In spite of ancient cat connections, Cyprus is swamped with strays

NICOSIA, June 24 (Reuters) – Every single day at dawn, as Dinos Ayiomamitis’ little truck…

NICOSIA, June 24 (Reuters) – Every single day at dawn, as Dinos Ayiomamitis’ little truck slowly and gradually navigates the pathway of a cemetery, cats quietly arise from amongst the encompassing tombstones.

“Listed here you go, Bourekka mou,” he murmurs applying a Cypriot term of endearment, as the animals circle his legs and hold out for him to scoop meals from the again of his pickup for them to eat.

Ayiomamitis is 1 of a variety of volunteers having difficulties to feed the hundreds of stray cats on the Mediterranean island.

“There has been no formal rely, but primarily based on our possess evaluation it is really equivalent to the amount of persons, at least,” mentioned Ayiomamitis, who feeds up to 200 cats everyday at different destinations all around Cyprus’ capital Nicosia.

“We are on the lookout at a feral cat populace approaching a million, that is a tough estimate,” claimed Ayiomamitis, chairman of the Cat PAWS society.

Cyprus’ affiliation with cats goes back again hundreds of a long time. In 2004, French archaeologists documented what was described at the time as the earliest historic report of cat domestication, in a 9,500-year-aged burial site.

In 400 Advertisement, Helen of Constantinople was mentioned to have despatched boatloads of cats to the island to hunt venomous snakes.

At a cat sanctuary 80 km (65 miles) from the funds, volunteers locate abandoned cats and their kittens dumped outdoors the fence pretty much every single working day.

Malcolm’s Cats, a sanctuary named immediately after its founder Malcolm C.P. Stevenson, hosts about 200 cats. Below they are stored in a protected, clean setting with entry to foodstuff and vets.

About 100 are re-homed just about every yr, but the number of arrivals conveniently outpaces departures.

“A large amount of unneutered, unsterilized cats, indicates a great deal of kittens just about every year. People are regularly phoning us, dumping cats outdoors,” reported David Fender, operations supervisor and chairman of the Malcolm Cat Safety Culture.

In new several years the point out has established apart 75,000 euros annually for cat sterilizations. This year’s programme started on June 1, but with a ballooning cat population both Fender and Ayiomamitis named it a drop in the ocean.

“The numbers need to be controlled, and they need to have to be managed in a humane way, in an organized way which is led by the government,” claimed Fender.

The Sanctuary is on the edge of a sprawling peninsula on the southern suggestion of Cyprus which itself has strong one-way links to the animals. A monastery close by is focused to ‘St. Nicholas of the Cats’ and was at the time claimed to have two bells a person to individuals connect with to prayer, and a second to contact the cats.

Reporting By Michele Kambas Enhancing by Mike Collett-White

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