Whether you find an animal in need or you want a new family pet, please consider rescue before buying from a breeder or a pet shop.
Many of us are self-confessed ‘animal lovers’. We have a menagerie of pets, spend a lot of time hoovering up fur and cleaning muddy paw prints. And we wouldn’t have it any other way! I’ll gladly admit that I belong to this motley crew with my wonderful rescue cat Ella. I have seen first-hand the trials and tribulations that animals can face on the island of Mallorca and the remarkable work of the charities that help them in their time of need.
Life on the Streets #
It’s heart-breaking the number of animals roaming the streets, in particular cats, although there are areas of the island more prone to stray dogs. For these animals who have been abandoned, life can seem lonely and daunting - without correct healthcare, diseases such as FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline AIDS) are rife. The inability to find the correct food leads to malnourished animals, and although during the summer months many tourists take pity on the street animals and feed them, as soon as they depart the animals are left with nothing and tragically many don’t survive the winter.
In certain areas of the island ‘colonies’ are set up for cats to roam freely, yet receive food and water to ensure they lead healthy lives. In many cases these colonies have also been targeted with poison, and even air rifle attacks to cull innocent lives on a mass scale. These were the circumstances in which my cat was found, shot several times with a pellet gun, requiring major surgery and round the clock care for months. As a result of her attack she lost a full litter of kittens.
Acid Attack in Bunyola #
Sadly, cats are the most vulnerable when it comes to Mallorca’s street animals, it appears that the locals just don’t love them as much as they love their dogs, and often cats find themselves the target of cruel and wicked crimes.
On October 5th, 2019, a poor cat named Joan found himself to be victim of such a crime. The little black and white cat was simply wandering through his neighbourhood in Bunyola, when a local resident sprayed him with hydrochloric acid because he didn’t like Joan ‘being on the steps of his terrace’. For me it is unimaginable to want to cause harm to any creature; and as we all know cats are inquisitive explorers, a simple ‘shoo’ would have been enough to remove him from the garden. Poor Joan suffered burns to his tongue, throat, snout, legs and back, and had it not been for the speedy arrival of a local vet, followed by expert care and treatment he wouldn’t be here today.
Local police have denounced the resident who caused the injuries, for animal mistreatment, and local cats protection society in Bunyola are said to be ‘horrified and saddened’ by what has occurred, as they look after many cats in the area, Joan being one of them.
The Importance of Neutering #
Animals end up on our streets primarily because owners can either not afford to keep them abandon them when they move house or fail to neuter them. There have been countless reports across the local papers of unwanted puppies and kittens found dumped in bins, or thrown in carriers into wasteland - cruel, inhumane and murderous acts committed by those who were meant to love them the most. As a responsible pet owner, neutering your animal (especially if it roams free, i.e. an outdoor cat) clearly is one of the first steps you take. However, the cost can lead some owners to delay or put off this process altogether. On average, prices are around 30€ per cat and 50-100€ per dog (depending on size and weight), based on the cost of the anesthesia and instruments used for the procedure, but many vets charge more, so it's worth trying to negotiate.
Many charities re-home their pets with the cost of neutering included or at a reduced rate. When I adopted my cat Ella, this was part of my package, where she came to me with her spaying operation already booked by the charity and all I had to do was take her in and pay for the chip. Everything else was covered by them - incredible! Not every charity is able to do this as, of course, it is expensive, especially when they run on donations from members of the public and fundraising. So, it is always worth checking directly at the adoption center or with the charity themselves. However, there are two organizations who work closely with the majority of our larger rescue centres and charities to ensure that all animals are neutered before leaving the premises, and these are Baldea and Carocat/ Carodog. Their mobile neutering service is provided to all large shelters which have a duty of care for our animals and making your life that little bit easier if you choose to adopt one!
What You Can Do If You Find A Pet in Need #
If you happen to come across a stray or animal in need, there are many places on the island that provide care and support to our furry friends; however, many are overcrowded and have limited space for extra animals in need. Bear this in mind, many of them will ask if you are able to perform any basic First Aid on injured animals that you find (i.e. bandage and compress any wounds, clean them, offer comfort) and also whether or not you can temporarily look after the animal at your house until you can get it to a vet, or suitable provisions can be made at the shelter for the animal in question. However, primarily these organizations aim to offer safety and salvation and will endeavor to help any animal in need, wherever possible.
Of course, it goes without saying that, if you find an animal with severe injuries, be sure to contact a local vet, or if possible, take the animal there yourself - following this, a relevant charity will be contacted in order to help with aftercare and treatment prices.
Click here>> for a list of rescue and adoption centres on the Island, which animals they take and where to find them.
How You Can Help #
There are many ways in which you can help protect and care for the unwanted and mistreated animals here on the island. First and foremost, volunteering at any of the local shelters, with feeding, walking or even just cuddling duties will be greatly appreciated by all of the shelters! This is a fabulous thing to do, particularly in the winter months when they are in more need of helpers, and you too may perhaps have more time on your hands. Any donations of food and blankets are also gratefully received as animals need to keep warm and cosy in the winter months and make their pen feel as homely as possible with some toasty blankets!
Many of the cat charities on the island take part in an act called ‘Trapping’ where they lure the cat into a special cage (with lots of treats) and transport them to the vet to be neutered, before releasing them to their original colonies, therefore preventing the birth of kittens and limiting the number of strays. They always need volunteers, so if you want to help out then your help will be greatly appreciated (more information to follow)!
Mallorca has many part-time residents, who are unable to commit to adopting an animal full time; however you may be able to offer a foster placement to an animal in need. If you think this is something that you could do, please contact any of the charities listed in our directory to see what you could do to help and make a huge difference to the lives of Mallorca’s most in need.
If you’re able to find just a few euros to donate to any of the animal rescue and adoption centres, or indeed attend any of their fundraising events, then please do. Every little helps, and the people who work and organize all of these things really are the true unsung heroes of Mallorca.
I have a Question (Facebook Page)
Rancho Fino (direct correspondence with owner Stacey via Facebook messenger)
Cats Protection Pollensa (direct correspondence via Whatsapp with founder Louisa)
By Zoé Holmes
5 December, 2019