February 3, 2020 - by Sabine
Are you enjoying your holiday in Samos Island than we advise you go to Samos Cat Rescue. Are you an animal lover and do you like cats in particular? Then spend an afternoon in the Samos cat shelter and hug as many stray cats as you can! It’s fun and the cats will love it.
And naturally, support this cat rescue shelter and give a donation so they can continue this important work for the strays on Samos! A visit to this cat shelter makes your trip more meaningful.
Samos Cat Rescue exists from 2012 and is a collaboration between Greece (Greek Cat Rescue), Germany (Samos Katzenhilfe) and the Netherlands (Stichting Cat Rescue Samos).
The team consists of different nationalities and everyone works on voluntary basis.
Work consists of keeping the shelter running and feeding and taking care of the stay cats on Samos. The shelter works closely with local authorities and vets.
On Samos there are a lot of stray cats and this is traditionally also part of Greece. They look for food at garbage and there is no medical care whatsoever. No one is responsible for these poor animals. The sterilization must ensure a healthy and controlled population and a better life for the cats.
A female cat and its offspring can produce 5000 cats in only 4 years and that’s why sterilization is very important.
In 2019 alone, the Samos cat shelter were able to sterilize more than 800 strays. The cats, both male and female are caught, sterilized and returned to their ‘’home’’ where they came from. This is very important, because they are familiar with the surroundings. In this way they try to keep the population under control.
You can recognize a sterilized cat by the ‘’clip’’ of the left ear, this is an international sign. It is done during the operation and causes no harm or pain to the cat and identifies which cats have been spayed or neutered.
It prevents an already neutered cat the stress of re-trapping and more importantly, an unnecessary surgery. All vet work is performed by qualified vets from Europe and Samos, often on a voluntary basis.
Medical treatment of injured or sick stray cats and, if necessary, taken care of in the shelter for longer time. Many cats are weakened, sick, or injured and they try to help as many cats as possible.
They try to feed the stray cats in winter time as much as possible. There are many tourists on the island from may to October and hotels and shops are open. Many tourists feed the cats, just like we did, we always carried food with us when we were going somewhere.
The cats can easily get food and water, but it’s difficult to survive in winter. That is why the cats are fed as much as possible at ‘’feeding stations’’. These are not official because sadly, not all Greeks love the cats and try to poison them.
There is also an adoption program for cats to find a forever home on Samos or elsewhere in Europe. If you are interested, keep an eye on the website and Facebook page of Samos Cat Rescue. A cat is ready for adoption when he or she is at least 4 months old, has an animal passport and is medical checked.
Furthermore, they have a shelter where cats are taken care of when they cannot go back to the street. These are usually cats that are medically treated and cannot save themselves anymore.
They also inform the locals about how to take care of the stays and they try to work together with local authorities.
During our trip on Samos we saw lots of strays and to be honest, we found it very difficult to see. Many were in bad condition or hungry. It’s hard to see they don’t have a loving home.
We also spoke to locals about how they deal with the stray cats and the differences with the Netherlands.
For Greeks it’s normal cats are wandering on the streets and we have spoken some Greeks who make the comparison with vermin, we find it heartbreaking. They say that the cats are only useful for catching mice and rats, nothing more. For us, that’s difficult because we are huge animal lovers.
Our love for cats is special, we have a cat at home and we love him so much. When visiting Samos, we already were determined to go to this Samos cat shelter. To do something good while enjoying our stay. The shelter is easy to find and you can park your car at the front. We were warmly welcomed by Mike; the main volunteer from England who has been living on the island since 2004. He told us extensively who he was and what they do in the cat shelter. In advance, we bought 40 cans of cat food and not unimportant we gave a donation in cash.
After our talk with Mike we were able to walk around and spoke to some Dutch volunteers. Immediately when you enter the shelter, you feel the warmth, so many cats together who all want some attention and love from you. They lie on your lap, climb in your neck and all giving hugs and paws.
They have a facility for sick cats and a large garden where the cats can recover, relax and don’t have to worry about surviving on the street. It’s a wonderful place to spend your afternoon and to surround you with all the saved stray cats. We saw cats with all kinds of health problems and suffering from weakness and exhaustion. Cats with lost eyes, missing tails, cats with eye infections.
We had mixed feelings about our visit to the shelter. It was great to spend some time with the saved cats and to be able to hug them, but at the same time it made us sad. Because here you can actually see how hard life can be for a stray. This visit was confronting, more than we thought.
- Of course, you don’t have to be physically there to improve the conditions of the Samos cats. Since the foundation works with unpaid volunteers and completely dependent on donations, every gift is welcome! Have a look on their website to see how you can make a donation via Paypal or Bank Transfer.
- In addition, they are always looking for volunteers and flight escorts who take cats with them on a flight on the way to their new forever home. When we visited the shelter we spoke with a few volunteers who helped there for a week. Nothing is required, you decide by yourself how many hours you want to help and you can combine it with your holiday.
- Samos Cat Rescue always need medicines, food, blankets, toys, beds etc. Send them an email if you want to send some stuff. They will help you organize orders via Zooplus. They have a special deal with Zooplus so you can buy supplies for a wholesale price. Also they have a sponsored transport to Greece.
- You can feed (and give water!) the cats on the streets, but don’t do this at a hotel or restaurant. Feed in a quiet area away from guests and never leave garbage behind. And don’t give human food, but buy some cat food, it’s cheap and almost everywhere available.
- Please be careful when driving! Cats just cross the road.
- If you find a sick or injured cat, try to take the cat to a local vet.
- If you find kittens, leave them alone initially. The mother cat is maybe hunting or seeking food. Don’t touch them and come back a few times to check if mother returned.
- On Samos cats can have an owner too. Don’t take them with you if you are not certain.