Limassol animal rights activists are asking the state and city authorities to help them open a cat park, a space designed for 6,000 stray animals who will find their new home here. Officially, the authorities welcome these initiatives, but they are in no hurry to take concrete actions.
Established in 2019, Catnation, an initiative group to help stray cats, feeds stray animals, organizes veterinary care and spaying for them. In addition, social activists carry out a lot of information and educational work – they tell the society about the plight of these animals. In 2019, Catnation approached the authorities for a site in the Pyrgos area where they could open a 6,000-cat park. The association’s president, Sophocles Nikolaides, said at an event held in Limassol last week that there are over a million stray cats in Cyprus and has asked for state support. “This is not just about creating a park, but also about changing the attitude towards animals in Cypriot society, ” he said .. “Seeing homeless kittens sick, abandoned or dead on the street is a dubious pleasure.”
As conceived by the authors of the idea, the cat park will help to cope with the problem of homeless cats in Cyprus. According to the Catnation project, conditions for recreation for children and adults, a children’s playground, a cafe, educational and information stands will be created here. But the main goal of the new establishment is to create a safe space for stray cats. Here, animals will be given shelter, veterinary care will be provided, if necessary, a sterilization procedure will be performed. Any cat from the new shelter can be taken home. “This institution guarantees a comprehensive approach to the problem of stray animals and its effective solution. The project will help raise awareness of the problem at the local level, and help optimize the tourism product,” said animal rights activist Eleni Nikita.
Another goal of this initiative is to sterilize at least 5,000 stray cats annually. For comparison, within the framework of the current state program, 1,100 animals are subjected to the procedure. It is assumed that the result of this work will be a decrease in the population of stray animals by 300,000 individuals.
Volunteer and Chairman of Cats Paws Dinos Agiomamitis prepares food for stray cats in Nicosia. Photo 2021, source cyprus-mail.com
Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Development and Environment Costas Cadiz sent his message to the participants of the event. He assured that the government will continue to allocate an annual subsidy of 100,000 euros to the cat neutering program, as well as an annual grant for this purpose to animal welfare organizations. Cadiz thanked the volunteers and announced a donation from his department to Catnation. The aid amounted to 1,000 euros.
The mayor of Limassol, Nikos Nikolaidis, called Catnation’s plans “ambitious” and “requiring a lot of effort.” A special role in this work is assigned to the state – now it is necessary to approve at the legislative level the possibility of providing a place for a cat park. He noted that the subsidy that the municipality receives from the state for the sterilization of cats is “negligible”. Especially given the scale of the problem. This leads to the fact that local authorities have to spend municipal funds to solve the problem. The mayor also said that the city, for its part, is taking a number of steps in this direction. In particular, the municipalities within the borders of Limassol have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture to establish a dog shelter in Mouttayiaq. As part of this initiative, part of the funds that will be requested from the state, could be used to create a cat shelter on the same site, Nikolaidis said. He also added that this proposal will be discussed with animal welfare organizations.