July to December 2007


GambiCats' 10th Anniversary - come and help us celebrate!

We will be 10 years old in 2008 and hope to have a party in The Gambia for as many supporters as possible. The best time seems to be in October or November so, if you think you may be visiting then, please let us know your dates and we will try and find the most popular time to get together.


This Update is written before December has ended but I know all supporters will take great pleasure in knowing that, since January, 66 cats and 72 dogs have been neutered by GambiCats! These animals were mostly strays from the following sites: AJ Restaurant, African Heritage, Ali Baba, Badala Park, Bakotu, Bijilo Beach, Bungalow Beach, Cape Point, Denton Bridge, Domino, Fajara Hotel, Holiday Beach, Kololi, Kombo Beach, Mansea, Ocean Bay, Palma Rima, Royal Victoria Training Hospital Campamar and TB sites, Sarge's, Scala, Senegambia, Spy Bar, Sunset Beach, and of course Banjul.

Gambian holiday - feeding the local cats and dogs

In addition, many animals have had veterinary care for injuries, been dosed with worm and flea treatments, and fed during the rainy season. Three cheers to Dodou and his helpers, the vets, and all who have supported us through another challenging year!

Cat colony at Denton Bridge

Many of you will have crossed Denton Bridge when traveling to and from Banjul, and also when taking a cruise on the river. A visitor recently alerted us to a colony of cats living there around the boat hire companies and bar. Some have a pretty wretched existence so Dodou has been persuading the operators to let GambiCats help. There was, amazingly, some resistance at the beginning, but everyone is now supportive and trapping and neutering began in November. Locals have estimated there may be up to 30 cats there - time will tell. To date 5 females and one male have been checked over and neutered, and two in very poor health put to sleep. GambiCats has paid the veterinary bills. There will be a follow-up report with photos in the next Update.

Back to Abuko !

Wounded Kololi dog

We are also busy preparing for another Neutering Workshop - GambiCats' eighth - in January 2008. Dutch vet, Rob Werschell, has generously volunteered to spend a week neutering cats and dogs at the Department of Livestock Services Clinic at Abuko. Rob has been amazing and persuaded some drug companies, especially Pfizer, to donate some of the necessary drugs. Rob's son is also a vet and will be helping, so Suzanne Jones our vet nurse, has agreed to come for her fourth workshop with GambiCats.

Being near the large urbanisation of Serekunda, the Abuko Workshop is targeted at dogs and cats owned by Gambians, plus, no doubt, some strays. Local vets and assistants will be invited to come and share skills.

The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) made the Clinic available to GambiCats in March 2000 and a very successful week was spent with practical sessions neutering 8 dogs and 11 cats. We expect to be able to look after more animals in 2008 while still sharing expertise and are grateful to the DLS for offering this facility.

Off-season feeding programme

Once again Dodou and our helpers visited the various cat colonies at hotels during the summer closure to make sure the cats were keeping healthy and to give them two meals each day. These meals are a lifeline during the rainy season though the cats supplement them with frogs, mice, birds, small insects and even butterflies and moths. Feeding also means newcomers can be spotted and taken to be neutered.


Kairaba cat with left ear tipped

Currency ups and downs

Northern Rock is not the only place where money problems have hit the public. In The Gambia the dalasi rate plummeted from around 52 to the £ in January 2007 to around 34 in the summer. It has now risen to around 44. This has had severe implications for those such as GambiCats whose main income is in sterling. Such dramatic swings demonstrate the continuing need for more donations. Many supporters now pledge a monthly amount which is extremely helpful and allows us to budget better. £5 each month can often be spared and gives us a whopping £60 per annum. If the donor pays income tax - and most of us do, even on pensions - GambiCats can claim another £14 or so from the Inland Revenue. If you would like to do support in this way there is a Banker's Order form on the back of this Update.

New webmaster

We said farewell to Gary Constable who designed GambiCats' website in 2001 and has kept it up-to-date ever since. He has done a tremendous job very patiently and not given up in the face of technical inadequacies at this end! Thank you Gary. We welcome our new webmaster, Bob McKinlay, who took over from the last Update and hope he has a good supply of patience too!


Details of the 5 colour cards can be found on the website together with an order form. The cards are blank inside to allow you to add a suitable message. If you con't get to the website - contact us using the phone/email details on the back page.

We can also supply T-shirts and Polo shirts with the GambiCats' logo on the chest and the word 'GambiCats' across the back. They are available in most colours and in sizes S, M, L and XL as well as children's sizes. Costs range from £12.50 for T-shirts and £15.50 for polo shirts for adults.


We have signed up with this search tool and will benefit if readers search the internet using www.everyclick.com The more you surf - the more GambiCats will receive.


Thanks for the dog leads and collars

We have received generous numbers of once-used dog collars and leads from various supporters. These are extremely useful to help Gambians keep their dogs in order - especially as they cost as much in The Gambia as the UK! Please keep them coming - vets sometimes have a collection left after dogs have been put to sleep, and will donate them.

...and all those other parcels!

Lots of generous people have sent us a wide variety of veterinary and animal-related items as well as unwanted mobile phones and cameras. Others have kindly included items in containers of charity goods. To all of you - our thanks for all your generous support.