July - December 2004

Cat cafes - new one at the Scala Restaurant

Cat Cafes have a chequered history in The Gambia!

Following much hard work by Dodou at the Scala Restaurant, trapping and neutering the colony of cats living there, the owner John agreed to build a splendid new Cat Cafe to distract the cats from the restaurant. It will take some time and encouragement for them to make the changover but the Scala is putting food down regularly and success should follow.
Anyone who would like to visit can find the Scala next to the Holiday Beach Hotel entrance and near the Tafbel.
Extra food always welcome!

Kombo Cat Cafe demolished

  Unfortunately for the cats, renovations at the Gambia Experience's Kombo Beach Hotel have resulted in the demolition of the first Cat Cafe in The Gambia, during the summer. A new gym facility now stands where the Kombo cats had learned, since 1998, to find food from guests, hotel and GambiCats. As a result there is a steady move back towards the restaurant and bar - just what the Cat Cafe was successfully preventing!

We have been told that a new replacement Cat Cafe will arise, but at the time of printing this Update nothing has happened. Meanwhile the cats are being fed at points around the hotel grounds but the situation is not acceptable and we, and the cats, wait impatiently for the replacement Cat Cafe to appear.


Grant from WSPA helps GambiCats buy more robust car
Each year the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) asks member societies to bid for grants for various purposes. This summer GambiCats was successful and received just over £1000 earmarked for spending on transport. The timing was perfect as the faithful Peugeot 505 was needing many repairs. We decided, after much research, to purchase a second-hand 4-wheel drive. This is more suited to the Gambian roads, especially during the rainy season, and one was acquired during December at a reasonable price which we hope will see us through many years.

Our logo will be added and we hope to have a photo in the next Update. Meanwhile, if you're on holiday in The Gambia, look for a dark red 1989 Pajero with Dodou at the wheel!

Dodou's oldest son dies
It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Lamin Bojang, Dodou's oldest son. Lamin Bojang died of leukemia on the 14th November, aged 27, after more than 4 months of illness. Lamin had helped GambiCats with feeding and trapping the cats, and with the beach dog programme in 2003. He was a willing, lively assistant and will be much missed - we send condolences on behalf of all supporters to Dodou and his family.

Container arrives!
As reported in the last issue, GambiCats was kindly given free space by the charity Action for The Gambia in their container going to The Gambia in November. Thanks to the efforts of a number of supporters, much was sent out including cat and dog food, veterinary items, collars and leads and many other goodies. These are much appreciated by all our helpers.

Senegambia Hotel
The cats at the Senegambia Hotel have benefitted from much care over the years from guests, and GambiCats has also been neutering and re-homing a number of the cats. It is terrible to have to report, yet again, that deliberate poisoning of dogs and cats has taken place since our last Update. This has been reported to the Veterinary Council and the Department of Livestock Services who have promised to take action.
We hope that a change in staff will bring in a more modern, humane programme of controlling the cats and beach dogs and that no more poisoning will be carried out..

Seen near the Leybato
An extraordinary sight on the beach - an Austrian holidaymaker walking her cat! The cat didn't look too happy and the woman was holding stones to throw at curious dogs. Not to be recommended - the cat would have been safer and happier in a cattery back home.


Your help needed:
As always we appreciate the following:
veterinary items - antiseptic cream or powder for skin wounds; multi-purpose ear cleaning powder; sutures - expiry date post 2002 and absorbable if possible; Drontal worm tablets; certain medicines such as antibiotics - please contact us for more information
dog collars and leads - secondhand are fine

If any supporters are willing to take small packages of the above with them to The Gambia please let us know when you are going in case we have supplies ready.

Cats and camels
Working further south, Dodou has been helping Jane at the Camel Safari in Tanji. Several cats have adopted the compound obviously knowing that they would be well looked after. Many have been neutered but some still remain to be caught. If you go for a ride keep an eye open for cats in the gardens!

'The African Adventure of Finnegan O'Reilly'
This is a splendid book for children, written by longtime supporter Lucy Jackson. It tells the story of Finn O'Reilly, an Irish terrier, and his adventures near the Vale of Antrim, and then subsequently in The Gambia. When Finn is 10, his owners go to The Gambia to help with a new ground nut factory in Ndung Kebbe and take him with them. There, real adventures happen, one nearly ending in disaster!
The book has many lively illustrations, runs to 69 pages and is in hard cover.

All proceeds from sales will go to help GambiCats - so if you would like a copy please send £6.50 which covers postage & packing (cheques payable to GambiCats) to Parc Llwyd, Aberporth, Cardigan SA43 2DU