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Over 10 000 cats had been neutered by FOUR PAWS in Sofia during the past 6 years


In 10 years the generation of one unneutered female cat can reach almost 50 000 animals

© FOUR PAWS | Marcel Fens

While official research confirmes that the number of stray dogs in Sofia decreases every year, it remains unknown how many the stray and free roaming cats are and there are indications suggesting their population is growing. Worried by this new trend, in 2011 FOUR PAWS launched a project for free of charge neutering of stray cats in Sofia which is being implemented in partnership with some of the best veterinary clinics in the city. At the end of last year 6127 cats were operated under this project and by adding the number of neutered cats in the clinic of the charity in Sofia, the total number rises to 10,797.

“Even for people that are not familiar with the problem, it is clear that the populations of stray dogs and stray cats are like communicating vessels – if the former starts to decrease, the latter will inevitably inevitably increase,” explains veterinarian and FOUR PAWS Country Manager for Bulgaria Marina Ivanova. “The difference is that cats have a much faster cycle of reproduction and also are far more adaptable to the environmental conditions. For 10 years the offspring of a single unneutered female cat can reach nearly 50 000 animals.”

Since the programme of Sofia Municipality does not plan activities for decreasing the number of stray cats, FOUR PAWS experts decided to hel pfind a solution to the situation. The charity's project is like a coupon system – anyone who wants to arrange for the neutering of a stray or yard cat can receive a coupon for free of charge operation after filling out an online application and visiting the office of the FOUR PAWS. The coupon may be used in one of the 8 partnering vet clinics. Hundreds of volunteers and active members of the public have benefited from the program for the past six years since it was launched. Each neutered cat is also treated against parasites and vaccinated against rabies. The tip of the ear is slightly trimmed so that the cat can be recognized as neutered. For 2017 the organization plans to distribute 1200 coupons for free of charge neutering of cats in Sofia.  

"The project owes its success to the hundreds of volunteers who engage in capturing and transporting animals to the clinics," says Dr. Ivanova. “For the six years since the program is functioning our rough caclulation says we have prevented the birth of nearly a quarter of a million of unwanted kittens. Some of them would have survived and adapted to life in the street, but most would have become victims of diseases, accidents or cruelty. "

In cases when the cats are not social and cannot be caught by hand a FOUR PAWS team provides assistance. The team organizes the operations in the clinic of the organization in Sofia. The international organization has similar programs in other European countries as well - Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Romania.