Stray Cats of Croatia:
Last Christmas my husband gave me a beautiful book – The French Cat – by NZ animal photographer Rachael Hale McKenna. I was so thrilled with it – this book combines two subjects that I love the most: old buildings and cats! (But before you think that I only care about cats, let me tell you that I love all animals, and I’ve always dreamed of having a piglet named Petunia – but that is another story …) So, coming back to the cat world and beautiful old architecture, this year while travelling in Croatia, I found myself taking so many pictures of my furry friends, sadly all of them homeless stray cats. But also I had the opportunity to meet one of the most dedicated, loving veterinarians in the city of Split, Jelena Radeljic at Dr. Filipovic’s clinic.
Split is such a beautiful city, but unfortunately it doesn’t have an animal shelter yet. Dr Filipovic, Jelena, and their friends and supporters are working really hard on building one soon. I believe that they now have the location permit, however they do need financial support from anyone who believes this is a good cause. For more information please visit their website: http://zaklada-za-zastitu-zivotinja.hr
While there at the clinic, I observed how Jelena was caring for the stray cats and other animals, sometimes until very late hours of the day, and sometimes even sleeping overnight at the clinic with especially sick ones. It was Jelena who helped us to save a tiny kitten we found on the streets of Split. He was so skinny and hungry, so wet because of the rain, so infected with fleas and parasites, and only a few weeks old. We named him Tisak (meaning ‘Press’ in Serbo-Croatian, as we found him under a newspaper kiosk). Jelena waited for us to arrive at the clinic, and this was around 10pm, as she was treating all the other animals that were arriving after hours. This experience gave us the opportunity to learn more about the difficulties the future shelter is having, and the future the stray animals will have if the shelter doesn’t get built.
But funny enough, all of this couldn’t have been done if it wasn’t for social media. When we found Tisak we didn’t know where the closest vet clinic was or if there was a local animal shelter. So after asking a few locals, and only getting some raised eyebrows in response, we decided to Google the info, like you do these days. And there we found a blog post from Dos Trotamundos, Marco and Kristin – like us, visiting tourists. They had had a similar experience in Split some months earlier, and because of their post we ended up at Dr Filipovic’s clinic and meeting Jelena.
This set of images is a very small selection of some of the stray cats I ran into in the streets of Croatia. This post is dedicated to Dr Filipovic, Dr Jelena Radeljic and all the stray animals. I hope that the Split shelter gets up and running soon. I feel happy that tiny Tisak is now receiving good care, having been fostered out by the clinic.
And, right now I’m feeling excited that in a few days I’ll be able to attend a pet photography seminar given by Rachael Hale McKenna, as she gave me the inspiration to take these images. She is also giving a public seminar in Auckland.