Stray Cats Being Poisoned, Who is to Blame?

Total Croatia News

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Lapko Rescue

On the 24th October 2017, Slobodna Dalmacija reports on poison being set for cats in local communities; however, this is not a one-off but rather a tragic regular occurrence.

The Residents of Tršćanska Ulica and surrounding streets have been living in fear for the pets and children for the past month because they believe their neighbour is leaving poison with the intent to get rid of stray cats. On Friday along Tršćanska Ulica and surrounding streets there were signs printed to warn people about the poison for fear of their pets or children coming into contact with the poison. Residents confirmed that they have found dead animals, one cat in front of their apartment building and one mother cat with two kittens in the bushes, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

This is such a sad story but unfortunately, not new to me since living in Croatia. Stray animals are a real problem as there are very few organisations helping to deal with the issue. In most other countries, pet owners are vigilant about neutering their own pets and there are funded organisations to neuter stray animals to help reduce the stray population. However, in Split, it seems there is a lack of responsibility by pet owners and the few organisations that exist are typically run by volunteers.

It is an issue, not just in one street or neighbourhood but in every destination. Sailing up and down the coast, you will see a large stray population on every island. Just two days ago, we sailed into Milna on the island Brač and were instantly greeted by four stray kittens and cats – mostly all with infected eyes.

Friends in Stari Grad have voiced similar concerns, having rescued 5 stray kittens themselves and started a Facebook page to try to raise money to continue their work in vaccinating and neutering strays. This message was posted by the founder and it broke my heart…

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“So, today was a very tough day indeed and we both feel it’s going to be tougher than we had anticipated trying to get the cat situation under control in our wonderful town (Stari Grad), which doesn’t seem so wonderful today. We found 2 kittens dead today, one outside our own front door. Also, Chris was at the vet and a young boy with his mother came in with a tiny kitten that they had found in a plastic bag hanging from a tree!!!! Who does that?! This was very distressing. Can’t be sure but I think the locals have had enough of the cats and are putting poison out. We are so desperate to get all of them neutered asap to stop this massive problem of 100’s of kittens being born and starving on our streets but it’s a political problem here as well as a financial one. I guess some Christian people do not give a s*** about animals, this breaks my heart. There is always a better way than poison, that is a slow and painful death. It is also very dangerous as other pets and even children can come into contact with poison as it is left on the streets. We will fight this and try and get the cats reduced but sadly the locals think we are encouraging the cats rather than trying to curb the problem. The ones that are already here need food and a home but there are no homes and the food we put down (we have been told) will have poison added. We feel so low today but we will pick ourselves up and keep trying to get every cat sterilised to at least stop more kittens being born.”


A stray at the vet thanks to efforts of Amanda Blanch and Chris Edwards

In Split, another volunteer Facebook page I know of is called Lapko Rescue, who are doing the same thing – raising money where they can to help vaccinate, neuter and find homes for stray kittens. These powerful words are from Gulshat Valishina, the founder:

“I find it incomprehensible (among many other things in life) when people tell me that stray animals in Croatia are happy, loved and taken care of. No, they are not. They are suffering, they are murdered or dying of diseases by thousands. A few random cats that you pass on the way to Riva might look well today but if you pay attention then, only then will you notice that “that one with funny markings” doesn’t show up anymore; then you might ask yourself what happened to the bunch of kittens you saw in the beginning of the summer and, no, they were not all miraculously adopted, that’s not what happened to them.

The second “best” thing to hear is that, “yes, there are stray cats, but there are no stray dogs… I haven’t seen any”. There are stray dogs, there are abused dogs and there are puppies dumped by dozens all over Croatia all the time. This is an ugly truth.

On my page, I made a decision not to post any graphic images of suffering or dead animals. Also, Lapko Rescue is obviously dedicated to cats but there are other pages: about cats, dogs or all the animals, in Croatian, English and German. I would like to suggest that everyone finds one page or an individual volunteer, here in Croatia, and follow them. Just one. Simply to keep in touch with reality. Because I believe that this casual cruelty towards innocent beings is dangerous to ignore.”

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A rescued kitten who found a home thanks to Lapko Rescue.

I have also rescued a stray; a tiny kitten came up to us outside of our apartment, her eyes were infected and her face covered in blood… now she is a happy, healthy part of our family; sadly, not all find the same fate.


The title of this piece says “Stray animals being poisoned, who is to blame?” and the answer is – we all have some responsibility in this.

Complaining about the strays or complaining about someone poisoning animals is all good and well but what is seriously being done about it? First of all, locals need to take some responsibility into their own hands and neuter their animals because all un-neutered pets are only adding to the problem (if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem), second: communities should be demanding that this matter is addressed by local councils and authorities – where is the long-term planning?

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi.

By these standards, you are not very great at the moment Croatia, let’s be better.

Do you have any stories of your own or know any local organisations that could use support? Drop us a note on Facebook.



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