July - December 2003


A difficult future for GambiCats - will you help us to continue to help the cats and dogs of The Gambia?

We are enclosing a donation form - all contribution will help us to continue the work outlined below. If you are able to contribute a small sum monthly this can be an especially valuable way of giving. As a donor, £4 or £5 per month is often possible, whereas sending £48 or £60 in one go would not be!

2004 will be a challenging year for us all. Funding from SPANA comes to an end in December 2003 and we have not been able to bridge the gap with donations or sponsorship yet. Despite generous support from many friends of GambiCats, our future is not going to be easy. Most hotels do not pay vets bills or provide food leaving us to find the funds.

Achievements since 1998

Since the charity started in 1998 our work has covered the following areas:Dodou and cages - ready to go !

·                    neutering we have neutered over 1000 cats and nearly 80 dogs

·                 rehoming we have found homes for around 200 cats and puppies

·                  monitoring welfare  we are working at 37 sites where we carry out a programme of worming, treating minor wounds etc

·                    feeding  we have been feeding at some sites when hotels close either for   refurbishment or during the rainy season and this has increased so that in 2003 we have spent around 110,000 dalasi (£2200) between April and October keeping cats alive

·                    the beach dog project which resulted in 25 dogs being neutererd and microchipped in June 2003. This is probably half the normal population and a further programme will be necessary. We also monitor these dogs and work with others to worm them and look after their welfare

·                    We have also worked closely with the local vets and Department of Livestock Services organising a Neutering Workshop (2000) and inviting participation when vets from the UK were involved in the 3 neutering programmes: 1998 - cats at Kombo and Fajara hotels, 2000 - cats at Royal Victoria Hospital, Banjul and 2003 - beach dogs.

Future needs

·                    We would still like to build a clinic to provide a space to treat the animals and hold workshops, provide guidance to local people about care, rehoming etc.Feeding - a lifeline in the rainy season

·                    Continue neutering, giving anti-rabies vaccination and microchipping the beach dogs

·                    Continue neutering and monitoring cats at hotels, bars etc

·                    Provide an education programme for Gambians on looking after dogs and cats

·                    Continue feeding during the rainy season

·                    Continue providing vet materials and equipment from the UK

·                    Hold more workshops to assist local vets

We have even more ambitious dreams but these cannot be realised if the above objectives are not properly funded.

If you have ideas for fund-raising; or can place a collecting box in a secure, suitable location; or know someone who would like to receive a copy of the Update please let us know.

BEACH DOGS

These are being monitored and many have been seen in good condition since their neutering in June. The microchipping has helped with identification as have the ear notches. We would be interested to hear from anyone sighting one of 'our' dogs during their visit to The Gambia. No more unwanted beach puppies ?

THE REPTILE FARM

Dodou has visited the Reptile Farm twice and had a tour (incognito). He has talked with the owner who insists that no live kittens or puppies are used to feed the two pythons which are the only snakes on site large enough to feed on them. He says he only uses rats caught near Brufut and animals found dead. Dodou revealed who he was at the end of the first tour and explained about GambiCats and AWAG and our support for the humane treatment of animals.

We trust that his story is true and would welcome any feedback from people who visit the Reptile Farm at Kartong.

VET SUPPLIES

As usual, we need supplies to send to Dodou and vets in The Gambia. The following are always gratefully received: 

·                     antiseptic cream or powder for minor skin woundsThanks for all your help

·                     multi-purpose ear cleaning powder

·                     sutures - expiry date post 2000, and absorbable if possible

·                     Drontal worm tablets for cats and dogs

·                     flea powders

If your local vet or hospital can help please let us know as we can supply further information if required.

 

CAT AND DOG FOOD

We thought it a good idea to outline our policy on feeding as we are often asked about this by visitors who want to help. We now provide dry food twice a day for cats at closed sites. Dry food is now no dearer in The Gambia than the local rice and fish mixture which Dodou used to give, thanks to the inflation of the price of local produce. Dry food has several advantages over tinned food including not going off so quickly, not attracting rats ( unpopular with hotel managers and guests!), or smelling strongly.

When we have priced dry food in The Gambia and UK it is about the same retail price. Where we have found bulk supplies at a slightly cheaper price here this has been offset by the cost of shipping the food to The Gambia. (No suppliers have yet volunteered cheap enough supplies or free shipping).

Thus we would like to thank the many people who regularly take out supplies as part of their baggage allowance to supplement the food we buy locally.


KOMBO CAT CAFE

The cats have not been forgotten in the refurbishment of the Kombo hotel - their cafe has been re-roofed!  We hope that they can now look forward to the resumption of the hotel's supply of titbits......