What KATs does
- Run a neutering programme for strays and ferals
- Treat sick and injured animals (with veterinary assistance when necessary)
- Provide fostering where appropriate
- Fund neutering and medical treatment where appropriate
- Re-home animals in Greece, Germany, Holland and the UK
- Provide winter feeding
The scale of the animal welfare problem on the island is vast and resources are
limited so KATs has to work smart and direct the money where it will have the most effect.
In real terms this means the neutering programme.
Rehoming isn't such a large part of KATs' work because it's so expensive and difficult
to find good homes for the dogs. But in 2016 KATs was registered with Thomson as having charity status. This reduced the price for transporting adoptions from £600 to
£400 for a dog and £200 for others travelling under the same name. 39 animals were adopted using this incentive and 10 adopted via Holland as flights there cost just €60.
There is also another animal rescue organisation on the island called ARK (Animal Rescue Kefalonia). Where KATs places most emphasis on neutering ARK's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome the island's strays. ARK and KATs are separate organisations but support eachother's work wherever possible. In February 2015 ARK presented KATs with an award in thanks for its efforts. See the ARK section of the site to learn more.
In 2016 KATs was responsible for 731 animal neuters. KATs' total expenditure for 2016
was just under €46,000 and the lions share of that went on vets fees. But, as ever it was a massive help to have had the services of several visiting charity vets. These volunteers save KATs thousands of euros and get a lot of cats neutered in a small amount of time. To give an idea, in March 2015 one volunteer neutered a record 30 cats in one day - 16 females and 14 males. Full price at the vets would have cost €65-70 per female and €35 per male.
In-breeding is a big problem amongst the cats on the island. It's why their immune
systems are so ineffective and they're riddled with health problems. The more KATs
can help get neutered, the healthier the remaining cats will be. An extremely conservative estimate reckons one unspayed female cat could be responsible for 100 more on the streets so every neutered stray is quite literally another 'stitch in time'.
It's an uphill battle but the improvement in the condition of the street cats is evident and KATs is now working hard to do the same for the dogs. In 2013 KATs kick-started the initiative with the 100 dog neuter appeal. In 2014 the Dutch charity Gaia Dogs offered to re-home a number of dogs from the ARK Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Argostoli. Legally these animals had to be neutered before they could travel to their new homes so Gaia Dogs donated €1,000 towards the neutering costs. KATs undertook to match their donation and the dogs were successfully rehomed. Gaia Dogs has maintained a close relationship with both charities and continues to rehome strays in Holland whenever circumstances permit.
Now the municipality has given KATs and ARK use of 2 units to be used as a public neutering clinic, using volunteer vets. They were in a terrible state and it's taken a lot of volunteer man hours and donations to renovate and equip the surgery. The last hurdle is getting final sign-off on the official paperwork then it will be all systems go to neuter up to 20 cats a day and, eventually, make some inroads into neutering the ARK dogs.
The limitations of being a small, working charity
There are always rescued or fostered animals at KATs HQ. You can go and visit if you
like - see Visiting KATs for directions and visiting times. But please bear in mind this
is a small working charity and they just don't have the resources or space to take in
all the dumped or injured animals on the island.
In other words, if you find abandoned puppies or kittens while you are here KATs will
not be able to take them in so please try to find a solution on site if you can.
Having said that, if you find a sick or injured animal and are able to take it to one of the island's 5 vets KATs may be able to help with the cost of the vet's fees (funds permitting). The same applies if you are able to take an animal in for neutering. Obviously, if you would like the charity to help with costs, you need to check with KATs before making any appointments. In an emergency the vets will ring to get authorisation for payment.
The KATs mobile number is (0030) 6942 529874
Pat's mobile is (0030) 6941 668099
The vets all speak English and their surgery numbers are:
- Lefteris Psarros (Argostoli) 26710 22540
- Amanda Micheletti (Svoronata) 26710 42400
- Spiradoula Babesi (Argostoli) 26710 38800
- Niki Gavrielatou (Argostoli) 26711 02620
- Pantelis Toulatos (Sami) 26740 22262