Airport Cat Colonies Get Desperately Needed TLC

by Meredith Ayan, SPCAI Executive Director

In July 2016 we told you about a terrible situation in Brazil ahead of the Summer Olympics – stray cats at a small local airport were being maliciously poisoned and killed. It was presumed that the person laying out poison wanted to clean up the grounds for the influx of international visitors. Luckily, with your help SPCAI was able to intervene. We visited these cat colonies, met with the volunteers who were caring for them, and initiated a trap neuter and release (TNR) campaign to control the population, vaccinate and provide necessary veterinary care.

As is common with these projects, a closer look revealed much more work to be done and far more cats than we originally estimated. Our initial estimate was that maybe two or three cat colonies existed on the airport grounds, but we soon realized that number was as high as six individual colonies. Tragically, we also discovered a majority of the cats were suffering from Sporotrichosis, a fungal disease that when untreated results in unsightly, painful open wounds. Managing the Sporotrichosis outbreak has meant unexpected expenses and a much longer project as the cats must recover in quarantine.

Our partners in Brazil, Oito Vitas, have been managing the project on a daily basis. They are tracking and monitoring all the cats trapped, neutered, vaccinated, in treatment and released. They have trapped over 45 cats now, 23 have been returned, 25 remain in recovery, and about 25-30 still need to be trapped.

This has been an immense undertaking, but the pilots who care for these colonies and have been feeding them nightly for years are so grateful that their feline friends are at last getting the attention they deserve. (You will see these feline-loving pilots holding the cats in some of the photos below.) Without a funding partner like SPCA International, Oito Vidas would have struggled to tackle a project of this scale. Without our help, these cats would have remained uncared for and suffering. Along with the lives we have saved, we have brought awareness that poisoning and killing animals is not effective population control. Without the support of SPCAI donors – none of this would be possible. Thank you for helping us reduce suffering and save lives!