“For it is in giving that we receive”

This quote from St. Francis of Assisi is short and sweet. Giving is rewarding especially if directed towards those who cannot reciprocate. Stray cats and dogs have long been considered as vulnerable and needy. They endure all kinds of weather, while food and water are not always guaranteed. Being creatures who feel affection, they live outdoors with limited human interaction which can make them feel lonely and abandoned. In Malta the number of strays is considerable and not all of them are lucky to have shelter and food.

Sanctuaries and carers work incessantly towards the wellbeing of such creatures but it’s never enough. On the contrary, many are those who do not feel positive about the caring of strays. I empathise with such people, for they might have very valid reasons.

So here are some tips about how we can contribute towards strays especially at this time of the year when we approach the winter season (well, it feels like we’re already there);

  • Provide shelter; It need not be expensive. A carton box covered with plastic could suffice. These can be placed anywhere as long as they do not create inconvenience or do not obstruct walk ways. Other forms of shelter exist. Made from heavy duty pvc or treated wood, shelters can take different forms and sizes.
  • Provide food and water; These are the very basic. Lots of affordable brands are available on the market. Be cautious with kitchen scraps . . . residues can be a nuisance.
  • Trap, Neuter & Return (TNR); it’s useless caring for strays, when proliferation will only yield more strays. To break this circle of suffering, we need to take responsibility. In my opinion it should be illegal to feed strays without making sure that they are neutered. There is no system in place that ensures that feeders practice this TNR system. More measures are needed from all responsible authorities to make this happen. On the other hand, it is not fair to expect carers/feeders to fork out money for veterinary care.
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Food and water providing care for a stray in San Gwann | Photo taken by Nanette Farrugia

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A basic shelter spotted in San Gwann | Photo by Nanette Farrugia


If you are too busy to care for strays in your area, donate towards those who are committed to do so;

 

Remember that sanctuaries are constantly struggling for resources. Do not expect help without giving your contribution. Irresponsible pet owners find it easy to ‘dump’ unwanted pets behind their doorstep, so please appreciate the burden they are going through. If you don’t believe me, pay them a visit. Learn more about what they do and give them your support. That’s the best advice I can give you.

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If you wish to promote your stray cat caring/homing services as an NGO or individual, please do not hesitate to drop me a line and I shall gladly add you to this list.

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