What We Did
In May 1998, GambiCats brought together a team of 4 including a veterinary surgeon. They spent a week catching, neutering and returning to site the cats based at the Kombo Beach and Fajara hotels. This was a very successful start to the programme and the 2 neutered colonies remain in good health. A central feeding point - the Cat Cafe - was established at the Kombo Beach hotel and it remains well patronised, not only by the cats, but by guests who enjoy seeing the cats and feeding them.
A local fulltime co-ordinator, Mr Dodou F. Bojang, was appointed to maintain and expand the programme. Since then most hotels have joined the scheme together with the Royal Victoria Hospital, Banjul Port and many restaurants and beach bars.
The Gambian government department responsible for controlling cats and dogs is the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) at Abuko. Their involvement in the humane neutering programme is vital and they have fully endorsed our methods in an advisory letter which they now give to all hotels.
GambiCats believe that the programme will only be sustainable if it is based on the cooperation of vets in The Gambia, and is supported by Gambians themselves. As a result we helped to establish AWAG (the Association for the Welfare of Animals in The Gambia) which held its first meeting in 1998. AWAG is now a registered charitable organisation committed to improving animal welfare.
Continuing GambiCats' successful programme will result in the cat colonies at each hotel remaining healthy and with supportable numbers. Cats, hotel managements and guests will all benefit. If Cat Cafes are established the cats are unlikely to haunt the restaurant areas for food, a habit which is rightly unpopular with many guests and all hotel managements. They also make it easier to monitor the health of the neutered cats and see when new cats come in.
Experience in tourist resorts in Spain, Greece, Italy and other countries with similar neutering programmes shows that they work well if the colonies are regularly monitored and all newcomers caught and neutered.
ALL NEUTERED CATS HAVE THE TIP OF THE LEFT EAR REMOVED FOR IDENTIFICATION. NEUTERED DOGS HAVE A SMALL NOTCH REMOVED FROM THE LEFT EAR, SOME ARE MICROCHIPPED AND A FEW HAVE A TATTOO IN THE EAR.