“Adote um Gatinho” (“Adopt a Kitten” in English)
By JD Winston, Executive Director, SPCA International
This past month I traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil to visit an extraordinary animal Shelter that we previously awarded a program grant to in early 2010. I happily discovered they are making remarkable progress helping animals in their community.
When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by one of the co-founders, Juliana Bussab. She introduced me to Yumi, Ana and several other wonderful volunteers whose dedication, knowledge and care for their ongoing work there was very apparent. I met almost 80 cats overall and though I cannot remember all their names, there was an adorable “Fifi”.
I instantly saw that the animals are being very well taken care of! They have several cats with Leukemia that are kept in a special separate area, making their lives as comfortable as possible. I learned that along with many foster volunteers who willingly take care of numerous cats at their homes; Co-founder, Susan Yamamoto also takes care of four very special cats at her home: Bobó and three other paraplegic cats who need constant daily attention. Given their circumstances, they are very happy and content animals.
The staff is very active with social networking, education and support, and they utilize it to their advantage. They have a YouTube channel, a Twitter account and a Facebook Fan Page, with about 20,000 active monthly users as well as a growing number of local supporters.
I was very impressed with their overall accomplishments, however, it was clear they were still in dire need of help with their vast animal efforts. I presented them with an additional grant check for $1000.00 USD. With elated excitement, they expressed that part of this will gratefully help in fulfilling a much needed Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for feral colonies of about 40 plus cats in several abandoned buildings.
“Adote um Gatinho” (translation: “Adopt a Kitten”) was created in 2003, but officially founded in 2007, is a dedicated group of 100% volunteers who care and find homes for abandoned cats throughout Sao Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil. They make every effort to rescue cats (and even dogs when they can) without regard for their age, health status, or adoptability. All of the cats rescued by this organization are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and await adoption in the organization’s shelter or many of their volunteer foster homes. Much gratitude goes to some wonderful veterinarians working tirelessly with their shelter, helping as much as they possibly can.
In 2010, “Adote um Gatinho” rescued around 700 cats from the streets of Sao Paulo, and found homes for almost 600. They also initiated two spay/neuter campaigns last year within the poorest neighborhoods of Sao Paulo. This resulted in having almost 270 animals spayed or neutered! Three more of their highly successful spay/neuter campaigns are scheduled throughout 2011.
Thanks to the efforts of “Adote um Gatinho” in Brazil, over 3,600 cats and counting have been rescued from the streets and are happily living with caring owners. Today, this Shelter takes care of approximately 300 cats on average. They also provide ongoing spay and neuter services to hundreds of homeless animals not yet supported with full foster care due to the organization’s limited resources. They are strongly dedicated in understanding the importance of educating the Brazilian public about proper sterilization and what appropriate steps should be taken in how to report animal abuse.
Currently, “Adote um Gatinho” is helping other Brazilian animal organizations with much needed support and relief, devastated by the recent flooding disasters in the Rio de Janeiro area. They send supplies to local shelters helping with rescue efforts and continue to monitor the situation offering as much help as they can.
SPCA International is proud to be a supporter and help “Adote um Gatinho” to continue their important work in Brazil to help animals in need throughout their community.