Feline Welfare came about due to the inspiration of one woman who feels passionately about stray cats and kittens. Rita Buhagiar began her care of abandoned and suffering cats and kittens ten years ago on the tiny island of Malta situated in the Mediterranean, population 400,000. Sources say that the number of cats may be over 500,000! There are many wonderful people who feed and look after the fascinating cats of Malta. Rita is feeding approximately 500 cats in cat colonies.
In Rita’s house a large airy garage serves as her ‘cat hospital’ while her high walled garden is a haven for convalescing cats, or cats waiting to be adopted. There is also a small quarantine annex for cats with flu. Young, motherless and injured kittens are constantly brought in to Rita to look after. Rita rescues and re-homes in excess of 200 kittens a year. Rita also buys food to feed stray cats at various locations, who would otherwise starve. Apart from that she tries to find the time to look after her own family.
We are some British expats who met Rita and saw the incredible work she undertakes saving and looking after cats. When we needed someone to help trap a sick cat Rita was recommended and came to help us. Rita’s phone never stops ringing with requests to rescue or care for a cat or kitten.
The Government Animal Welfare Department in Malta provides an ambulance for all stray animals who are sick or injured. They do a wonderful job, as we can attest having used them, but are stretched at times of high demand. Therefore people often ring Rita to step in! She has been doing all this work unpaid due to her love of cats and with scarcely any donations.
Vet, medical and food costs for the cats are all undertaken by Rita, who is retired and on a modest pension. This limits the amount of rescue cats she can help. To raise funds Rita also runs a market stall and bazaar, which takes away the time she could be helping cats. That is why we decided to set up this website so that cat lovers could donate to Rita’s work so that more cats and kittens can be helped.
Examples of costs are: food, medicines, kitten milk, litter, neutering/spaying, vet fees, flea, mites, worming treatments, replacing of equipment, trapping cages, post operative care cages, towels, sheets, wipes.
Rita has recently been appointed as a board member to a Maltese Government Animal Welfare committee, for three years, where she hopes to help policy development with her experience. This is an honorary position with no remuneration.
Rita follows TNR (Trap Neuter Return) policy and is actively involved in neutering stray and feral cats and returning them to their area or colony.
Rita is also providing aftercare for the cats due to the fact that Veterinary surgeries in Malta are not allowed by law to keep animals overnight on premises.
Please note it is illegal use a trap without a licence in Malta. If you are feeding cats and want to implement TNR in your area, please ask your local vet for advice and a recommendation for assistance.
Rita in her own words
“I am writing this to let you know about my voluntary work with felines which I have been doing for the last ten years.
I feel the love of these voiceless creatures when I am able to help or cure them and this gives me the courage and strength to go on. I have been invited on a number of TV programmes in Malta regarding the welfare of cats.
I have been and still am, receiving many calls from different people daily to help them. This has led to my days being full since I also book vet appointments for people to neuter their stray cat and I provide the aftercare.
Apart from neutering I also rescue daily sick, run-over and injured cats from the streets. I also help NGO’s who help cats. I also do neutering, feeding and attending to any need involving stray cats and kittens in different cat colonies, near factories, fields, houses and gardens.
Doing this work incurs many expenses for food, vet fees, medicines, kitten milk, litter. My aim is to go on doing this voluntary work whilst I have the strength and precious time to dedicate to these poor stray cats. Your kind donations will help me do more and continue to help the cats of Malta.
Here are some examples of what I have been doing in various locations:
San Anton grounds in Attard
Neutered, treated for fleas and worms all the cats there
The grounds of St Luke’s hospital, many cats neutered, more to go!
25 cats neutered in gardens of Romeo Romano in Santa Venera.
Many cats in grounds of Junior college, Msida, neutered and treated for fleas and worms.
Cats fed regularly near St Anthony’s Chruch at Wied ta Birkikara., and rescue many kittens that are dumped there.
Two convents in Balzan, neutered the strays that live in the grounds there.
Feed and neuter the strays in Dun Psaila street of the Birkirara bypass.