At 82 most men take it easy, they are not usually to be found bucketing about in a cockleshell boat on a choppy sea in Greece delivering cat food to street cats. But this October Brian Davies, nearly 83, NFA’s founder, was ferrying huge bags of cat-food from Kefalonia to Ithaka, to help get the isolated island’s cats through the coming winter.

Brian Davies
Brian Davies between the devil and the deep blue sea, delivering food to hungry cats in Ithaca.

Brian was on a tour of NFA projects in Europe and visiting Kefalonia when he received an appeal for help on Ithaka from Monika Degan, a cat lover who lives in the tiny, isolated port of Stavros. She had been feeding street cats, but the financial burden became too much for her and she asked NFA to help.

Cats in Greece have it pretty good in summer; they congregate at restaurants, where the owners, staff and guests feed them. Winter is a different story, the restaurants close and the tourists go home. The cats are on their own and it doesn’t end well for many of them as sickness and starvation take their toll.

Gloria and Brian Davies
Gloria and Brian Davies with cat carer on Ithaka, Monika Degan.

Brian bought a large consignment of cat food, hired a tiny boat – the only one available and personally took the food there. “Halfway, I was bucketing around so much, I thought the fish might get the food and me,” he said. But Brian made it to Ithaka and not only delivered the food, he also offered support for sterilisation programmes and added in some funding for care of street dogs as well.

“Thank you again very much for the donation for dogs and for the cat-food that will make Ithaca cats happy for a while,” said Monika. “There are a few people who feed street cats in Ithaka, many paying for food from their pensions,” she explained. “I shall put food in big bags and give it to the people who help.

“Brian is the kindest person, the work he does at 82 is simply amazing.”

Cat feeding in Greece
A lucky cat saved from starvation

For the past three years, Network for Animals has been helping feed cats in Fiscardo in the north of Kefalonia and funding sterilisation programmes there. Kefalonia is a tourist mecca in summer but utterly deserted in winter and our help has made a big difference to the quality of life of the island’s cats. Another benefit has been a dramatic reduction in cat poisoning as a means of population control. If you visit Fiscardo and see a cat with a nicked ear, that’s a sure sign that it’s a vaccinated, sterilized NFA special.

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