The final total for the 2013/14 winter feeding programme was 1494 euros, with some foodstuffs kindly donated by Sotiris in the Village + Hatzipetros in the harbour supermarkets. Volunteers took food for the street-cats 2 or 3 times weekly for at least 5 months, to over 20 locations. A few of the volunteers who feed larger numbers, received an extra supply of biscuits after the initial distribution in early December. Thankyou all, for your commitment, the island cats are looking good now that summer has arrived and hopefully, their supply of tasty scraps! During the winter, we managed to get 5 cats over to a vet on Rhodes, for either treatment or neutering. Another Rhodes’ vet has also been to the island 3 times recently, specifically for vaccinations & general check-ups, he hopes to continue these visits on a monthly basis. Our volunteer UK vet, has just completed a successful week, when 41 cats were neutered; a truly international ‘team’ made it possible – a German volunteer helping a Greek neighbour, a Swiss volunteer transporting a French friend’s cats, a Danish volunteer organising delivery of cat-boxes to a Greek retired sea-captain……………….we are delighted with the fantastic co-operation of all involved. Our collection boxes can be found at the Sunrise kafeneion, Kalodoukas, Symi Visitor & Symi Dream offices. We look forward to seeing you at some point during the summer. Your support is amazing, thankyou, Melanie, Tove, Suzan, Claudia & Hazel
The winter weather up until now, has been fairly good, however, the street cats are looking somewhat bedraggled today after terrific storms recently. A few of our volunteers have been away at some stage, but all of the feeding stations have been regularly visited several times each week throughout the winter months, ensuring that the cats receive their winter diet of pasta, biscuits & canned food. It is good to see that most of the kittens who were quite small late last year, are still appearing at the stations – they have matured, stayed safe and have grown into fit & strong animals. Once we’ve had the final supermarket total ( the usual ‘avrio’ reply when I say that we’d like to pay!) this year’s successful feeding programme should be drawing to a close. It is wonderful to notice that the cat colonies are occasionally fed by others also – ‘my’ cats at Kampos bins are regularly treated to scraps of meat & fish, but never ‘turn up their noses’ at the pasta- mixture. The bin-cats are doing so well these days! As some of you may have read on different websites, a vet from Rhodes hopes to visit the island on a monthly basis; he will be doing vaccinations & examinations only, for now at any rate. Unfortunately, bad weather stopped his planned trip last weekend, but all being well, he’ll be here towards the end of this week. This is brilliant news for the island and we hope to work closely with him in the future. Melanie x
"I'm sure there were only four last week!"
We have just completed a fantastic vet-week, sponsored entirely by Symi Animal Welfare. Your generous donations allowed it to take place, such kindness made it happen! Hazel and Suzan now have the task of working out the accounts, but an estimated cost is around the 2000 euro mark (this figure also includes replenishing stocks of anitibiotics, wormers, eye treatments etc for use all year round) Volunteers & supporters of so many nationalities have ensured that it was such a success, you’ve been brilliant!
In all, 88 animals received treatment –
34 female cats spayed
20 male cats neutered
1 female dog neutered
3 tooth extractions
1 microchip + vaccination
We can now start organising/ordering supplies for the winter feeding programme which will hopefully commence at the beginning of December.
Thankyou so much for your continuing support and amazing generosity, Tove, Suzan, Hazel, Claudia and Melanie xxxxxx
The summer heat-wave continues when the evening lows don’t offer much respite either; as the sun begins to go down from around 8pm, the cats decide to venture out from daytime shady sleeping-places found during the hottest hours. The hunt for food is left until evening and street cats congregate at traditional feeding-places, part of their daily routine - but during this meltdown period, rubbish skips are emptied very regularly for obvious reasons; as the desire to eat is much less, the street cats sit around at the bins anyway, relaxing in the slightly cooler conditions, without much interest in any new food-scraps delivered. Those of you who have already visited the island recently will have noticed how thin many of the street cats are, be assured that this is ‘normal’ during high summer. Even house-cats have reduced appetites. Drinking however is essential for survival, so please can we ask you to leave & top-up a plastic container of water, in a safe, shaded location where you’ve noticed that cats are. Insects & lizards are attracted to the water too, so don’t be surprised if the old ice-cream container becomes your personally donated Symi oasis! Many of the owners of rental properties don’t want cats on the premises, because not all guests like our feline friends unfortunately, but a suitable place for a water container can be found easily enough nearby. Sadly, some sad news – Mickey passed away last week, he had not been well for a long time. His presence around the harbour area will be missed and our thoughts are with Pat who will miss him so very much. Delphi continues to be fit & fully recovered, she is as gentle & sweet as ever after a frightening attack of Tic-fever. The collection box at the Sunrise has been emptied mid-season - donations + monies received for animal medications totalled over 300 euros, thankyou for your support. At the end of October, we plan to start up our veterinary programme once again, dependent on the boat situation of course. The system seemed to work last winter when we took 28 cats to Rhodes for treatment and/or neutering.
It may seem a little strange talking about Symi Animal Welfare’s feeding programme when the temperature today is 27.3 in the shade at the front of our house! But finally we can tell you the final amount spent on foodstuffs for the street cats…………………..1180.20 euros……..split between just 2 supermarkets this time. The 2 shopkeepers also donated a small quantity of foodstuffs + they helped with deliveries, thankyou so much to Dino Hatzipetros in the harbour and Sotiris Diasinos in the Village. The biggest thankyou though is to everyone who has donated and supported us over the years, without you, none of this would have been possible. Love from, Hazel, Melanie, Tove, Claudia & Suzan xxxxx
Hello friends and supporters, we apologise for being so slow in publishing an update re our activities on the island. Time simply rushes away! So, to keep you all in the picture, here is the latest news:- A couple of weeks into the new holiday season, a number of early visitors have remarked on how healthy overall, the street cats are looking. The extended winter feeding programme could well have played a part in that, volunteers took food 2 or 3 times per week to all main residential areas from November until April. For the 3rd year running, even cats in the Nimborio area received food. Thanks to your donations, it was possible to distribute extra foodstuffs to volunteers responsible for the larger cat communities – in Pedi for example, where 30 or so cats are cared for by 2 residents. We have been unable to let you know the final amount spent on cans, pasta & biscuits because the shop-owners are being tardy for some reason?! Our main supplier however, Sotiris in the Village, has told me only today, that he now has a bill for us! We’ll be letting him have payment later in the week. He, along with Hatzipetros supermarket in Yialos, each donated food towards the programme. Even though there were quite a lot of boat cancellations due to bad weather during the winter, we managed to take 28 cats over to a vet on Rhodes. This particular vet had agreed back in October, to come over here to hold a much needed surgery, but, for a number of reasons, this never happened unfortunately. She therefore came up with another idea which was that, we send cats over to her, they would be collected from the boat & then returned later in the day after neutering. However, even though the animals would be safe inside cat-boxes, the boat company insists that they are escorted by humans, this is written in their rules & regulations. Several volunteers therefore escorted cats, up to 5 at one time, to the surgery over the winter – 28 in all. Another initiative, this time by the Mayor and his council, which was enforced a while ago, is that all dogs be registered at the council offices. The residents who went along to register had to provide evidence of regular inoculations & pet-passport, we were each given a printed sheet stating the law re leashes, fouling and cruelty issues….the ‘famous dogs’ ie Delfi, Kookie & Loulou all are now on-record!! Hopefully, this registration will encourage responsibility too? We would like to say thankyou for your continuing support and for donations received during the winter. If you’re on the island over the summer months, we’d love to meet you. Hazel, Suzan, Claudia, Tove & Melanie xxxx
At last, our volunteers have received most of the supplies required to feed the cats this winter. Friends have alerted us to several new communities of street cats recently, so they too will receive food 2 or 3 times each week. These colonies tend to relocate as summer-only visitors leave the island, often moving again when weather conditions deteriorate, keeping us on our toes when deciding on the best locations for the feeding stations. With 20 scattered stations ,we really hope that our cats find one of them and enjoy the food left there! The menu this winter is the same as always I'm afraid though kitties.....canned Rokus, biscuits and macaroni. Most of the volunteers tend to supplement supplies with foodscraps from the family's evening meal, so you can also expect a few surprises guys - bolognaise, risotto, chicken casserole, liver & onions, maybe a few bits of roast meat or barbequed fish if you're lucky! We send our best wishes for Christmas and in the New Year, we also want to repeat our thanks for your amazing generosity and support. Hope to see you in 2013, much love, Melanie, Hazel, Tove, Suzan & Claudia xxxxxxxx
Readers will remember that back in June we announced a fund-raising raffle to be run over the summer period to win an original painting by Corinsh artist Sarah Bassett of the famous kitten Jack from the Sunrise Kafenion. The painting was generously donated by by Symi Dream.
Photograph by Terri Baker
The draw for the raffle took place at The Sunrise Kafeninon on Wednesday 31st. October and was performed in fine style by the star of the show: Jack The Kitten himself!
The winners of the original painting are Hans and Tove Holt. Congratulations to them from all at Symi Animal Welfare.
Our ever-generous friends at Symi Dream also donated two other prizes for the raffle. The second prize, a Symi Dream 10 years on Symi slideshow with music DVD was won by Rosie Clasby and the third prize of a Symi Dreams music CD went to Steve Burford.
We would like to thank Symi Dream, Sarah Bassett and everyone who took part in the raffle for their support. The final total has still to be calculated but we expect the event to have raised around 250 Euros. A truly wonderful result!
Our good friends over at Symi Dream sent us this lovely picture of the cats at the bins by the windmills checking out their food source for new titbits.
"What..no food scraps today?! Never mind, the Symi Animal Welfare volunteers will soon be bringing us something delicious to eat several times a week!"
Unfortunately, our hopes of bringing a vet over to Symi later this month have been dashed - too many obstacles were put in the way. A number of threats have been made on a certain website which many of you will know about, by people who apparently care deeply for the animals of Symi?
Far from showing any true concern, these individuals have actually illustrated their true colours; they are more interested in upsetting the good relationship developed between the mayor and his council, Symi Animal Welfare team and its volunteers, a Rhodes lawyer and lastly, but very importantly, several of the vets on Rhodes.
Many of our friends and neighbours will be so disappointed, but the vet would have been here for less than 48 hours, so operations would naturally have been limited.
There are countless vets, working voluntarily on essential outreach projects throughout Greece, all the time. Do these characters seriously believe that all the neutering of street cats on the islands takes place in licensed premises......... or is their intention to threaten and ultimately stop every animal welfare group within Greece?
They are also insulting the professionalism of the vets and trained assistants who are willing to work voluntarily in providing a service. Valuable time and energy can be taken up trying to avoid any unnecessary conflict/potential problems created by these guys when really we should be concentrating on the welfare of the island street animals.
So, with this in mind, over the last few weeks, after prior arrangement with a couple of vets on Rhodes, our volunteers have been taking cats over to Rhodes. Not particularly the most cost-effective method of controlling the cat population on Symi, but at least we can assure you all that we are constantly thinking of alternative ways to look after their welfare. The vets concerned are really sympathetic towards our small organisation and are happy to work with us in both the short and long-term.
Until the current situation is resolved or ideally, there are fully licensed veterinary premises on the island, we shall continue with these vet-trips. five cats will be on an adventure this week, bringing the total so far to thirteen.
As always, thankyou for your generosity and support,
Claudia, Melanie, Tove, Hazel and Suzan
October 4th is World Animal Day
Symi Animal Welfare would like to congratulate all animal lovers; every individual, group or organisation, globally but especially in Greece, who work tirelessly to protect, rescue and care for endangered species, feral communities, abused domestic breeds, circus and farm animals.
Melanie, Tove, Hazel, Claudia & Suzan
Visitors on Symi are making the most of the cooler temperatures, the low sun creating a golden glow to everything, the shorter evenings and the last few weeks of a regular boat schedule.
There seems to have been an increase in the number of kittens born over the last couple of months, our volunteers have been alerted to several, apparently abandoned little ones; it isn't necessarily the kindest thing to do to relocate such a kitten however distressed it may appear, the mother may simply have gone away to find food, only returning to find her family gone. Often, not even properly weaned, we try our best to help the mite survive, but without mother's milk they will die or certainly have no proper immune system to grow fit and strong. Sadly, this has happened a few times recently despite our efforts.
A number of older kittens, approximately 8 - 12 weeks, have quite simply turned up at a house, hoping to be given some food or even a home.
This was the case with two young ginger kittens, quite possibly from the same litter. One now lives with us, the other at the Sunrise Kafeneion!
We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so generously this season and as mentioned in previous reports, especially to Christine Brown and Samantha & Henry Dingle. We are also grateful to Madeline Hilton for the donation after the recent funeral of her husband Jonathan. You are all so very kind and your generosity enables us to continue helping the animals on the island.
Finally, some really exciting news. We are currently organising a vet visit for the end of October, with the full blessing of the mayor, he has even offered to find suitable premises for use as a 'clinic'. It may have taken a long time but at last the community of Symi is all working together for the welfare of the cats and dogs.
Once we have finalised plans, full details of venue and times etc will be publicised.
At the recent funeral of local resident Ron Brown, everyone dressed in bright clothing, his family explained that this had been his wish. They also asked that only family flowers be taken along to the service at St John's church in Yialos. Instead, they asked that a donation be made to Symi Animal Welfare on the day.
A total of 71 euros was collected to help the street animals of Symi.
May we offer our sincerest condolences to Christine and your lovely family.
With many thanks,
Claudia, Hazel, Melanie, Tove & Suzan
Thursday's fundraising event was a great success and we would like to thank everyone who came along to the Sunrise to listen to sweet, folk sounds from Sam and Henry, to buy raffle tickets for great prizes, to join in with George's more 'rocky' music, to fuss all the animals who live there or simply to sample a tipple or two!
A big thank you to Kevin & Claudia for the venue and their hospitality, plus a very generous 50% of bar takings, another to Rhiannon for a great raffle prize, another to Sam and Henry for not only their lovely songs but for the initial idea............. and a cuddly toy!
It was a very enjoyable evening and an amazing 412.95 Euros was raised.
Your support for Symi Animal Welfare is fantastic.
On Thursday 23rd August we are having a fund-raising event at the Sunrise Cafenion in Chorio
There will be live folk music by 'Sam and Henry'.
Entrance is free but you will be expected to buy a raffle ticket (or several) to win the original Sarah Bassett painting of Jack the kitten pictured below.
50% of the bar takings on the night will be donated to SAW so if you do attend remember to drink a lot - it's in a good cause.
First, we have news of the chance to win a lovely prize!
This original painting of the famous kitten Jack from the Sunrise Kafenion in Chorio by Corinsh artist Sarah Bassett has been generously donated by our good friends at Symi Dream to raise funds for SAW.
Raffle tickets are on sale at the Sunrise Kafenion or from SAW volunteers on the island at a cost of just one Euro each.
For those not familiar with Sarah Bassett's work, this is a little bit of information from the Cornwall Artist Index:
Born in the West country, Sarah now lives in Penzance where she paints mainly subjects in natural history and landscape. She is also a trained potter and worked in ceramics prior to her return to Cornwall. She graduated from Ravensbourne School Of Art in painting and pottery.
The raffle will be drawn on October 31st 2012 and all the proceeds go directly to Symi Animal Welfare. Good luck!
And now to the news report:
At the start of the summer we were very pleased to welcome back Martin Bilson, a vet who had previously visited us from the UK and some years ago had held surgeries on Symi. He was able to bring us some vet medications which we had ordered to add to our stock here which does become quickly depleted, especially at this time of the year.
At a recent commitee meeting in June we discussed the vet options, as there has been no veterinary surgery for more than a year now. However, due to having received a substantial donation recently we are hoping it will be possible to organise a vet visit this year, perhaps in October, all being well.
This generous donation also enabled us to take cats over to Rhodes in mid-June. Two of our SAW team members Melanie and Suzan, assisted by another volunteer, Rhiannon, took six cats for neutering and other medical treatment, working with two vets in Rhodes who have always been very understanding of our 'island situation'.
We were pleased to have the kind co-operation of the boat crews who helped us to carry cat boxes on and off the ferries and the very few taxi drivers in Rhodes who will transport cats in boxes! All our cats behaved very well, with a very little 'miaowing', even though they did attract quite a lot of attention from foreign visitors and locals too! We are pleased to report that the whole operation was a complete success and we didn't mind that it was a long hot tiring day for us. It was the sense of achievement that really counted! All the treated cats are doing very well.
In the Greek Islands we have had mid-summer temperatures already in June. It's that time of the year when our cats look for a shady place to sleep during the hot hours of the day, in the slightly more cool temperatures of the evenings they venture out in search of some food, and at that time can be seen around the bins areas. Cats are survivors and quickly learn where the nearest source of food is, be a taverna or restaurant or the rubbish skip! However we can all help the feral cats of the island by providing them with fresh drinking water, so important when it's hot, cats do need to drink to avoid dehydration and even if it's just a used plastic food container placed in an appropriate spot it will be much appreciated by any passing cats and could be a real life-saver for young kittens, who after being weaned really need to drink water.
We would like to remind all our visitors that we are here to give advice and to help with any animal problems during the summer months on the island.
Suzan and Hazel
For many weeks now, the Orthodox Greek people have been making preparations for the holiest time in their spiritual calendar. This is the last week of serious fasting, even cooking oil cannot be used when preparing a diet consisting mainly of pulses. After the church service around midnight on Saturday next, Christos Anesti (Christ has risen) is heard on every street corner and the long fast of Lent is broken.
Even the street cats' routine of scavenging from the dustbins is forced to wait until after Easter, when the remnants of delicious meats and fish from household kitchens and restaurants can once again be retrieved! Of course, the winter feeding programme has generally continued up to this point and, judging by the number of kittens born to healthy mums recently, 2011/12 was a great success. Your generosity has once again enabled the programme to be implemented.
This will be the last monthly report as we have decided to write four quarterly ones instead; apart from myself, other members of our small team will offer a different insight. The next report will come from our two treasurers outlining expenditure in more detail.
Kalo Paska, Happy Easter, Melanie