Future of hundreds of cats in doubt as shelter faces closure

06-09-2004

It is estimated that there could be as many as 40,000 stray cats on the streets of Prague. For a number of years, many of these half-starved felines have been taken in and cared for by the Prague Society for the Protection of Animals' cat shelter in Radlice near the centre of the city. Now, however, this shelter looks like it will soon be shut down.

Cat shelter in Radlice, photo: Coilin O'ConnorCat shelter in Radlice, photo: Coilin O'Connor The owner of the building which houses the sanctuary no longer wants the cats on his property. As a result he has issued an eviction order and the cats have to leave by the end of this month. Dr Eva Vrbova from the Prague Society for the Protection of Animals is in charge of running the shelter. So what does she think will happen to her feline charges, if this place of refuge closes?

"I'm afraid that they will be left in the streets because, although there are several cat shelters here in Prague, this shelter in Radlice is the biggest. There are a number of other cat-friendly shelters but they are small and overloaded with cats. They just won't be able to take in as many cats as we can."

Cat shelter in Radlice, photo: Coilin O'ConnorCat shelter in Radlice, photo: Coilin O'Connor Dr Vrbova says that her organisation has been desperately looking at alternative locations for the shelter. So is she hopeful that she can find a new home for the cats?

"We have been trying and we have some options but you know there is a lot of work and management involved. There have been a lot of discussions and meetings with people. There are several places where we may go, but nothing as yet is clear or without difficulties."

A lot of the cats in the shelter are either too wild or sick to be given to new owners. Some have even been living there for a number of years. Considering the difficulties Dr Vrbova is having in finding a new location, will these cats have to be destroyed if an alternative shelter cannot be found?

Cat shelter in Radlice, photo: Coilin O'ConnorCat shelter in Radlice, photo: Coilin O'Connor "We have been looking after them until now. We have many little kittens there as well as their mums and tomcats. We have had some of them for several months or years now. These animals believe us. For us it would the same as putting down our children just because we have no money. We would never do this."

You can find out more about the Prague Society for the Protection of Animals by visiting their website at www.psoz.org.. And if you think you might be able to help the organisation find a new shelter for their cats, you can write to Dr. Eva Vrbova at eva.vrbova@astrazeneca.com

06-09-2004

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