This is the story of Nesma, a lovely dancer of Greek heritage who left the states to be in the country of her youth. Having traveled to Athens to visit family for a while, she decided to vacation on the Island of Paros where she would soon discover a certain destiny awaited her.
It was September of 2020 when Nesma started to volunteer with some of the local animal organizations. Not long after she found herself feeding and taking care of up one hundred and fifty cats give or take a few. At first the number of cats she cared for were small, but multiplied at an alarming rate due to the lack of sterilization. Her work is now an endless cycle of feeding and taking care of the Island cats of Paros.
Every night Nesma drives several miles to different villages, through dark, desolate, mountainous areas to feed several colonies of cats. Sometimes along the long, dark roads she passes a random car racing through the streets which she has stopped on occasion to allow for the crossing of cats. Sadly though, she finds herself picking up little dead bodies killed by the darting vehicles and clueless folks behind the wheel.
The amount of work Nesma does is incredibly overwhelming for just one person to do! She deals with hungry cats, diseased cats, special needs cats, cats that need to be spayed and neutered, pregnant cats and injured cats, some in the most horrific conditions. Very few people care for the cats of Paros or any of the Greek islands for that matter. Her work with the cats only intensifies when she comes across with the some of the locals; people that have done things a certain way for generations, people with backward mentalities and with people who know no better or are just plain ignorant, uncaring and insensitive.
Nesma is just one of a handful of people who have taken on the responsibility of caring for the multitude of cats that keep increasing and the reality is there are very few people willing to help to spay, neuter and care for them. As of now she has no hands-on support from anyone on the island of Paros in Greece. The local communities and animal organizations she has reached out to for aid are overwhelmed with the growing number of cats they care for themselves. Unfortunately, the government gives very little money to the municipalities for the sterilization of the cats and because there are so many, the funds are just not enough!
Nesma's only allies in the US is another dancer named Samara Adell who has done fundraising and adoptions for her and is the main liaison for anyone interested in helping and Heather Hook who has helped as well. They have basically been her only source of support.
Presently, Nesma finds herself at a breaking point physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially! She doesn’t know how much longer she can do the work and is reaching out for help! As you can see her situation is dire and she desperately needs help!
Adopt- a cat or two if you can.
Donate: she is in need of financial aid for food, cat litter, to spay and neuter, vet bills, travel expenses for cats she is adopting overseas- https://gofund.me/f0a92a8e
Share her story on social media
Volunteer anyone going to Greece and would like to volunteer to help care for the cats
Foster there are many cats that need foster homes
Flight Escorts to accompany cats on a plane from Greece to a foster or forever home
Reach out to animal organizations that may offer her some support
The hope is to bring the cats of Paros and Nesma some relief in whatever way we can. Any ideas or help is greatly appreciated! Please feel free to contact us here.
How hard is it to feed a stray cat on the street? Paulina feeds several cats in a Queens, NY neighborhood within a 10-block radius, 365 days out of the year. She is out there in the cold, in the heat, when it rains or snows. All the cats are feral and though they won’t come near her, they depend on her to get fed and Paulina can’t sleep until she has fed them all. It is a labor of love, caring and compassion, but what Paulina has to deal with to get these cats fed is intolerable and insensitive people! So, she goes through the night trying to avoid them. Not an easy thing to do! People make it extremely difficult and uncomfortable for her by harassing her, watching her as if she is doing something awful or against the law, breaking and smashing the plastic plates she puts the food in, turning over the cat’s water bowl and worse waiting until she leaves to throw away the poor cat’s food. Why? Why are people so mean? She has been confronted by hostile, rude and insensitive people, some of them dog owners who allege cats make the poor dogs pull them away and other ridiculous claims. Honestly, isn’t it normal for a dog to want to investigate a cat? They should worry instead about the barbaric choke collars they have around their dogs neck!
Stray cats’ live a very sad and wretched life on the streets, some die of starvation or get run over by a car, they get attacked by mean people, some of whom sic their dogs on them. They are stressed and hyper-vigilant, always watching their backs and looking for a warm and safe place to sleep. They don’t ask for much just food and food is something every living thing needs. Getting fed isn’t asking for much, but it just bothers some people!
Paulina has to worry about not placing the food on anyone’s property, even though some of them think the sidewalk is theirs. It’s a shame people can’t bring themselves to share a little corner of their sprawling yard or driveway with a lonely, hungry cat. There was that time when a heartless woman caught Paulina feeding a cat in a walkway near her house. She made her throw away the food and clean the spot where the food was, while the cat waited hungrily in the bushes. She would have cleaned any mess the woman wanted, but why could she not let the hungry cat eat? That is beyond reason! Paulina has to be careful even when she puts food under a car on a rainy day. So many little things about feeding cats bother these apathetic folks; yet they put up with garbage tossed on their property from passersby or the dog poop bags found strewn all over the streets, what about the unhealthy pollution in the air from cars and factories, the chemicals that have destroyed the soil and so much more. NO, it bothers them to see a caring human being showing compassion toward little creatures in need of help! Sadly, there are no means to protect these caring feeders and some people will always be spiteful and unsympathetic. I hope some laws will be created to protect the stray cats and all the Paulina's, the kind people who feed them.
To get more insight into the lives of cats in hostile neighborhoods listen to Episode 26 - Unfriendly Neighbors and all the episodes with Scat the Cat (see the Show Notes for Scats episodes) or click here. All the episodes are sprinkled with humor,are educational and great for children. Also, we love comments or feedback, please leave them on our social media pages, thank you!
About 2 weeks ago I saw an unusual little yellow and green bird about 12 blocks from where I live. It was flying low and I almost caught it but it got away. I thought maybe it belonged to someone and had escaped. I was worried for the little bird. The next day, like a miracle the same bird was on my block and amazingly I was able to pick it up with no problem!!! I kept it in the bathroom overnight and away from Marmaly my cat! The next day I took it to the Wild Bird Fund on Columbus Ave and 87th street (NYC) and they said it might have a concussion! I followed up with an email and this is the news I received about the little beauty!
I am very happy to tell you that the Scarlet Tanager you brought in to us on October 11 was able to make a full recovery, and was released back into the wild. On arrival, we saw that the bird had signs of a window strike injury -- she had a concussion from the impact. We gave this bird fluids and anti-inflammatory medication to bring the swelling down around the head. After three days of treatment, rest, and quiet, she was fully recovered and ready to return to her migration.
Thank you for rescuing this bird and bringing her to us. She was in need of help, and would not have survived without your intervention.
The Wild Bird Fund Animal Care Team.