The night before I flew out to Spain, I found out that my Teddy, who was due to be coming to the U.K in June, had been put to sleep. He had gone missing a few days earlier and my Spanish friend Sagrario, who fed and cared for him at the port discovered that someone who fed the other harbour cats, had taken him to the vets and had him put to sleep as he was ill. Now, he always looked a little shabby and had ongoing eye problems which was why I was bringing him here initially but Sagrario, had not thought he was ill. I was told I could meet the German woman who took him to the vets and while I was devastated by the news, I was eager to meet the person who had helped him. When I met her she told me he had F.I.P which I found strange as even with a blood test, it is very difficult to diagnose with any certainty but it was too late. I was so upset but had to accept that he was gone and that I had done everything I could to help him but it still wasn’t enough. it was a risk I took when I decided not to put him through 6 months of gruelling quarantine and I had felt relatively happy that he would be safe in the port under the care of Sagrario who did her best. R.I.P dear Teddy.
I went to the other more remote side of the port which is more of a boatyard to see how the group of about 10 cats was doing. A man there feeds them but straight away, I could see something wasn’t right and almost immediately I found two dead cats-a ginger and a little tortoiseshell who had just been a small kitten in October when I had taken 3 from there to be neutered. It was an awful shock and I still have no idea what had happened and when I spoke to the feeder, he didn’t seem to know which cats he was feeding anymore-he thought he was still feeding them all but over the whole week, there were at least two more unaccounted for. I am concerned that he feeds them fish each day which on one hand, is great but I noticed lots of huge fish-bones lying around which could get stuck in a cat’s throat.
I was initially pleased to hear that the Town Hall had started another neutering project but when I spoke to them, they told me they had a budget of 3000 euros which actually only covers about 20 cats! It is better than nothing but not much better-it is a shame, as they have the chance to really make an impact and become a showcase for demonstrating the positive effects of neutering.
I had to visit the Town hall again as I was surprised to see that although most of the cats in the park have been neutered, (including some I did in October,) and are looking healthy and happy now, the park keepers were removing the cat’s water bowls. This is just inhumane and sends out the message that they really don’t care. The cats have been there for a long time and have never been healthier than they are at present. I have not yet had a reply from my formal complaint. I want to keep things on a friendly basis but it is exasperating sometimes. I just hope that someone keeps sneaking water bowls in the bushes as I did.
A lot of other negative things happened on this trip which were quite stressful and time consuming but there were a few good bits! Mama Cat was fine and relaxed and the rest of Luigi’s strays are on fine form-that was lovely to see….he really has a heart of gold. One morning he came running out of his shop calling my name-he had found a tiny kitten dumped behind the shop! It was such a pretty little boy and of similar colouring to a kitten who had been dumped there before-almost like an oriental type, very odd. I took it to the vets and pleaded with them to look after it for me and by the next day, he had found a loving home with other cats and dogs….he was very lucky indeed.
Another positive thing was that I had a very sweet female neutered at the last minute… I had to frantically draw maps as the vet Anna, had very kindly offered to return her to the street she came from as I would be back on the plane before she had her op. She wouldn’t have been able to be done otherwise so would have her kittens on a road where other kittens had not lasted long…..I couldn’t bear the thought. I was relieved when Anna told me the cat wandered off contentedly when she took her back and so, I will leave you on that happier note!
P.S When I returned, I had an email from a local Spanish newspaper who want to write a story-I’m just looking into it but they are very interested.