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Ever since the approval of the 2018 law banning euthanising healthy animals, the amount of feral cats in Loulé’s streets has multiplied into the thousands; 98% of which are not sterilised, and lack any type of shelter and regular care or access to food and water.

The reality is only becoming bleaker due to a lack of any long-term planning coupled with the increased speed at which these animals multiply.

It is a known fact that individual associations are doing the very best they can to cope with the present crisis, but despite their good work and intentions the limited resources at their disposal for catch-and-release programs mean they cannot effectively address the problem. This means that they are barely scratching the surface and urgent action is required.

Considering that the only way to tackle such a challenge, in the long run, is through a large-scale and long-term plan, Animal Rescue Algarve (ARA) has constructed a plan that was recently signed off it by the Loulé Town Hall. The idea is to partner with private and public entities to build and maintain shelters for street cats, ensuring that they are well kept, clean and integrated in catch, sterilisation, and release programmes.

Feral cats are also normally unable to be rehomed in domestic settings, the best solution for overseeing animal rights, alongside pushing back on the uncontrolled proliferation of their populations, is the construction of shelters where they can live with dignity, be confined in a specific territory and, of course, sterilised. These shelters are mostly destined as a being used by the animals to sleep, shelter from bad weather, and feed themselves.

Animal Rescue Algarve is pledging to build at least 40 of such shelters per year (eventually 400 overall), while at the same time coordinating the whole operation. To achieve this, it will count with Loulé Townhall, Almancil School’s Group and Loulé Highschool for volunteers and fundraising for the maintenance of the shelters, animal care and catch and release programmes.

At least half of the funding has been secured by Townhall and, other parishes, such as Almancil, are hoped to contribute further to the full implementation of the project.

The proposed plan has already attracted the attention of people willing to be involved, particularly through protocols signed with Inframoura, Infraquinta and Infralobo, who will have a central role in the acquisition and delivery of resources to Silves prison which has offered to build the shelters themselves under their community engagement programme.

It is estimated that the plan will result the annual sterilisation of up to 1500 cats, greatly impacting the numbers of felines roaming the streets of Loulé and radically improving the future of animal welfare in the city and its boroughs. It is currently expected that the plan will result in the reduction of feral populations of up to 50% in the course of 5 years’ time.

Although the project has already started to take its first steps, there is an ongoing need for support, in order to help as many cats as possible.

For more information contact ARA.