting with an important partner, which was already so much talked about. Thence the welcome was very cordial. Many words were not wasted, but both wanted to turn to the cats and look, which cats can get and have need to be catched.
However, as it is with planning, just at that moment, the garbage truck turns the corner and noisy refuse collection begins. Of course it´s as if all cats are swallowed up by the earth. Only a few very trusting are interested in more treats and even the „warhorse“ degustated one, which is peppered with antibiotics. Beginner’s luck? Who knows, but after a few minutes, two baffled cats are sitting in the cages and experiencing the first car ride of their lives – towards the vet. It is the little coloured cat, waiting for S. at the car shortly before, and a tiger, who seems to be new at the feeding site. Since two neutering sponsorships could not be awarded at the last trip, they are now named Medea and Thanos. For a better life from now on, you two!
At the feeding site #2, Neela presents herself in the best light.
But also travel beginners are not spared by sad moments! This little red at feeding site #3, who muscled still brave, but peacefully in the group yesterday, lay cold and stiff between the garbage containers today. As it turned out, he was probably a victim of the prevailing traffic at this place. More than to set aside him back in the meadow at a belt of reed under leaves and branches to rest, Jörg could not do for him. Sleep well, sonny! You did not go unnoticed and got the name „Amadei“ from Lavinia.
Nothing new happened on the evening walk at the feeding sites. Unfortunately, there were hardly any cats present at feeding site #1, not even during an additional last inspection tour just before dark. But there were also children at the garbage containers, who had fun in demolishing abandoned scrap. But at least they left the cats alone – hopefully not just because Jörg kept a watchful eye on them.
Therefore only a few quiet impressions at the end of a day full of new experiences.
Feeding site #1:
Feeding site #2 – full and satisfied cats enjoy the twilight hour:
Feeding site #3:
And finally some island impressions. Andros is undoubtedly beautiful even in the fall, when the vegetation shows the marks of a hot summer. Thus also the trip to the vet on tight serpentines is a pleasure for the eye.
October 10, 2019
Today’s daily report does not start with cats, but immediately with an Andros impression, namely a morning view from the roof terrace of the house.
Next, the household chore calls – Cleos food. Here she is already full and redeems the first hours of the day.
On the first tour a worried look between the garbage containers at feeding site #3. Fortunately, this time everything is fine, and the early birds among the cats enjoyed a hearty breakfast.
Jörg is eagerly awaited at feeding site #1, in fact by none other than Wasilios!
„Like right now? There is nothing? I´ll peek by myself in person!“
„Any bet that they are in here!“
And again with the proven help of S., who is very familiar with the cats, a tomcat climbs in the cage.
The cat with the fold-ears – an old acquaintance, who got scot-free, but now he badly need it. Sneezing, sniffling and torn by many fights, he gets his chance for a new life.
Jörg meanwhile feels like a contract hunter. Yesterday first a tomcat and a queen, whose names were already settled, and today this one, that had long been dear to Samus adoptive owner. Even as he dawns into anaesthesia, he gets the name Odin.
The vet immediately takes care of him – he gets neutered, loses two teeth, gets a depot injection for the kitty flu and Spot on against parasites. Normally, the vet notches the left ear as a sign of neutering. But Odin has quite shredded ears because of many fights, so that the vet had no choice but to use the other method and to cut the left ear tip.
At the feeding site #1 old acquaintances continue to be seen.
Together with Odin came the yesterday neutered Medea and Thanos, which were released at feeding site #1 right back.
This afternoon Jörg was invited by S. „for a coffee“. It was then just under three hours talking, looking at cats, and a joint visit to the feeding site #2 from it…
And with pleasure it can be reported that the two kittens, who found by Marie’s parents, feel splendid at S. They suck their baby bottle empty in a jiffy and eat even right food, not pieces of course, but at least!
Here are a few of S.’s cats, much of it had bunk off somewhere.
At the feeding site #2 everything was fine. Today, therefore, just a picture specifically of Data, who was neutered on the last trip in July.
At the end of today’s day Odin was released at his feeding site. Odin is a sprint strong cat! Opening the cage, hoicking up the mobile phone and snapshotting – that was the result: Odin is the tiger-colored spot at the very back between the two left posts of the shelter.
Medea is also showing up again. Here you can see the lateral neutering and the very small incision particularly well.
October 11, 2019
Today, for a change, the catching on feeding site #3 was on the program. So there is not fed, but all wait bored for the arrival of S. Of course, the hunger of the cats was exploited, the attendant crowd was supplied with anthelmintics and Spot on.
This time, a trap was also used. However, not with manual release, but with treadle. But this tread plate was not far behind enough after Jörg’s fancy. In addition, neutered animals should not be caught again. So, the trap door release lever was quickly blocked with a souflaki skewer stuck in the grid and tied to it a long string to pull the skewer off, when the right cat get caught. And that´s a moot point: The trap door was also prevented by an inserted stick from completely falling down and breaking hanging out tail vertebrae.Therefore, this wonderful cream-colored tomcat can continue to appear in full beauty as „Leandros“ even after his neutering.
In the traditional way (so this means S. attracts the cats with food as far as possible in the cage and Jörg helps along at the rear of the cat) subsequently this cat was caught.
From his animal sponsor he got the name Glykos.
And last but not least the tomcat sitting on the right side of the picture, who is now answering to the name of Socrates (left again Leandros).
It was thus sponsorships for the three still peacefully slumbering, but now nimble cat sought (so briskly, that there are no photos of the disembarked cats this time, unfortunately).
One of the motives of our association´s work is also to get the residents to neuter their cats. So today A. brought one cat caught by her in her place of residence to the veterinarian, whose neutering we take over. The cat was named Frency by his animal sponsor. Even if it is a very symbolic act in this case, because we do not know whether there will be a photo of him in the future.
Lavinia already paid a visit to some Andros residents in July as they were asking for help. That were V. and her neighbor. Also on this trip there should be helped again. Jörg delivered cages today so that V. can catch the cats tomorrow morning and provide them for pickup. Here are a few pictures of the cats living there.
In the afternoon finally our friend and partner A. and Jörg got to know each other personally.
A. couldn´t keep herself from showing typical Greek hospitality, inviting to a „snack“ in a restaurant on the harbor. However, Greeks have a different idea of it than we, which is a „snack“ – namely Greek salad, saganaki, fries, and a large plate of small fried fishes. But the latter they couldn´t relish on its own.
The following picture makes it immediately clear why not all cats are always visible at the feeding site #1. The restaurants are within the walking distance of cats, and sometimes there is simply something tastier than canned food! (Such a picture can really only be shown among cat friends – and yes, it’s Wasilios again!)
Here Jörg also saw again one of the eye cats mentioned on the first evening on Andros – the black and white in the following picture. She was also one of the guests. But looking at it in the light of day, everything is fine. The right eye is simply „only“ blind. (The other eye cat has unfortunately not appeared again.)
In the end really all guests were full and satisfied.
October 12, 2019
After yesterday’s successful catch at feeding site #3, S. and Jörg have made an appointment there again today, because unfortunately this fishing ground is not overfished yet. Previously, the cats at feeding site #1 were given their parasite and worm treatment.
And who should not be missing, of course? Logical! Treat Chief Inspector Wasilios!
This time he even brought reinforcements. The vehicle floor is inspected for contraband by Inspector Candidate Aliki, …
… while Assistant Inspector Thorin supports in the messy trunk (old but worn-out smuggling trick).
(Is it actually to realize, that a certain cat plays the lead role in this journey?)
Today, however, is a very stormy day. Several cats probably do not feel like let waving the garbage around their nose, so only a handful were present at feeding site #3, and they were also the smartest! To make it short – after just under an hour of persevering, today’s „success“ was in several cats that approached the cage only by the tips of their whiskers and one that was in there for a third.
However, more time could not be spent, because there was still the appointment with V. and her neighbor, who again asked us for help. After all, here Jörg could pick up a black tomcat and three queens and hand over to the vet for neutering. Everyone has already found an animal sponsorship. We thank very heartily for the support by the donors!
This was an opportunity for a few more photos of the cats living there.
A cat with a green and a blue eye.
Afterwards Jörg got to know the third Greek supporter – A. (2), who does not live permanently on Andros and at whose house there is feeding site #2, which is supplied by S. during her absence. In this way it goes hand in hand! Together with A. (2), the parasite and worm treatments were also carried out there today.
Full, satisfied cats in the rich, warm evening light at the feeding sites 1 and 3. A sight that gives comfort about so much seen suffering, and provides the necessary strength to carry on!
In a variation of a country hit: „The bluest eyes of Andros!“ Our „Kleinweiß“ at feeding site #1!
Too bad he is so shy and can not be caught. But the ears look much better than they used to, and now also comes the season with less sun.
Odin, the world-class sprinter, can also be seen. Although he is still sniffy, but the depot injection already shows effect, because on Monday, the snot threads still hung up to his chin.
And he has swallowed anthelmintics and parasiticides nice (Spot on won´t work at such guys, but luckily there’s also something to throw).
Believe it or not: between the meeting with A. (2) and the evening tour at the feeding sites suddenly a gap of about two hours opened up! There had to then but once switched to idle and the insider’s tip to be visited, the A. gave yesterday – a secluded, afield bay. With a few impressions from the beautiful island the today’s report ends. They underline what Marie and Lavinia already noted: „This island is magic!“
Tomorrow night, S. invites our other Greek friends and partners and Jörg to his home to meet shortly before the end of this Andros trip, to rejoice in what has been achieved, possibly to remember in mourning, and to talk about future tasks. And there will also be two „travel cats“. But more on that later – initially only: Fortunately, both the FIV and FeLV tests were negative. Although „only“ rapid tests, but at least!
October 13, 2019
Since the vet normally closed her doctor´s surgery on Sunday, no cats were caught today. But for us she opened exceptionally so that the queens delivered yesterday could be picked up (the tomcat could already be released yesterday back home). These were the 3 cats of V. and her neighbor:
The trips to the feeding sites 1 and 3 were this time filled with even more emotions than usual. It was the farewell rounds – once again see who is present, once again hand out the beloved food, run the hand over the fur of the trustingly, throw a few more treats to the shy, then have to break away and drive back to the house.
Feeding site #1: Many familiar faces have appeared.
The small, yet nameless red and white tomcat. No one knows where he came from. He always keeps a bit aloof and waits until the big bustle is over, then to get his share. The fur a little shaggy, but otherwise in good health.
A magnificent, red tomcat, who has trusted slowly. Healthy looking and proud. Let’s hope for few and harmless cat fights only, to see him again in the spring just as handsome.
Another group photo of well-cared cats at feeding site #1, but then to finally leave, however.
Almost the ignition key in his hand, Jörg does not trust his eyes. Medea introduces him to their little family as a farewell! During Lavinia’s visit in July, she was heavily pregnant and now, when catching her, her teats are still clearly perceptible and visible. But the little ones look gorgeous – no cat flu, clean eyes, smooth fur. And they already eat with great appetite the food of the „big ones“!
Even though we do not really want to see kittens, they are proof that regularly care ensures they are at least well fed by their mothers if they are already born. We hope for a happy reunion!
That was it?
There´s one missing…
But Wasilios has preferred not to intensify the pain of parting and has stayed away from the feeding site today.
Feeding site #3: Was less well attended than usual for the farewell tour, but there was still a good tuck of food once again. At some point, they all will amble to the place. At this journey, the feeding site was in the paws of tigers and black cats, …
During the last round here a new face suddenly appeared. He looks quite well-fed. Uninvited guest who has a home? Or been there for some time, but remained suspicious?
Also at this feeding site there will probably to be a lot to do furthermore.
In the evening the visit to S. and the other friends and supporters was on, again with typical Greek hospitality. As a gift Jörg brought his large remaining stock of food, already precautionary very generous purchased at the arrival in Athens. A much better gift than flowers, chocolates or champagne among these partners! According to the motto: „Think in practical need – and give feed!“
Neila, for who was asked in the internet forums, did not show up. But Cosy gave himself the honor and carried his heavy magnificent fur past the lens.
Our Greek partners have been reaffirmed that the Andros project is continuing and we know we can continue to count on them! But that was not the only reason why it was a moving farewell after quickly gone hours, but also because A. parted company with her „eye cat“, which is one of the two travel cats this time: Kiko, about 5 months old, rescued by A. She saw her sitting on a street corner in June as a small kitten – with her eye scratched and her head so crooked that her plight was obvious. Where did she come from? Maybe casted out from some house in the area. Kiko should now find rest and healing in Germany and lead a happy life.
Already in anticipation of a future placement ad: „Who can not resist and would like to give this playful, trusting, sleeping in bed ‚Pattex‘-cat (tested by Jörg) a home?“
October 14, 2019
Due to the extensive farewell tours at the feeding sites 1 and 3 as well as the convivial evening the leave-take at feeding site #2 was made this morning. However, this was a little shorter and without photos, as Kiko was already waiting in the car and the second travel cat should board: Dora, as she called by A. (2) on Andros. Or Ciari, as she was named in June 2018 by her animal sponsorship, is already 5 years old.
She comes from a private feeding site, which had completely neutered by Marie. Meanwhile, nobody lives there anymore. The resident cats have disappeared except for Ciari. In the best case only migrated to other places. However, there is also the rumor that „lent a hand“ was, which unfortunately still occurs. Ciari was the last cat still alive at this feeding site. She is healthy and was caught by Marie during the June trip in 2018. Therefore, she is not really a travel candidate, but in this case, we have overridden our selection criteria in favor of a rescue mission.
For future adopters and of course her animal sponsorship also from Ciari two pictures:
Well, and then, after the days gone by like time flies, the moment has come to leave Andros. With many new, also emotionally intense impressions, and having the Andros project now also carried on by himself on site, Jörg stood once again at the railing, this time heading for Rafina.
Now, after his first trip to Andros, Jörg would like to get a word personally again.
At the beginning however a small, final daily report with a few pictures of the travel cats Dora-Ciari and Kiko in the accommodation on the mainland, before they started the flight to Berlin together.
One last impression of Greece – the dawn of the departure day has broken:
The flight from Athens…
… to Berlin has come through very well.
„Now I’m back home wondering where the time is. The days on Andros went by rushing fast. And actually, I could just refer to Lavinia’s remarks after her July trip. Basically, as a travel greenhorn, I felt no different from her. It was exhausting, despite sad moments like the find of the little red tiger, who was still alive the day before, but also a very satisfying time on Andros. For in addition to all the unsureness of the newcomer, I always had the certainty of doing good and right.
I had decided on this trip to see for myself with my own eyes and to tackle this with my own hands, for which I fought so hard during the difficult time since mid-April until the general assembly in late May somehow to keep running the association and thus the project. On, until we could decide on a continuation together and also organize. This was not to be expected as a matter of course, but succeeded only by the will of several association members and supporters, who took the project to heart! I am deeply grateful for that!
Of course I left with a certain conception in my head, nourished by many travelogues, photos and discussions. But then being there on the spot surpasses everything by far! The little rascals at the feeding sites, who greet the traveler expectant and with eyes shining with joy every day, grow so dear in a matter of days that it is hard to break away from them on the last evening and say goodbye. All that remains then is the hope of seeing as many of them as possible next time healthy and alert, or at least willing to get catched and treated.
And I had support from many sides! My first and foremost thanks to Lavinia, who prepared me with valuable information for the journey and provided good information and answers to my questions during my stay abroad. I could rely on the reporting in the forums by two members of the association who published my ‚raw material‘ of pictures and texts. Likewise, I kept in contact with Marie’s parents, for whom the continuation of the project is also significant from a completely different angle. Last but not least, I wholeheartedly thank our Greek partners, who support the Andros project and meanwhile have become good friends for me!
I was also very pleased about the encouragement, the helpfulness, and willingness to donate of the people reading in the various internet forums; This also gives strength to carry through the daily program. Because the hours are packed full – starting with the first morning feeding tour, catching cats, the trips to the vet to the evening feeding sites tour and the finalization of the photos and information for the daily report. Drugs need to be portioned and prepared, tomcats recovered from anaesthesia, cages have to be scrubbed and a thousand other small things done. And again and again it is important to weigh what is the next meaningful step. For example, should S. and I try to persevere for an hour longer to catch exactly the one cat we have set in our minds, or prefer to catch two or more cats that have not been on our list so far yet?
What I did not a bit expect was the friendliness of the locals towards me! At no time I was negatively addressed or even insulted, a polite ‚Kalimera‘ or ‚geia sou‘ was the rule. Which is for sure due to S., who supplies the feeding sites daily and enjoys a certain respect among his compatriots. Of course, I, too, came to the fore of the neighbor of a feeding site who considers neutering as an intrusion into God’s plan, but at least he thanked me for feeding the cats.
And I can completely confirm what Lavinia wrote in April: it is very exhausting, but deeply worthwhile! But above all – it is feasible! Also for inexperienced newcomers, because in the meantime there are many new lived experiences that can be carried on. But you have to be aware of its resources and limitations – haphazard actionism and sentimentality don´t pay. And you have to want it, with all your heart, but still with sober pragmatism!“
As the conclusion of this trip is thus to be stated:
- 11 cats were neutered (4 queens, 7 tomcats): Medea, Thanos, Odin, Frency, Leandros, Glykos, Socrates, Pollux, Paris, Sia and Roxana.
- At the three feeding sites, the cats have some peace and quiet from annoying parasites for a while.
- 2 cats traveled to Germany: eye cat Kiko and Dora-Ciari, the last survivor of a former feeding site.
- Amadei stays in our hearts.