Animal Shelters and Associations in Croatia: Deseti Zivot in Split

Daniela Rogulj

May 17, 2020 – What is the situation with animal shelters in Croatia in the corona era, and who is looking after the animals? A new TCN series meets the volunteers behind the animal shelters and associations around Croatia. Today, TCN meets Deseti Zivot in Split. 

If you’ve visited Croatia, you’ve most likely crossed paths with a street cat or four, and perhaps even stopped to pet them or bring them food. However, if you live in Croatia, you’ve likely grown so immune to swarms of street cats in your neighborhood, that you fail to realize the underlying and rapidly increasing issue. 

There are hundreds of incredible shelters and associations in Croatia working tirelessly to ensure no animal is left behind. In a new TCN series, we meet the people behind the animals. 

Today, TCN meets Deseti Zivot in Split. 

Tell us a bit about the history of Deseti Zivot.

Deseti Zivot (Tenth Life) is a non-profit NGO founded by five cat lovers in Split on September 29, 2013. The Association’s primary goal focuses on the welfare and protection of cats.

The Association provides care, sterilization/castration, medical intervention, oversees the general welfare of community (street) cats, prevents abuse and inhumane treatment, raises general awareness, ensures compliance with the Animal Protection Act, Decisions on the Treatment and Possession of Animals and Other Related Acts of the State and Local Government Units.

The activities of the Association include:

– Sterilizing/castrating street cats primarily in the area of ​​Split, to reduce and control their number;

– Encouraging citizens to take action on the “trap-neuter-return” (TNR) of feral cats;

– Providing support and care, in accordance with regulations, for socialized homeless cats as well as those cats who are abandoned and abused; 

– Providing medical treatment to sick cats in cooperation with veterinary stations and ambulances;

– Educating citizens through lectures, charitable events, exhibits, etc. in order to promote understanding and a better coexistence between humans and cats ;

– Detecting problem behavior and abuse and taking all available legal measures to prevent these from continuing and/or reoccurring;

– Taking all possible measures against the abduction and killing of cats in accordance with the law;

– Building no-kill shelters (still mission impossible);

Publication of cat-related literature;

– Developing relationships and expanding connections with like-minded companies and associations who share our goals, both in Croatia and abroad;

– Cooperating and working with associations, foundations, institutions and organizations dealing with the protection of cats as well as with other animal rights groups having the same or similar interests  and with whom the Association may work to accomplish its objectives and goals;

– Other activities that could contribute to the achievement of the Association’s goals.

How many animals do currently house? What is the largest number of animals you’ve taken in? 

At 4 locations, well, actually in 4 flats, we have approximately 100 cats. Half of them are chronically ill and won’t ever be adopted. They have been with us for years.

What is the success rate of getting animals to their new owners? 

In Croatia, it is tough and very rare to find good homes and responsible/trustworthy humans, so we cooperate with and German and Austrian associations.

Do you receive any support from the city, county, or state? If so, how much/in what way?

No, never.

What is the process of bringing animals to your shelter? Are there any obstacles/red tape in place for you as a shelter/association? For example, if you’re located in Kastela, are you allowed to rescue animals in Split? 

The laws in Croatia are very ambiguous and vague, and there are many loopholes in the law. In principle, no one except authorized concessionaires, including us as a registered association, may take street animals, i.e., street cats, into our care.

But we do it and no one calls us out because we are making it financially easier for the city for the costs they should cover.

Also, the city, in cooperation with concessionaires and dispensaries, does not have adequate accommodation or capacity to treat cats. If we didn’t do what we do, more than 90% of them would be put to sleep because it’s the easiest and cheapest solution and no one cares

There is an increasing amount of kittens and puppies left to die in bins or boxes on the side of the road, especially in the springtime. Is the lack of sterilization one of the biggest problems in Croatia? Is it really that difficult to get cats and dogs sterilized in Croatia? 

Sterilization is the best and the only correct solution, but most people think that it is not natural. Also, many people here don’t care and believe that animals are lesser beings than humans

How much does sterilization usually cost? Do vets offer discounts for street cats or special circumstances? 

The usual price for females 60 euros, for males 45 euros. Yes, our vet gives us special rates for street cats (35 euros females, 25 euros males).

How do we make this process easier for locals to get more of them involved in sterilizing street cats? 


How many cats/dogs would you say your shelter/association gets sterilized per year? 

I am not sure, maybe 300 or more. 

So far in 2020 around 200

Poisoning street cats is another issue in Croatia. Is this considered a crime in Croatia? Where should someone report this should they witness it? Are there fines/punishments in place?

It is crime, and according to the law, it is punishable, but the law is not enforced. You should report it to the police, but sadly, the police often do not care, and sometimes even make fun of it.

What are the best ways for the local community to get involved in helping your shelter/association?

Any kind of volunteering is more than welcome, but we mostly need foster homes and financial support.

How can people from abroad get involved, apart from sending donations?

Maybe sharing our Facebook page and posts and informing others about the situation.

Is there a way for Croatia to utilize its place in tourism to help animals in Croatia? Whether its connecting tourists with animals for adoption or organizing volunteer events at shelters?

Personally, I am skeptical about this, because the government has failed to care or take an interest in it. Most cities don’t even have a shelter!

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What is the most challenging?

Every saved life is an important award of its own. The most challenging part would definitely be trying to build up proper communication with our society because they are in the wrong mindset. The financial burden is also a big issue because there aren’t many donations coming in.

As we are not supported by the city or other governmental institutions, we are reliant on your donations. If you wish to support our work, you can make a financial donation to the bank account or PayPal account below. You can also support us by donating food and supplies, which we also critically need; please send us a message to coordinate the pick-up or delivery of such.


 IBAN : HR7423600001102396278


primatelj: Udruga Deseti život

opis plaćanja: donacija

poziv na broj odobrenja: datum plaćanja DDMMGGGG

PayPal: [email protected]

If you’re interested in fostering an animal or want more information on how you can help get street cats in your neighborhood sterilized, you can follow Deseti Zivot on Facebook HERE

Do you have an animal shelter or association in Croatia and want to share your story? Get in touch at [email protected].

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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