Cyprus and its cats

We are Nadja from Munich (Germany) and Paulo from (Brasil, Santa Catarina), and we moved to the Cyprus' capital in Nicosia in August 2018. Ever since our arrival on the island we're involved in caring for the many strays in Cyprus.

Overpopulation of stray cats has been a cypriot issue for a long time. Latest reports estimate the number of homeless cats at 1.5 million, which means there's more cats living on the island than humans.

The majority of those homeless cats are in very bad condition: Malnourished, injured and eaten alive by parasites.

Foto: "Feral cats sitting" on www.humanesociety.org
Foto: "Feral cats sitting" on www.humanesociety.org

There has always been cats in Cyprus. If one digs deeper into the history of domestication of the first wild cats reports state that Cyprus could have very well been the birth place of the domesticated cat as we know it today.

There once has been a great number of venomous snakes on the mediterannean island of Cyprus. According to many historians cats were imported on the island in 423 bc to help get rid of the life threatening snake plague. 

The cats fulfilled their part of the deal and freed the island from the snakes. But the Cypriots failed to fulfill their part. The cats weren't spayed/neutered and it didn't take long for the cat population to get out of control. 

Besides the cats vital role in managing pests they get no recognition but rather are seen as a pest themselves. Many locals simply don't care to get the overpopulation back in control and believe in "nature handling the problem itself".

Foto: Emre Gencer - Unsplash
Foto: Emre Gencer - Unsplash

In 2008, the cypriot government hand initiated a TNVR-Programme (Trap-neuter-vaccinate-release). Sadly, bBecause of the global economic crisis this programme was stopped shortly after its launch. Ever since there hasn't been further attempts by the governments and since one cannot count on the help of locals, the cat population in Cyprus is growing by the minute.

Within those two and a half years, that we have lived in Nicosia, we already spayed/neutered countless cats, build our "Cat Stations" (shelter for strays) and currently take care of approximately 70 stray cats in Nicosia's linear park.

Vet visits, for example after injuries or treatments of diseases or infections have become a daily ritual for us. Living as a stray cat isn't easy and it certainly is no "paradise" as many locals call it. Those stray cats are already too far away from their wild ancestors and have become domesticated.

Foto: Jerry Wang - Unsplash
Foto: Jerry Wang - Unsplash

The cats are in high danger of being involved in traffic accidents, locals put poison the get rid of the cats and many stray dogs kill or severely injure the stray cats. Animal shelters are constantly overfilled and diseases spread easily within the dense population in the shelters or outside cat colonies. Unneutered tom cats roam from one colony to the next, spreading pathogens widely. Those pathogens are especially dangerous for kittens, who don't have a strong immunal system to fight off bacteria, viruses or parasites. The diseases also affect the mother cats who, because of the added stress of caring for their litter, can't fight off the pathogens as easily as a spayed female or female without kittens would. Malnourished, starving mum cats also don't produce enough milk to feed all of their offspring and unneutered males have a tendency of kittens that aren't their own offspring to achieve mating with the mum cat shortly after her litter is gone.

The result: Only an estimate of 50 percent of the newborn kittens survive the first weeks of their life. Half of those survivors die within the first year of their life beforementioned diseases.

While some people might think that this is exactly what should happen, nature taking care of the overpopulation itself, this "regulation" comes with a great deal of suffering. It's not an easy life nor death for the many cats and kittens who live on the streets and the sadest part is that this is preventable. To find out how click here!


Foto: Nathalie Jolie - Unsplash
Foto: Nathalie Jolie - Unsplash

Many stray cats are actually quite well socialised and suitable to live with humans.

It's our mission to find homes for those adoptable cats and kittens and get as many as possible off Nicosia's streets.

With all the other, non-adoptable cats, we perfrom TNVR (Trap-neuter-release) which is the most effective and humane way to stop the overpopulation of cats and prevent the suffering.

You can help us bei either adopting one or more of our cats or in many other ways.

We're grateful for your support!

You want to help?