Greece – Cat Neutering Projects
The Charity: Greek Cat Welfare Society
Location: Greek mainland and Islands
Project dates: Most months of the year excluding July and August, for periods of between one and two weeks.
Dear vets and vet nurses,
At the moment we don’t have any planned trips in the next few months.
We are now encountering increasing problems with the Greek authorities in that they are insisting that all volunteer vets officially register with them and they are making it very difficult to do so! They argue that we are taking away work from Greek vets although we are only operating on street cats who would never get near to a Greek Veterinary surgery anyway!
We are in the process of trying to find ways around this and it will be discussed extensively at our Trustees meeting in a few weeks time.
In the meantime if you can bear with us we will be doing our utmost to run trips in the future.
We are of course continuing to neuter as many strays as possible in any way we can.
Vet and Vet nurse coordinator
Volunteers required: Qualified small animal vets with a minimum of three years’ post qualification experience.
Qualified veterinary nurses with a minimum of three years’ experience.
Places available: Usually 1 vet and sometimes 1 vet nurse at each location.
Cost: GCWS pay 50% of the airfare. Accommodation and some meals are provided.
In every part of Greece, both the mainland and islands, there are many thousands of stray cats. Greek Cat Welfare Society aims to control humanely the stray cat population through neutering their colonies and educating and encouraging local people to have their own animals neutered. We send an average 0f 20-30 vets each year to mainland Greece and the Greek islands. Stray cats are trapped by local groups, are given a general examination by the vet to treat for fleas, worms, ticks, injuries and other conditions, then neutered. They are then returned to the place where they were found or re-homed if possible.
What to expect
You will be met at the airport, usually Athens or Thessaloniki, by the local organisers. Your itinerary is well planned and you will be looked after very well during your stay.
We have trappers who will bring the feral and stray cats to the makeshift clinic, which can vary from very basic to adequate. We provide the help of a nurse who may be either professional or a good, trained helper.
Vets will need experience in a small animal practice environment where you will have good experience in neutering. They will be the sole vet in charge and should be confident of neutering between 15-20 cats each day , you will encounter some pregnant females.
Nurses will be working alongside a volunteer UK veterinary surgeon. They should be confident and capable of assisting the vet, be organised and ensure the smooth and efficient running of the clinic.
You will be warmly welcomed in Greece. The rescue groups appreciate that you are giving up your own time to help them in their work with the cats that live on the streets.
GCWS Policy on Neutering Pregnant Cats
It is the policy of GCWS to neuter pregnant cats unless it is the opinion of the veterinary surgeon operating that to do so would pose an unacceptable risk to the animal’s life.
Whist is it not ideal to neuter pregnant cats, and most charities will do so reluctantly, the reality is that when dealing with stray populations it is not practicable to wait for animals to give birth before being neutered. Cats can become pregnant again within a few weeks of giving birth, and there is no guarantee that they could be recaptured before falling pregnant again, so most charities will prefer to neuter them as and when they can be trapped. Given the size of many stray populations, delaying neutering only adds to the numbers, making the charity’s work even harder. In any case, it is often not possible to tell if a cat is pregnant until it has been anaesthetised, by which time it would be unfair to let them recover, release them and go through the stress if being caught and anesthetised again later. Sadly kittens that are born to feral cats often fail to thrive because they are living under such poor circumstances, and for this reason most charities will take the decision that on balance it is better to spay the mother knowing that the kittens are already anaesthetised and will feel no more pain. This is not an easy decision for charities to make, but it is only by bringing stray populations under control that they can ensure the animals under their care will have a chance to live happy and healthy lives.
The risk of anaesthetising and operating on a pregnant cat is not significantly greater than on a non-pregnant one, and cats generally recover quickly after surgery, but the veterinary surgeon will always use their clinical judgement if the animal’s health is compromised in any way.
Accommodation and food
Accommodation is provided by the local organisers in their own homes, nearby apartments or hotels.
Food is generally not provided but many of the very grateful organisers will sometimes provide meals.
For further information and a more comprehensive information pack please contact:
Carolyn Murray firstname.lastname@example.org