On 3rd March we announced that online donations via our website during March would be channelled to help cats caught up in the crisis in Ukraine. We subsequently extended the scheme to accept donations by telephone and in our York shop.
Today, 25th March, we are delighted to announce that due to customer generosity over £4,000 has been donated in just three weeks. Can we raise over £5,000 by the end of March? We think so!
The effect of the invasion on cats and other animals in Ukraine has been disastrous. We salute the incredibly brave people working in animal welfare who have stayed to provide what help they can to cats, dogs and other animals. Help is also desperately needed in neighbouring countries as their animal welfare resources are overwhelmed due to the refugee exodus from Ukraine.
The biggest problem in a war-affected area like Ukraine is understanding who is still working effectively in the area, providing the greatest help to the greatest number. Ensuring funds don't fall into the wrong hands is also an issue we have been very mindful of. As a result we have taken the time to conduct proper research so we know that donations will directly benefit cats and other pets in Ukraine.
We asked Claire Bessant, CEO of International Cat Care for assistance. By talking to iCatCare's Eastern European partners, Claire identified a shortlist of organisations who were already active in the region and who are continuing to provide help and support for those working "at the coalface" in Ukraine and its western neighbours.
From Claire's shortlist, Alison and I have selected FOUR PAWS to receive £2,500 of donated funds immediately. We will distribute the balance during April. Here's a summary of how FOUR PAWS are helping in Ukraine and neighbouring countries:
- Active in Ukraine for 10 years prior to the invasion, including a stray animal care team on the ground right now
- A history of responding promptly and effectively to war related crises
- In daily contact with 30 colleagues working in Ukraine
- Delivering food to shelters where supplies are dangerously low
- Providing help (food, vet care, carriers, blankets) to refugees pets' in bordering countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova)
- Neutered over 3,000 homeless cats and dogs in Ukraine last year and provided medical help to many more
Four Paws are active in several countries around the world and help ALL animals in need, including dogs, horses and, in Eastern Europe, bears. We have asked that The Cat Gallery donation be channelled specifically towards helping cats, but recognise that in a crisis situation it is "all hands on deck" to provide the greatest help to the greatest number.
The nature of the crisis also means that workers on the ground are generally too busy to provide "instagrammable" photos of individual animals. That said, we will try to publish updates about the work that FOUR PAWS are actively engaged in. For now, here are a few photos taken by their teams in Eastern Europe.