As I often say: ‘If only I could win the lottery,’ then I would have the funds to answer all the calls for help I receive. But thanks to several generous donations I have been able to do a great deal to help the plight of these feral cats.
Earlier this year, Paolina, the lady who is building an animal refuge was enabled to install a water supply and construct enclosures to house the dogs and cats she rescues. I was also happy to contribute to Elke’s store of cat food to see the numerous colonies she feeds through the winter.
As the summer season approached, I began to dread the flood of emails I would receive from tourists in Sicily, anxious and distressed by the plight of cats and kittens. Catsnip, they told me, was the only resource they could find on the Internet. There was Helen whose honeymoon was disrupted by the sightings of a tiny, lost kitten. She carried it back to the apartment where she was staying and secretly fed it there. What would she do when she had to leave? I contacted Raimonda, the lovely volunteer of a local animal welfare group of volunteers. On her advice, Helen presented herself and the tiny kitten at the local police station. When the policemen seemed disinclined to help, she used the ancient female ploy of tears, which succeeded in melting their hearts. Little Gavroche has now been adopted by another local volunteer and living the life of Riley.
A cat suffering from the awful eye disease that is rife in Sicily arrived in Sadie’s apartment. The disease had progressed and it was obvious the cat was blind. Another holiday interrupted by a feral feline! Sadie was in despair. ‘I’ve fallen in love with her and I want to bring her back to England to live with us.’ I gave her the telephone number of a wonderful vet who has a special affection for these feral animals. Trovatella (which means little waif) had an operation, was neutered and is now awaiting Sadie’s return to pick her up. This is a joyous ending to what could have been a tragedy. Blind cats cannot survive on the streets and are prey to predators. This small creature will be cared for for the rest of her life.
Dawn another devoted cat lover had to abandon her quest to help Lionel, a ginger and white cat she passed every day during her holiday. ‘He looked such a poor little creature it broke our r hearts and partly spoilt our holiday.’ Because of language problems she was not sure if the cat had an owner and felt that she couldn’t whisk it away without advising them. However, I was able to contact a local English woman who lives in Taormina and she is dealing with the problem. Let’s hope there is another happy outcome.
These are just three of the many I deal with and which will feature in my book about my experiences with cats in Sicily, due to be published next year.
As I write I am planning my next trip to Sicily. I’ll be interviewing people for the book and setting up my next neutering trip for early next Spring. These trips are expensive and, of course, any donations would be very welcome.