This is not yet another useless rant, (at least I hope not). Read till the end to see how easy it is to make a difference… and with the smallest of efforts!
One of the worst things that can happen to an owner of a domesticated cat, is to live in the knowledge that your beloved pet is outdoors, alone, frightened, hungry and thirsty.
That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. Last Wednesday Xażi, one of our rescued cats, sneaked out from our apartment by accident, and leaped into the street. After a long hour trying to retrieve him or coax him indoors, he ran off in a different direction and vanished in a split of a second.
There are a lot of dedicated feeders in our area, and a frightened cat will not usually venture far, so we’re hopeful, but still, that may not be enough.
There are a lot of dangers in our neighborhood, as with most other Maltese localities. Cars speeding through narrow roads are one of my main worries. Other animals who have established themselves in the area may also pose a risk to new uninvited guests and territorial battles will most likely ensue.
Many neighbours have been alerted, and a good number have offered to help. We were also very surprised to learn that some had actually gone to trouble of organising search parties. It’s truly heartwarming to know, and we feel blessed, that we’re surrounded by such good souls!
Although searching is very important, a cat that is scared will not leave his hiding place so easily however, and it might be days till he moves from whichever hole or bush he managed to sneak into. Eventually he will venture out to look for food and more importantly water, and that is when he might be spotted, so by placing additional water stations in the area we’re hoping to maximize his chance of survival. Even if not, our effort would not be in vain, since there are loads of cats (and occasionally I’ve seen hedgehogs too) who need freshwater especially in the excruciating hot summer months of Malta.
A lot has been said about stray animals. I believe that it is a real problem, but at the same time if handled properly (especially by providing feeders with the necessary resources to neuter all their colonies) we will reduce the unnecessary suffering of these animals and offer a better service to our communities.
Christian has setup an online platform with the hope of enticing more people to do the same around the island. It is extremely simple to be able to make such a huge difference to these animals, and all that’s required is a little dedication.
Those who wish to actively help strays are encouraged to visit this site, make use of it and share it with others – Cat Water Stations (Malta). It’s a basic site, but who knows, maybe it could be something that’s picked up by some NGO. It’s all about working together and harnessing the power of our modern shared communities.