It's absolutely true that a neutering initiative for male feral and domestic cats is the the very best way to control the population of cats where the population has become a problem. In Greece, any way that can facilitate this essential and humane form of birth control, is essential.
In the UK, for example, Celia Hammond is a recognized pioneer in cat neutering as a way to keep the numbers of stray and feral cats down. Considered by many as a national hero, as well as the head of a cat charity organization, she is a profound cat lover and a person of immense humanity. Please feel free to visit her website here:
"Rhodes Animals Welfare Society (RAWS) was founded in 1990, starting off from a rented house in the town centre with a small yard. In March 1998 after years of negotiations with the Municipality of Rhodes, we took over the running of their kennel in Tsairi.
A lot of hard work is done and much money is spent to get it into a good condition.There are about 300 dogs in the shelter. Since 1/1/2008 the Municipality of Rhodes takes care of the kennel.
Unfortunately through the economic crisis now in Greece the situation is very bad. So from February 2011 we are back to help the people who work there to take care of the animals.
Also if possible we collect stray dogs from the streets, which stay mostly in foster homes waiting for adoption. Under the button statistics you will see how many animals are sterilized and adopted each year thanks to the donations.
In 2007 we built a cat shelter in Kalithea and at the moment we take care of approximately 150 stray cats. We try very hard to do as many sterilisations, medical care and feeding there thanks to the donations and volunteers.
RAWS is a non-profit making society run by volunteers depending on your donations and adoptions to continue. Our aim is to try neuter as many animals as possible because this is the only way to reduce the number of poor animals suffering on the streets.
The RAWS stand at Mandraki Harbour is back after 3 years of consultation with the authorities. When you are not visiting our island but want to help take a look at the section donate so it comes in the right place .
We also try to inform the people about the appropriate behaviour towards the animals through the media and information on all the schools where possible.
Finally,The animals want to thank all the people who helped already to make there lives better."
Greeks, as a rule, do not appreciate tourists who insist on feeding feral cats at restaurants.
If you must feed them, do it at your apartment or in the hotel grounds - but politely ask where you should place food for the stray felines. Don't just chuck it anywhere - it could attract animals of a species you do not want!
This will avoid offense and other issues since feeding cats in a restaurant is prohibited under health and safety rules and any Greek restaurant that allows cats into their kitchens can be, technically, prosecuted. Compromising the livelihood of a Greek restaurant or any food outlet is just not good ambassadorial etiquette - think about that.
Those offended owners showing displeasure at an ignorant tourist who is throwing good food onto their floor are justifiably indignant - and I agree with them.
It's pretty straightforward really, and it's a rule I stick to out of respect for the Greek people and the restaurateur. Would you feed feral cats at a restaurant in the UK? No - of course not...
NEVER touch a feral cat or dog around the mouth or come into contact with their saliva - they could be carrying rabies. This applies to ALL European countries - not just Greece.
If you are bitten seek medical help immediately - you will need to be tested for rabies just in case. And treated if necessary.
Also, if you come into contact with their saliva, wash yourself with antibacterial soap immediately, especially your hands. (try carrying a small container of gel wipe with you at all times). Likewise, even if you have simply stroked a cat, wash your hands afterwards. They can also carry other dangerous bugs.
The risk may be minimal, but cases have been known that have resulted in death.
Having said that, most Greek cats are rabies free - but be careful.
Please don't feed me at the table!