Q. The cats I see are not here all the time. They are feral and cannot be stroked so how can we catch them?

I have caught 2800 cats on the island because I use a box drop trap which is triggered from a distance of eight meters. Once we can determine the cat’s feeding routine we can usually trick her into the trap. The trap works with an electronic remote control so it is completely different from the ones where the cat must step on a metal plate in the floor. With the automated drop trap the cats do not enter a “tunnel” and their feet remain on the normal soil. In fact, this cage style trap can capture three or four at once. I don’t recommend this because they are frightened once they realize they are all contained together in a small space, however, it is useful when trapping a mother and her kittens to get them all at once.

Q. How do you get them out of the trap after you’ve captured a cat?

The equipment has spring pins which lock the transfer box to the trap so the cat can walk from one containment area to the other. When the trigger is pulled and the cage falls onto the cat, I run forward to cover the entire box with a large blanket or bed sheet. Then the smaller transfer box is lined up with the exit point of the trap and it is covered also. Next the large containment is uncovered which usually causes the cat to seek shelter away from being seen. Once she sees the escape point she will go, sometimes “shooting” into that cage believing it leads to outdoors.

Q. Will the cat go directly to the vet for surgery straight away?

The cat should be fasting from midnight onward due to anesthesia. I trap in the evening according to the availability of the surgeon’s time slots the following business day. If there is no surgery time I have a cat house to contain them with food, water and a litter pan for a later date for the next available slot with the vet. Generally I do not trap on Saturdays since the clinic is closed on Sunday and it is unnecessary to hold the cat for an extra day without surgery. The cats captured on Sunday evening go to the clinic Monday morning. I have made exceptions to this routine if the situation deems them necessary such as injured cats or heavily pregnant cats or tourists scheduled to depart from their holiday who will agree to help me identify and attract the cat to the place they have been feeding during their stay.

Q. Can I take the cat to the vet myself?

Yes. You can download and print the necessary form here.

You can take your trapped feral with the necessary completed form (link above) to:

Pet&Vet Veterinary Clinic

Eleftherias Leoforos 102-2

Paphos 8220

Tel. 97 669762 (Emergency Number)

Tel. 26 600345 (Clinic in business hours of operation)

Please visit the Pet&Vet Veterinary Clinic website for hours and additional information.

Q. I want the cat back. How can I be assured that you are bringing her back?

I will be in communication with you throughout the process. I take a GPS location of every trapping event and I too want the cat to be restored to familiar surroundings.

Q. I find these cats to be a nuisance and really don’t want them here anymore. Can’t you place them in the sanctuary or take them elsewhere?

It is actually illegal to relocate cats except under a specific plan designed for their care. The sanctuary is overloaded with cats awaiting adoption. Most people are aware that the pandemic has wrecked havoc on the financial health of all rescues. Notably, Tala Cats had to forego many fundraising events which had been standard in their annual calendar. Indeed the owner of the sanctuary had a cerebral stroke while dealing with the financial constraints. In the very rare instance a cat is suitable for the sanctuary (if it is disabled or has other issues) you must make an arrangement with Dawn Foote on your own. It is rare, but there are certain circumstances with disabled or cats with other medical issues where the sanctuary may be able to take them in. Again, this is rare and should not be a consideration based on the cat being a nuisance to you. In reality I am asked to take cats and litters of kittens daily when I am not set up to supervise them, tame them or manage their medical issues.

Q. I really don’t want the cats around so how can I get rid of them?

The fact is that cats are endemic to the region. Indeed, if the current cats were removed, newer ones would migrate to your plot to fill in the vacuum. This is what TNR aims to correct over time. There are several ways that you can discourage feral cats from your property. Do not let food waste sit in your rubbish. We recommend that you keep food waste that may attract hungry ferals in your frig-freezer until the night of your rubbish pick-up. Removing the current feral cats is not a long-term solution and it will only be a matter of time before newer ferals fill the area again. TNR “Tran-Neuter-Return” is the only way to stabilize the numbers in your immediate vicinity.

Q. I am worried about the kittens if you take the mother away. What should we do about the babies?

I will be working with you over a period of weeks if we are trapping during kitten season. The kittens can be without their mother after the age of 8 weeks. We must catch the mum between litters for sterilization. The kittens should remain in the wild until they too can be taken to surgery, usually at the age of 4 to 5 months for the females and 7+ months for the males.

Q. I have kittens here but I don’t think it is fair for them to live in the wasteland. Can we find homes for them?

Kittens need to be socialized to become house pets. You should handle them early and get them used to people. Separating them from their siblings promotes the bonding between you and the kitten. Many kittens come into care due to illness so remember there are more kittens than potential homes for any cats you wish to see adopted. I have had some success with sending kittens to Germany however that is dependent upon someone outside of my organization finding suitable families. In the case where I am able to help you, the kittens will remain at your home until the weekend of the flight. They will be vaccinated through Fishing for Felines with the vet we use. It is unwise for me to accept them into my home as I cannot quarantine them away from other litters and without the protection of neither the mother’s milk nor the series of a completed vaccination protocol, they often die in quick succession, one to another.

Q. As it is only the females which give birth why are you neutering the males also?

Cats prowl about all through the night defending their territory and vying for a suitable partner. Cats have a pecking order and the males compete through a blood sport leaving permanent scars. It is these fights which pass the diseases known to cats, specifically FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Most of the tragic cases I have been called out on for sickly cats involve this diagnosis. Reducing the testosterone of a male makes him less likely to engage in territorial fights.

Q. But if you spay all the cats won’t the island run out of cats? Won’t the snakes return?

Cyprus will NOT run out of cats. It is statistically implausible to eradicate the cats as they number between 1.5 and 2.0 million. New births far and away outnumber the surgical encounters of the ferals that we are able to trap and put through TNR no matter how many vet clinics participate nor how many people enter the trapping and rescuing vocation.