Strays of Greece

Today’s the last day of my Greece trip and I’ve fallen in love with curvy mountain roads (that the Smartcar we rented can barely tackle), unexpected scenery and jovial old restaurant owners that bring out a free dessert after dinner. I have so much more to write about Greece and I will soon enough, but for now I will just do what I enjoy doing the most: post pictures of cats. And some nice doggies, as well.

Even though Greece has for long now been a member of the EU, the animal protection laws are, sadly, still not up to standard. There are a lot of strays in this country. Some of them have been abandoned after the owners got tired of having a pet, and it doesn’t help that a lot of the animals aren’t neutered – in a “macho culture” neutering animals is seen as something that is not natural, not recommendable. So the animals are free to run around the streets and fill the land as they please.

The situation for stray dogs in Athens has got better. Since 2003 the stray dogs have been under the protection of the city itself and the goal has been to document the strays, vaccinate them and make sure their living standards are all right. Adoption of a stray is easy at least for Greek people. Dogs wear collars and in general, people of Athens seem to like them, feed them and look after them. If you’re interested, you can read more about the stray dog initiative here.

The life of a stray cat is a little bit harder. They breed faster than dogs and most stray protection programmes are focused on the stray dogs, not the cats. If you google stray cat situation in Greece, you will find a lot of mixed information. Cats seem to be generally liked and appreciated as pestkillers and harmless additions to the neighbourhood, and usually a stray cat will get attached to a certain area where it continues living and where the people happily feed him/her. On the other hand, traffic and dogs are somewhat of a hazard for the cats.ย According to a Daily Mail article, cats even get poisoned after the tourist season ends. So even when cats in Greece might be living a full, free life as they please, their life span might be a lot shorter than that of a regular house cat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cat by the train rails in Athens
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Athens
IMG-20160328-WA0000
Delfi
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Delfi

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Athens
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Athens
IMG-20160328-WA0031
Delfi
IMG-20160329-WA0039
Meteora
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Meteora
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Meteora
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Athens
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Athens
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monastiraki flea market, Athens

Is it safe then to go petting the stray animals? A lot of them are friendly because they are used to people fondling them and they know that people are the ones feeding them, but you can’t blindly trust a strange animal right up. I almost had a smaller dog charge at me when I was trying to coo him to come see me. Cats, even when they might cause less harm than an angry dog, should also be kept an eye on. They are cats so they won’t attack you for no reason, but if you’d like to try and pet one, let them come to you. I found a lot of the street cats in Athens to be elusive and indifferent to human cuddles, and you will just stress them out and make them run from you if you keep chasing them, no matter how lovingly. Maybe it would be better altogether to not pet the stray animals, but if you are a petless animal lover like I am, you will find it very hard resisting cuddles from big fluffy dogs.

Have you been to Athens? What do you think of the stray situation?

 


7 thoughts on “Strays of Greece

  1. Groove Is In The Heart | Birgit Reply

    I also enjoyed taking pics of dogs and cats in Greece, and was very happy to learn about the stray dog initiative in Athens. I really hope that other Greek cities will follow suit. Funny, I also tried to pet some of the cats but most of them preferred to watch things from a friendly distance. Had a darling dog in Athens that followed me along a few streets and enjoyed to be scratched behind his ears ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Elina Reply

      I heard so many people tell stories about friendly dogs following them around for pets and cuddles! I’m not really even a dog person but some of them did melt my heart. You meet one cuddly stray animal and it just makes you want to grab them and take them back home with you doesn’t it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Groove Is In The Heart | Birgit Reply

        Yes! I wished I could take them all home with me ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Nicole @ Just Cats Reply

    I have been to Athens and also took many cat photos like yourself. That was about 12 years ago, so it doesn’t surprise me! Lovely photos btw ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Elina Reply

      Thanks Nicole! Haha, seems like things in Athens haven’t changed much then.

  3. mariathena Reply

    I was visiting Athens recently, and was shocked to read in a news brief that countless stay dogs in Pireaus western suburbs as well as Kato Patissia and other areas have disappeared. Thr grim suspicion is that some gangs of immigrants have been catching the dogs and kill them to eat them. I have seen some grisly photos. I have since been asking taxi drivers what they knew about this. They all confirmed it , yes, stray dogs are delicacy food for some immigrant communities who prey on the abundant supply until now existing in Athens . Actually, the number of stray dogs in these areas is now minimal. The authorites know about this but turn a blnd eye. It is appalling that this is allowed to go on. I am trying to raise awareness on this disturbing and brutal practice as even animal welfare organisations keep silent about it as pointing to any muslim ” migrants” is considered a taboo..

    1. Elina Reply

      Hi mariathena and thanks for commenting! I haven’t been able to find more information about the news story so it is possible that it is not true or exaggerated, although I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened – I guess you have to eat when you’re hungry. (Although I think muslims are forbidden to eat dog.) It’s a tricky situation all around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *