FAQ

How do I report a sick, injured, or ailing animal?

HydraArk’s volunteers will do their best to help with any situation involving a sick, injured, or otherwise ailing animal. Please bear in mind, however, that we are not a shelter or a veterinary service and do not have either fostering or treatment facilities. Nor do we have any official enforcement capacity.

Hydra Police Station (click for a map)

Hydra Police Station (click for a map)

If you find abandoned kittens or puppies or feel that you may have encountered an instance of animal abuse, the best avenue for action is to take photographs and go directly to the police. According to Greek and EU law, abandoning or abusing any animal is a criminal act punishable by a fine and even incarceration. Enforcement, however, depends on each instance being reported; once an incidence is reported, the police must investigate. You can make a difference by taking that action yourself and calling the police at 22980 52205/53360 or going directly to the police station. It makes no difference whether you are not an Hydriot or even a Greek citizen; anyone can report these crimes.

If you find sick kittens or cats (or other animals), please do bring the issue to our attention. We’ll help where we can, but again, we are not vets and don’t have a shelter facility. Our volunteers are not able to take on more animals than they already care for. If you’d really like to help, you can take the animal to the Althexis Pet Shop for basic treatment. Better yet, you can take the animal with you when you return home!

Why do some cats have clipped hears?

Cat with a bad earAs you walk around the island you will see cats that have their ear clipped. This is an international sign that indicates these cats have been sterilized. Our neuter/spay programs are made possible by the generosity of visitors and donors to HydraArk here on the Island of Hydra. These cats are sterilized to help control the cat population of the island and to keep existing cats free from disease and fighting.

Sterilizing does not harm the street cats in any way. On the contrary, sterilized cats live longer and healthier and will still hunt mice and rats so as to keep this island a better place free from vermin.

What Is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

TNR trapTNR is a humane and effective approach to controlling the feral cat population. In practice for decades in the US and the EU, scientific studies show that TNR improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time.

TNR is successfully practiced in hundreds of communities and in every landscape and setting. It is exactly what it sounds like: Cats older than six months are humanely trapped and taken to a licensed veterinarian to be neutered and vaccinated. After recovery, the cats are returned to their home—their colony—outdoors. Kittens and cats who are friendly and socialized to people may be adopted into homes.

 

Why TNR on Hydra?

Cat catching for TNRMany residents on Hydra attempt to take care of the cat colonies in their neighborhoods by putting out food to keep them from starving. Often times, however, this leads to those colonies growing too large—female cats naturally give birth every three months to an average of five or six kittens—and this overpopulation leads to illness, including cat flu (sneezing, respiratory infection, snotty noses), chlamydia infection (pussy, inflamed, or missing eyes), and parasites (ear mites, mange, worms). Many of these animals suffer greatly before finally succumbing. This problem gets progressively worse over the winter months when food resources are scarcer and both kittens and their mothers suffer from poor nutrition.

The reasons for pursuing TNR on Hydra are many.

  • TNR stabilizes feral cat colonies. Colonies involved in TNR diminish in size over time. TNR quickly stabilizes feral cat populations by instantly reducing reproduction.
  • TNR improves cats’ lives. TNR relieves cats of the constant stresses of mating and pregnancy. 
Mating behaviors, like roaming, yowling, spraying, and fighting, cease. Cats’ health improves and they live longer, healthier lives.
  • TNR answers the needs of the community. 
Once TNR is in place, reproduction in within cat colonies is greatly reduced. The population stabilizes and eventually declines to sustainable levels. Colonies become quieter and cats become better neighbors.
  • TNR works. Other methods don’t. Attempts to permanently remove cats from an area always fail because whenever cats are removed, new cats move in, or the surviving cats left behind breed to capacity.

Vets and animal welfare organizations agree that TNR is the most important step in both controling animal populations and improving animal welfare. Aside from reducing the population, it has the added benefit of keeping cats healthier (reduced transmission of diseases like FIV), cleaner (less spraying), and less aggressive (fewer fights for territory and mates).

Will TNR extinguish the cat population?

Cats1No! A responsible plan of neutering and spaying does not aim to eradicate the cat community, and this is certainly not Hydra Ark’s objective. Hydra is a cat-friendly island, and new kittens are welcome. Overpopulation, however, inexorably means death for the weakest and the spread of illness. TNR stops the breeding cycle of many cats and therefore improves their lives while preventing reproduction. Kittens born into a controlled population have a better chance of surviving into a healthy adulthood. Neutering will also cut down on the number of sick kittens suffering from the flu or blinded by Clamydia.

It is a fact that the mere killing of outdoor cats is never ending and futile. The colonies always end up reproducing to an unmanageable size, and where there is disease, the illness spreads and persists. TNR will never exterminate cat colonies. There will always be kittens, just fewer, in more manageable and attractive numbers.

How dangerous are spaying and neutering operations?

Vet operatingOverall, sterilization is not an especially risky operation, and it is unusual for cats to develop an infection as a result of the procedure. After the operation, however, it is important to keep the animal warm and comfortable. The vet will inject the cat with antibiotics, whose effects usually last three days depending on the type used. This will also protect the cat from catching illnesses like the flu from other cats during the same three-day period.

Will the operation compromise my cat’s capacity for self-defence?

CatDoveNo. This is an excellent question that provides the opportunity for a serious explanation based on vets’ opinions and scientific evidence. Your male cat will not become weaker or unable to defend himself. After the operation, his level of aggressiveness will decrease, which means that he will not feel the need to go and fight other cats as much as he did before. If attacked though, he will still be perfectly able to defend himself.