Holiday Resorts, Institutions & Other Places that Care for Ferals

Holiday Resorts, Institutions & Other Places that Care for Ferals

Please note that all these individuals & organisations are doing what they do for the welfare of feral cats and depend entirely on donations and public funds to offer these services. Please assist wherever possible and donate generously should you be assisted. Also bear in mind, that who to call depends on what you want done with the cats!

For many animal lovers, going on holiday can present serious dilemmas and can be stressful if the resort, campsite or other accommodation is overrun with hungry animals, usually cats. We constantly hear horror stories from people who have gone away to chill out only to be confronted with suffering and starving hordes. Some have even had to deal with animal extermination and a general lack of compassion on the part of the owners and management of these places. One place keeps being mentioned – viz., the resort at Gariep Dam – apparently the place has been overrun with cats for years and every now and then locals shoot them until the breeding starts again. If anyone knows anything about this or has been there, please let us know.

If you manage a feral cat colony, know of other groups, feeders and trappers or want to be listed here, please email: info@tufcat.co.za, we’d love to hear about your experiences, observations & findings.

Italy & Greece

Feral cats can also be used as “working cats” to deter rodents on farms and at hospitals, hotels, factories, restaurants etc. Institutions such as old age and children’s homes could also benefit from keeping a small group of sterilised feral cats, which would also provide interest and interaction for residents. In instances where this has been done, it has been found to be good for people’s mental and physical health. The famous Coliseum cats in Rome who live among the ruins in Torre Argentina, are a huge tourist attraction and the Italians consider them to be an important part of the Roman “bio-cultural heritage”. These feral cats are featured in many coffee table books and on postcards, and tourists travelling to Italy always expect to see them when visiting the Coliseum.

Similarly, the free roaming cats of the Greek islands, Mykonos, Paros an Naxos, have also been the subject of picture books. Local fishermen are known to share the damaged bits from catches with the cats, who in turn keep the rats away.

Lamu

For those planning a trip a bit further afield, there is always Lamu, a small island off the coast of Kenya. Lamu, Kenya’s oldest living town, was founded in the 14th Century. It is one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa and the old city is inscribed on the World Heritage List as “the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa”. The port of Lamu has existed for at least a thousand years. The town’s history is marked by a Portuguese invasion which began in 1506 and they dominated for many years. After a rebellion against the Portuguese, in 1652, Lamu was assisted by Oman in lifting Portuguese control. Lamu’s years as an Omani protectorate mark the town’s golden age and during this period, Lamu became a centre of poetry, politics, arts and crafts as well as various trades. Today, Lamu is a popular destination for backpackers in search of an authentic experience.

Due to the narrowness of the streets, motor vehicles are not allowed and the city must be explored on foot, by bicycle, or, on donkeys. These wonderful animals do all the heavy work on the island. Fortunately, The Donkey Sanctuary in England has opened a small clinic there are provides free treatment for the 2000-3000 working donkeys living there. Howver, the donkeys are not the only animals working on Lamu and there are thousands of cats living there as well.

The Lamu cats are famous all over the world. They are believed to be a preserved gene pool of the long-legged, fine-boned Egyptian cats of ancient times that travelled on the dhows of Arab traders in past centuries.

In Lamu the cats are still appreciated for efficient work in keeping the rodent population down. Their position in Lamu, where the resident human population is predominantly Muslim, has been enhanced by the fact that the Prophet was particularly fond of cats, as was his first disciple, Abu Hureira, ‘The Father of Kittens’.

Although it is hard to estimate the precise number of cats in Lamu, a conservative figure could be as many as 4,000 in town alone and close to 10,000 in the archipelago. Although most are attached to some household, many are ‘street-cats’, struggling to survive on handouts from fishermen and shop-keepers, scavenging in rubbish bins and catching rats when possible. Fortunately WSPA (www.wspa.org.za) has been involved for several years and ensures that the cats are sterilised.

South Africa – Club Mykonos Resort

Like many similar places, this well-known resort situated on the West Coast is also home to feral cats. According to the PRO, the feral cats on the resort have designated feeding areas and feeding times.  They do request that the guests not feed the cats as they don’t want to encourage the cats to seek out food from the units and thus become a ‘nuisance’ to guests. They have placed collection boxes at reception for guests that wish to assist with caring of the cats are encouraged to make a donation.  The money collected from these boxes is used to purchase feed and to have the cats sterilised.

If you want to go there:

Tel.: 022 707 7000
Website: www.clubmykonos.co.za

South Africa – Pollsmoor Prison

We were very proud to find out that Pollsmoor Prison has decided to follow UWC and adopt the “trap-neuter-release” (TNR) model to deal with their feral cat problem. Rita Brock who developed the proposal that ultimately convinced them to follow this path used the experience of the UWC Feral Cat Project. We commend Pollsmoor for this enlightened and brave stance, which is increasingly necessary in the light of the growing body of evidence that links inter-personal violence and other forms of anti-social behaviour to animal cruelty and abuse. Pollsmoor have previously initiated a successful and unique bird project as part of the rehabilitation of certain violent offenders.

South Africa – Sun City

Sun City, the world famous casino and holiday resort, borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, where there are endangered African Wildcats. In order to prevent the feral cats living in the vicinity of the Sun City restaurants from becoming a nuisance and to keep the population numbers under control, they (under the auspices of Angie Bauer) have embarked on a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) programme. This is also important to prevent the ferals from interbreeding with the Wildcats in the reserve and thereby diluting their gene pool.

To find out more or to help:

Email: angie.bauer@suninternational.com