There’s a problem on the beautiful island of Vis, in Croatia: there hasn’t been a vet there in 20 years. Supposedly one will arrive in 2020, but even after that miraculous event occurs, there’s a lot of work to be done concerning the local cat population. In 2018 I decided to try and do something about the problem on a personal level and reached out to a few local people who were taking street cats to be sterilized, in hopes of us being able to work together to organize resources, but didn’t get very far with that.
I couldn’t find anything online about cat work on Vis either, so I started something. The original name was Street Pussy: I made a logo and started a facebook group. Even though the name was fun, I soon realized that in order to have a broader reach, it would need to be more neutral and conservative, so it became “Street Cats of Vis.”
In August of 2019, I was joined by Francesca Walker, who works for the NZ SPCA. She’s taking a year off from her job in New Zealand to help animals in other parts of the world, and she found her way to Vis. We hit it off from the start, and the project really got a boost from our combined energies. I continued building the visual identity of the project with a new logo and a website, streetcatsofvis.com, made flyers, did social media and admin work. Francesca did the boots-on-the-ground work, rescuing and caring for cats and kittens, making connections with vets and potential adopters, and was very successful in bringing people together, which is super important!
The facebook group has become a place where locals and non-locals alike discuss cat problems on Vis and try to find solutions. A local woman is leading a citizen’s initiative to petition the mayor for funding and infrastructure, and she’s got good momentum going with that. We’re hopeful that the situation will start to change for the better, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a vet.