Cats of Montenegro

Hi everyone,

Please find below a post by our friends from the Society of Feline Artists:

Cats of Montenegro
I’m an artist and a member of the Society of Feline Artist, and one of the many places I wished to visit is Montenegro,  and at last this summer I did.

We stayed in the beautiful Bay of Kotor.  On arrival we ventured to the old town of Kotor, on our way passing many cats and kittens strolling around as if they owned the bay, nothing unusual there, as we often see many cats in European countries. As the cats past through traffic I winced, but I was surprised to see how vehicles would stop to let these felines swagger across the road in their own time.

As we approached the walled old town, we entered through a large arch and meandered through the cobbled winding alleyways, where cats and Kittens were either, washing, playing, or fast asleep, oblivious to the many visitors precariously stepping over, as not to tread or disturb. The old town had an array of restaurants, cafes and little shops, and it soon became apparent there was a noticeably large number of cats,  plus nearly every other shop had cat souvenirs, even a Cat Museum.

The cats are well looked after by the towns people, noticing food and water placed in many areas. In the evening diners where giving titbits to these well regarded city dwellers, I myself was visited by a brave little kitten who helped me polish of my John Dory, then to be fed seafood linguine at another table, I watch him waddle off with his very large belly till his legs could not carry him any further, curling up for a snooze!

It is told sailors would bring their ships into The Bay of Kotor, and with that their cats. The official symbol of Montenegro is the Venetian lion, but the cat is like a little lion and is now the unofficial symbol of Kotor so cats have become a symbol of good luck for Montenegro.

Since my return I have not yet painted one of the Kotor cats, but will have a painting for the next Society of Feline Artist show which we plan to hold in London next year.

The society or SOFA to its friends, has exhibited in London for the last 22 years. But this year sadly our resident gallery closed in 2018 when the owners retired, so the society is raise money  by crowdfunding for their own London show next year. Members of the society have donated some fantastic rewards, including prints, cards and paintings for those who choose to donate to the cause. “Topsy Turvy” one of the rewards on offer.

The crowdfunding campaign http://bit.ly/CapitalCatArt

The Society Of Feline Artists web site https://felineartists.org/

The Society Of Feline Artists on facebook https://www.facebook.com/FelineArtists/

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29 thoughts on “Cats of Montenegro

  1. KennaRichards says:

    Such beautiful cats! I loved the whole posts with the description, making me feel as if I was there. I also liked that you included the links at the end so I can later look at what else these artists might do. Such great imagery and it’s amazing how much the people there take care of all of them (and the fact that they have a cat museum!! oh my gosh that’s so much better). Overall it was such a great post!

  2. April King says:

    You found some of the beautiful and well-cared for cats of Old Town, Kotor, but there are so many sick, injured, and tragically neglected cats just out of range of your camera. I wish you would return to tell their stories!

    I visited Kotor in June thinking I would donate to a spay-neuter program for the cats. I quickly discovered that none existed….not only in Kotor, but in all of Montenegro. There is no shelter for cats. Foster homes must be paid for. The rescue groups in Montenegro are all dog-oriented, although being kind people they of course take on some cats as well.

    With the money I planned to donate and some like-minded friends of felines, we formed “Kotor Kitties” as a spay-neuter group for the animals of Montenegro, beginning with the cats of Kotor. We also provide minor medical care to the cats we sterilize. We do this with the help of dedicated vets, who greatly reduce their fees for us.

    The mayor of Kotor is indifferent. Most of the restaurant owners where you saw cats being fed only tolerate them because of the tourists’ fondness for them. When the tourists are gone, the food supply dries up. One woman in Old Town who truly feeds and medicates cats has lost the least on her shop after 26 years, and is scrambling to move many of the cats she has cared for.

    There was only 1 “humane” trap circulating the entire country, with a waiting list of people hoping to use it for a cat here or there. Thanks to a generous donor we have now imported 4 more traps, to be borrowed from vets in the larger population centers. Kotor Kitties is helping to organize, and pay for, systematic TNR projects. We have roughly 150 cats on our waiting list for surgery and we’re organizing 3 “spay days” with our vet in Kotor between now and the start of kitten season. All while answering desperate pleas from tourists who find injured, sick, and dying kitties during their vacations, and trying to raise separate money to file our non-profit charity status with the US government ($600).

    Out of 10 kittens in litters directly around the Airbnb where I stayed, only 1 survived to be sterilized. That’s a 90% death rate. In more feral populations it’s estimated at 75 % mortality for the kittens.

    What more can I say? I could write a book! But I hope you will help spread the news about our volunteer group, Kotor Kitties, which is working to sterilize Montenegro’s street cats, teach kindness and compassion to the large part of the population that thinks of them to be ignored, poisoned, or shot, educate the public about community cat care, and build a network of NGOs and advocates for humane treatment of the animals.

    You can find us on Facebook: Kotor Kitties

    Our current fundraising campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/kittens-are-cute-but-neuter-is-cuter

    Donations can be made at any time via PayPal: kotorkitties@gmail.com

    If visiting Kotor, donations can be made in person at Vet Port Kotor.

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