Friday, 6 November 2009

Read This Post Or The Kitten Gets It

One of the many strays that populate Montjüic.

If you've ever read my other blog, you'll know that I have a soft spot for cats. In fact most non-human mammals have a snug little place in my soppy middle-aged heart, so it was with some trepidation that I went along to the  fifth Salónanimaladda a few weeks ago. The yearly event is attended by various NGOs concerned with animal welfare, animal lovers - and their pets.

But the stars of the show are the many dozens of dogs, cats - and this year a couple of ferrets - that are in need of adoption, and one of the main aims of the whole thing is to find loving homes for these animals.

The tactics used to procure new owners are pretty direct. Firstly, the animals are on display on the various stands run by the attending NGOs. In addition, there's a parade of homeless dogs a few times a day. The dog is led out along the catwalk while an MC gives us the full sorry details of its life to date, its character, and what sort of home would be ideal for it. I've embedded a smashing report on the proceedings from BTV .

The organisers also encourage school trips to the show, and so unsurprisingly many animals end up with a new home - a huge victory for pester power . And according to ADDA , the vast majority of adoptions are successful, so the organisers' tactics seem more than justified.

Barcelona, like most cities has a problem of abandoned animals, and many of the cats get ditched on Montjüic and other areas. Kind-hearted locals can regularly be seen distributing food and water to the needy cats, many of which are confused and disorientated after being dumped, often at an early age.

Obviously after a very short while areas can become over-run with semi-feral cats producing litter after litter. These colonies often live in waste ground between buildings or in the central patio of a manzana, or on the roofs of lower buildings. They can make quite a mess, and one hell of a racket, so there is often a lot of tension between the pro- and anti-cat residents.

Thankfully, organisations like Progat can act to mediate between the two factions. They also try to bring a colony's numbers and health under control by sterilizing cats, and advising those looking after the felines. And if you follow the above link, you'll see that they also have a large number of cats in need of re-housing - sometimes the last resort when a cat isn't fitting into the rough-and-ready life in the colony. Progat even screens urban moggies for FIV and other diseases, which affects a shockingly large proportion of abandoned and feral street cats as it often spread by the bites and scratches inflicted in territorial disputes and other cat fights.

If any of this information has tugged your heart-strings sufficiently, I urge you to find out more about these organisations, get involved, adopt or simply donate to ADDA or Progat - or both - so they can continue their good work

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