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Save the Cats Article... like I promised:

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Here is the article that was published about the Cats Welfare Society of Israel:

Published in Ma'ariv day paper, September 21st, 2003

Nobody's Cats
by Adi Katz

The Cats Welfare Society of Israel's sanctuary is taking in cats that were thrown out by their owners * Muli the tabby was kicked out due to a purchasing of new living room furniture. Christopher was abandoned because he had diarrhea. Litchi wasn't picked up to go back home from the boarding facilities. * All 3 and 500 more found a shelter and love at the sanctuary. * Only now, it might close down * "A domestic house cat cannot survive 1 day out on the streets", says Rivi Mayer, the founder of the The Cats Welfare Society of Israel (CWSI).

Muli, a good hearted tabby started his life on the right foot. He had a good love, lots of food and attention, until one day his owner decided to get new furniture for the living room. Muli became redundant and was thrown out for the benefit of the new sofa. ¡§He was depressed for about 6 months¡¨, says Levana Ashkenazi, the main keeper and the person running the CWSI¡¦s sanctuary, Muli's new home. "He barely ate, he kept coming down with all sorts of diseases, but he recovered slowly after receiving a lot of love and attention from us".
The CWSI's sanctuary in the city of Hadera, that got the nickname "the orphanage", you can find many more cats with a resume similar to Muli's. Johnny, for instance, lost his leg getting hit by a car. His owner of 7 years never came to pick him up from surgery. Litchi was "forgotten" in the CWSI boarding facilities, and Christopher was thrown out for suffering from diarrhea.
Some of the cats recover from the trauma of being abandoned, but not all. 3 cats that were recently brought to the sanctuary were thrown out by their owner of 15 years, and they never got over the betrayal and died of depression one after the other.
"We call it 'withering'", says Gali Klein, who helps Ashkenazi to maintain the place. "Even the healthiest chubby cats just wither away when thrown out. They starve themselves to death".

Unclear Future

The CWSI's sanctuary is the only one in only place in Israel that takes in house cats and gives them good living conditions for the rest of their lives. The sanctuary recently houses 500 cats. Most of the cats, mostly the old or crippled, will not find a new home. In the street they can't survive and if it wasn't for this place they would have no where to go. And now the sanctuary future is at stake.
Other than a minimal funding by the Ministry of Environment, the CWSI is supported by donations alone. The recession has brought a drastic drop in the amount of donations and the CWSI is facing bankruptcy. Most of its activities were stopped and the future of the sanctuary is unclear.
The Cats Welfare Society was founded by Rivi Mayer back in 1990. "Until then a cat's life had no value", she says. "There was no serious dealing with the issue. When a certain area suffered from cats over population the authorities simply killed them all by poisoning. We were the first to bring up the issue to public discussion and handled it professionally".
Mayer entered the field on 1986 after studying cat's boarding management in England. "I have seen how feral cats are treated in England, how cats in distress are rescued, how they neuter and spay to avoid over population, and my eyes were opened. In Israel cats were treated like a piece of furniture. People assumed the cats can live outside on the streets, but it is not true. A cat born on the streets can only survive if someone feed it and takes care of it. A cat that was raised indoors can't survive out side even for a day. You need to either find it a new home or put it in a sanctuary for the rest of its life".

The Rescue Ambulance is Grounded

The CWSI starter to act on several fields of action. Opening a sanctuary, Boarding facilities, a clinic that treats and spays for low costs, and operating a cat-rescue ambulance. At the same time, the CWSI started taking action against the authorities, to prevent mass poisoning of cats and to move to the spaying system that is customer abroad, in order to reduce the littering and establish stable cat communities that do not over breed and are taken after. On 1997 the CWSI filed to the supreme court against the poisonings and won. Criterias were established for cat's destruction and treatment. Even the very controversial issue of feeding cats on the streets became legally permitted due to the CWSI legal actions.
2 years ago the CWSI was moved from its first location in Moshav Gan Haim (near the city of Kfar Saba) and a new center was built in Even Yehuda from donations. The Center had a cat's hospital, adoption center, guidance and education center, supply store and boarding facilities. The Sanctuary moved to the village of Tira, and from there - three months ago - to the city of Hadera.
There were many plans for the future, but the harsh economic reality and rough times - left it all on paper. In the last few months lot of the activities were terminated. The special clinic moved to private ownership and no longer offers subsidized spaying and medical treatment. The adoption center was closed and so did the education center. The subsidized legal assistance was terminated and the ambulance got grounded.
"The sanctuary is next", says Mayer, "I can't even bring myself to think what we will do if we can't keep it going any longer".

"Desperate for Attention"

The cats that found love and warmth instead of the homes they lost have no idea their future is in danger. They continue to peacefully walk around the shaded 4 acres yards, in the middle of the oranges fields in Hadera. Instead of cages you can see around the great wooden cabins that were built by Gali Klein and painted in lovely pastel colors. Inside the small cabin you will find padded shelves for the cats to rest on. Around the field you can also see playground facilities made out of wood.
We are escorted by the cats that are hoping to get a pet or a nice scratch on the back of their heads. "They are desperate for attention", says Ashkenazi, ¡§they were raised in homes and know what its like to get attention and treats¡¨. The volunteering girls remember all the names, and know most of the personal stories. Shmeinal'e ("fatsy"), for instance, a blind cat that quickly comes to us when her name is called, was saved from the streets when she¡¦s suffering from untreated eye infections that eventually made her blind. "Miss cello tape", a tiny tabby cat - was dumped by the sanctuary's fence, and was found when her whole body is wrapped with layers of masking tape. "It took me hours to get all the tape off her", tell Ashkenazi, "and she stayed away from me for a month after that".
One of the CWSI unfulfilled plans is to work with kids that come from wrecked homes or special needs kids using the cats. The sanctuary is located next to one of Hadera's rough neighborhoods and the volunteers are hoping that the kids from there will come to visit and learn to love the place, for the benefit of both sides.

Stealing and Vandalizing

But so far it seems like not everyone are happy about the new neighbors. One day, about a month ago, the fence was found torn open, and the people who broke in ripped the fire distinguishers and sprayed the cats with the, Of course, not all cats survived the attack. Around 80 cats were chased away or taken and the sanctuary¡¦s only power generator, that provided electricity for night time, was stolen as well. The police was informed, but the thieves were never found.
To get back on its feet and recover, the CWSI is asking for the help of cat lovers around the country. "People that raise cats at home are aware of how much it costs to keep a cat", explains Mayer. "We take care of hundreds of cats that no one wants and no one can look after them. If each cat owner will donate even 20-30 Shekels (4-5 Dollars) each month, we can keep on existing and help miss fortunate cats.

Phone numbers for Donations: 972-3-6969807, or 972-3-6969503. You can also log in to: www.cats.org.il or www.IsraelCatRescue.com
post #2 of 9
What a great article! Thanks for sharing it with us.
post #3 of 9
OMG what a sad story that is . Thanks for sharing the article with us .
post #4 of 9
I also made a donation
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
guys, thank you for the support!
post #6 of 9
post #7 of 9
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Hedi!!
post #9 of 9
Your welcome
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