Feral cats get new homes

Take note – story published 6 years ago

In Riga and other Latvian cities several organizations are setting up houses for feral cats so that they don't live in basements or spaces under the roof. These houses are set up together with splaying and neutering feral cats to reduce their number in the long run.

One of the cat houses, of which the Dzīvnieku SOS (Animal S.O.S.) association has set up a total sixty, lies by the Zemitāna bridge.

It's a square box akin to a bird's cage with a separate entrance for each cat. It has place for four and has plastic bowls for the cats together with hay to help them keep warm. 

The association's cat houses are found in Rīga and outside the city bounds.

There are several other organizations that look after feral cats too, in cooperation with charity funds.

"Our organization has a principle that when setting up houses the people who feed the cats and look after them should do so responsibly and correctly. The first rule is sterilization. The little cats must be sterilized," said Dzīvnieku SOS representative Laura Karnīte.

"The second rule is that their eating places have to be kept clear and in order. And the third is that there should be harmonization [on a community level] .. that this house will be set up here," said Karnīte.

While Svjatoslavs Mihailovs came up with the idea for the similar Kaķīšu iela (Cat Street) organization. Since 2015 he and other volunteers are making colorful cat homes akin to doll houses.

One of the houses lies by the Latvian National Opera. It's blue with a small terrace where cats can gaze upon passersby walking by the Rīga Canal. There's even place for them to sharpen their nails and there's of course water for them in neat little trays.

"The project started by chance. I saw that twelve kittens have no place to live in Jūrmala .. several people came together, invested their funds and built a house for the cats. Afterwards we found another place where such a house should be built and then another. This is how it took off," said Mihailovs.

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