Kotor Kitties is the first high-quality, high-volume sterilisation project and the first trap-neuter-return project in Montenegro!
Kotor has always been a home to cats and the town's population is watched over by its big cousin, the Lion of Saint Mark, the symbol of Venice, which looks out from walls and buildings throughout the town.
When you visit Kotor you'll see them basking in the sun in St Tryphon's Square, waiting at shop doors and perched on top of ancient walls.
At first glance their life seems idyllic as they're fawned over by tourists. Many look healthy and well-fed, cared for by the locals. Souvenir shops full of cat souvenirs would have you think that Kotor is a cat haven.
But Kotor's kitties need help.
The reality for a stray cat in Kotor is being shooed away from restaurants, going hungry and spending a long winter on cold cobblestones.
But the most heartbreaking are the sickly-looking kittens huddling around Wood Square near the River Gate. Kittens, often only a few weeks old, are regularly dumped there.
They have respiratory infections and herpes and go blind.
They have fleas and worms.
They are sick, injured and the mortality rate for kittens is over 90%!
Every day desperate tourists, like you, try to find help for these poor souls but the couple of people who try to care for the town's cats are at breaking point.
It's incredible that a busy tourist hub like Kotor can have such a huge problem.
One organisation has come to help Kotor's cats.
Kotor Kitties is a U.S.-, U.K. and Montenegrin-registered charity that's offering free sterilisation and medical care to cats all over Montenegro.
The charity was started by American tourist, April King, and some local volunteers who decided 'let's raise money for 10 spays and see how we go.'
A year later, they'd spayed or neutered 796 cats.
Almost 5 years later, they're up to 10,000 cats and counting!
Just have a look at the numbers to see how many cats Kotor Kitties has affected:
Just one female cat and her offspring producing an average of 2.8 surviving kittens per litter at a rate of two litters per year =
1 year: 12 cats
2 years: 67 cats
3 years: 376 cats
4 years: 2107 cats
5 years: 11,801 cats
6 years: 66,088 cats
7 years: 370,092 cats
8 years: 2,072,514 cats
9 years: 11,606,077 cats
x 7,098...that's a lot of cats!
And they're just getting started.
Kotor Kitties has started a movement in Kotor that's spreading throughout Montenegro. Volunteers are now catching community cats for trap neuter return as a humane way to control Montenegro stray cat population.
And not only that. Kotor Kitties has fundamentally changed the way cats are viewed in Montenegro.
From a pest with dozens of unwanted kittens per year, Montenegrins are starting to embrace cats. Now that they know they can get their cats sterilised and they won't have dozens of unwanted kittens to deal with, Montenegrin are happily keeping cats as pets.
Kotor Kitties has help from a growing number of local vets who are going above and beyond to improve the lives of Montenegro's cats.
They're overcoming limits within their small clinics, pushing back against official and peer pressure and working long hours to make this project possible.
I was so impressed with Kotor Kitties' work that I decided to become a volunteer and am now honoured to serve on the board of directors. I believe this work is fundamental to Montenegro's development as a healthy and happy nation.
If you're reading this, I'm guessing you are planning to visit or have visited Kotor.
Maybe you've already felt shocked by the obliviousness of locals to the horror that lies within their city walls.
Maybe you can't stop thinking about that tiny, filthy kitten that you had to leave behind when your cruise ship left.
Or maybe you just like to do some good when you travel.
Instead of buying a cat-themed souvenir to remember Kotor by, how about spending your money on something that will make a real difference?
You can make a donation of any amount:
€1 goes towards sterilising Kotor's cats. Every euro helps!
€5 pays for medicine to help cats recover from anaesthesia quickly.
€36.20 sterilises a cat. A gift to one cat that's really a gift to the millions kittens that won't suffer and die on the streets of Montenegro.
Please click the button below to make a donation of any amount now!
From me and the cats of Kotor - THANK YOU!!
Here is a list of ways you can help while in Montenegro. This list is reprinted with permission from the wonderful people at Kotor Kitties.