Street Cat Poisonings in Dalmatia Continue: Family of Cats Found Poisoned in Zadar Centre

Total Croatia News

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Luana Matošević
Luana Matošević

In the morning of July 7, 2021, TCN received a report from Luana Matosevic regarding a family of street cats that was found dead on the street of Dragutina Parčica in the centre of Zadar. 

“Close to my office, there is a small group of stray cats that are fed by an old kind lady every day. They live between buildings in a quiet place and they live peacefully. Together with this old lady, I have been feeding them and giving them antibiotics because the two kittens have a minor case of conjunctivitis. This morning, however, we found 4 of these cats poisoned – including a less-than-a-month-old kitten and her mother.”, wrote Luana. 

213595836_2684219518542615_7471655743086258606_n_1.jpgPhoto of a kitten and her mother before they were found poisoned | Photo credit: Luana Matošević

Upon discovery of this heinous crime, a woman called the police and reported the incident. According to, Ivana Grbin, the spokesperson for the Zadar Police, informed them that after receiving a report about several dead cats that were found on Dragutina Parčića Street on the morning of July 7, 2021, police officers together with a veterinary inspector were dispatched to check the scene. Currently, investigations are being carried out to determine all the circumstances. 

209625024_184930280312228_8746274680073357125_n_1.jpgMother and kitten found poisoned the last 7th of July, 2021 in Zadar | Photos by: Nina Begonja

“We don’t know who did this, but someone gave them poisoned food. The old woman who fed those cats every day has some suspicions as to who could have done it. Apparently, there are two people in the neighborhood who detest cats – but we have no proof.”, Luana added.

There are two small kittens who did not get poisoned. One of them was adopted by Luana herself, and the other one was brought to the veterinary hospital by the woman who called the police. The kitten is still looking for her forever home. 

Last year, TCN reported on this horrendous crime that’s been plaguing the streets of Dalmatia for decades. Cat poisonings have been reported in the city of Split, on islands Čiovo, Hvar, and Brač and now in the city of Zadar. A lot of the incidents go unreported, too, because people simply believe that the authorities do not care. A spike of cat poisoning incidents has been observed to happen every summer. Jutarnji List reported last August 2020 that 17 cats were found poisoned, beaten, and even drowned on Hvar Island in a matter of weeks. The act of poisoning cats in summer sadly stems from the idea that street cats are pests, and that they need to go before the tourists arrive. “The motive is simple – out of season, cats are desirable because they ‘control pests and snakes’ so everyone feeds them and lets them reproduce uncontrollably, and in season, they are ‘enemy number 1 when tourists come'”, one source who has witnessed cat poisoning in Čiovo told TCN last year.

Video credit: Nina Begonja

Poisoning stray cats is not a solution to solve the stray population problem – the act is also harmful to dogs and humans especially, young children. It is detrimental to the tourism industry, too. The poisoning of 17 cats last year on the island of Hvar led some tourists to flee from their accommodation after finding a dead cat in the courtyard. The residents of Hvar were also terrified to bring their kids or their pets outside in fear of coming across this potent poison. 

TCN asked Luana if some measures have been discussed within the community to combat this problem and she answered, “People in Dalmata need to be sensitized more about respecting animals. We could start by starting to educate them about it from a young age in school. For example, in Switzerland, the schools engage the kids to help frogs cross the streets, they bring the students out to observe animals in nature, and sometimes, they allow students to bring their own pets in schools and present them to their classmates. Nothing extraordinary, but I think these activities will help a lot to sensitize people towards animals, especially children.” She also added that Nina, the woman who reported the incident, will continuously engage with the police until they do something concrete.

“A lot of people are invested in finding out more details about this incident and ways to solve it. The idea to ask the municipality to put cameras in places where there are street cats and to sterilize the other cats left in that area has been proposed. HRT television and RTL Provjereno already contacted them to talk about the problem with poisoning, so this would hopefully go on a national level.”, Luana said. 

Emphasizing that all animals are important, Luana told us that a lot of people have suggested that municipalities with veterinarians should invest more time in sterilizing stray cats and should invest some money in opening a shelter not only for dogs but also for cats and other wild animals like AWAP in Zagreb. According to her, in Dalmatia, there is not any rescue centre for other animals such as turtles, bats, rabbits, rodents, birds, etc.

Illegal wildlife poisoning

The poisoning of stray cats is not the only problem in Croatia, last year, poisoning of domestic and wild animals has been reported by The illegal wildlife poisoning which happened in mid-January last year in the Lika region left many carcasses of wolves, foxes, cows, and even the endangered and protected Golden Eagle. According to 4Vultures, the most common poison used in Croatia are Carbofuran and Methomyl – two highly potent poisons that have long been banned in the EU which can easily kill humans who come in contact with it. The search team suspected that the poisoning was done by a local herder who tried to specifically target wolves in the area. They reported that two calf carcasses were found with ears cut off  (to remove the identity of the cattle’s owner) and were injected with poison and left as bait. Soon afterward, inspectors found dead animal carcasses and also signs of severe diarrhea and vomiting which made it clear that these animals died from poisoning and under severe torment. The practice of illegal wildlife poisoning in Croatia has also caused the extinction of two vulture species in Croatia – the Cinereous and Egyptian Vulture. 

Reporting on animal abuse and punishment for violators

Animal Friends in Croatia advises animal violence witnesses to immediately call 192 and promptly request police intervention to prevent further endangerment of the animal, and the witness should file a written criminal report for the abuse and/or killing of the animal to the competent Municipal State Attorney’s Office for violation of Article 205 of the Criminal Code. The incident also needs to be reported to the competent veterinary inspection and the witness needs to include as much evidence (photographs/videos, witness statements, autopsy findings, veterinary documentation) as possible to prove the allegations in the report. It is important to note that anonymous applications are generally not considered.

You may send your report and application for veterinary inspection to their website: or to their e-mail address: [email protected]. To see the list of veterinary inspections by cities and counties, CLICK HERE

Killing or torturing animals in Croatia can see you imprisoned for up to a year.

If you’d like to get involved by helping the animal associations of Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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