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FOUR PAWS helps cats and their owners in Italy earthquake zone


173 cats treated in Cittareale

Brussels/Cittareale, 9 March 2017 – FOUR PAWS supported LAV, an Italian animal welfare organization, with a cat neutering project. The project took place in the municipality of Cittareale, Italy over the period of 20 February to 5 March. In late 2016 the region was hit by devastating earthquakes causing many people to lose their homes, and the stray cat population to grow dramatically.


The project had several goals: to support local cat owners by offering to neuter their pets free of charge, and to provide them with donated pet food and other necessary items. At the same time, neutering the stray cat population allows for a reduction in numbers which improves the health of these animals, seeing as numerous diseases e.g. feline immunodeficiency or feline leukemia, are transmitted sexually.


“Two veterinarians from FOUR PAWS supported the team of LAV in treating, neutering and microchipping a total of 173 cats. In the long run this will help bring down the number of stray cats in the region. We are happy that we could make our contribution to this this great project”, says Jackson Zee, head of FOUR PAWS’ disaster relief unit.


While working in the region, volunteers were also fortunate enough to locate several missing cats and return them to their overjoyed owners:


Hero cat that saved its owner’s life found

Nina the hero cat saved the life of her owner by warning her of an earthquake. She awakened the owner with her loud noises and even jumped on her right before the first heavy shakes. During the earthquake, Nina got lost and was sadly missing for several months. Luckily she was found by a team of firemen in the ruins of the town of Amatrice at the beginning of March. The owner was thrilled when she recognized her pet cat and the joyous pair were reunited.


Touching reunion

Another touching story is the one of Sina the cat, who was so frightened by the earthquake that she ran away from home. She was missing for about six long months when a fireman found her. Volunteers immediately identified her because her owner never gave up searching for her and had placed her on a “watchlist” for missing animals. Both owner, and cat, were over the moon to be back together.