Philo is another Greek rescue kitty on our trip. He is nearly blind, but has the good fortune to be joining Ann and Trevor’s special home for blind and disabled cats in Ireland. Just last month Hector and Kalista moved in; and Giorgios, Margartia and Foteini on this trip are heading there too.

Cordelia from Nine Lives Greece explains how Philo (who will be renamed Bogart — Baby Bo for short) came to be rescued; and also how they’ve been able to help the rest of his colony:

“This little ginger-white boy was spotted by a dedicated member of the Greek Cat Welfare Society who was in Greece on holiday from the UK. She was walking in Plaka and could hear a kitten crying, so she went to investigate, and found this poor little soul crying his heart out, closed into a derelict building. His eyes were totally sealed up from infection. It turned out that his clever mum had put him in there so that he would stay safe.

Our holidaying friend put lots of food inside the window and alerted the neigbours; and the next time she went to check up, mum was in there too. Our friend decided to put a plank through the window so that Philo could climb out, in the hope she could catch him and take him to the vet, but the next time she went he was nowhere to be seen.

In the meantime, she contacted Nine Lives Greece. One of our volunteers went to have a look, found the colony, and saw the blind baby outside with the other cats, but far too nervy to be caught. His eyes were opened up, albeit crusty. Having received a hugely generous donation from an organisation in Italy towards neutering cats in the centre of Athens, we decided to make his colony a priority, so that no more sickly babies would be born. This would also give us more opportunities each time we went to try and catch Philo.

He was very shy, but one day we managed to grab him and take him to the vet. He was there for around three weeks having treatment, and then moved into his foster home with Eleni. Although painfully shy and nervous at first, he is now flourishing, playing with the resident cat, loving being purred once in your arms (though still tensing when first picked up). He seems to be able to see a little, but hesitates to open his eyes further than slits, and despite weeks of treatment they are still inflamed and surely sore.

Philo is lucky enough to have been adopted by Ann and Trevor, to join their cat paradise of blind and semi-blind Greek former strays! They have a fantastic vet who will be able to give Philo the expert treatment he needs.

And at his former colony, we have so far trapped and neutered 22 cats, taken three for treatment for illness or injury, and rehomed a further two kittens!”