How Did We Get Started?

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Pirate as a kittenOne day in July of 2006 I was having lunch with my companion, Claude, at a local restaurant and we noticed some kittens in the bushes. I asked the restaurant owners about them and I learned that there were six of them and the mother, who was less than two years old, was pregnant again with her fifth litter. Poor little thing, she was skinny, scrawny and beaten-down. As she was a stray cat and wary of humans you couldn’t get near her or her kittens. The restaurant owners fed them scrapes and they wanted to have her sterilized but they didn’t know how to go about it.

I came back the next day and saw that one of the kittens had a badly injured eye. I was told that there was a fight with a dominant male cat and she had gotten in the middle. I decided to take action right away and recruited the neighborhood children to help me trap them. At the time I didn’t have any of the sophisticated equipment that we have now, only your standard plastic carrying cages and some string to pull the door shut. With patience and perseverance we had all the kittens and the mother within 3 days. The mother was taken to the vet’s and spayed and I kept five of the six kittens for taming (one of the kittens had already allowed himself to be caught and was adopted into a good home). The one with the injured eye (Pirate) had to have drops several times a day and as a result stayed very wary of humans. Another one was just so terrified that it took several months before I could touch him after he was let out of his cage. We call him Timo, he and Pirate live with us in St Etienne de Tinée. The remaining three kittens were tamed and adopted and at six months were sterilized. Their mother, Ciel, still lives next to the restaurant, has a nice little shelter, is well fed and serene but she still won’t let anyone touch her.

Needless to say all this cost money, the sterilizations, taming cages, medication, wormer, food, not to mention the gas (nearest vet is 80km away) and TIME. I made an appointment with the deputy mayor to ask for money to help me offset these costs, she told me that unless I was an official association (loi 1901) there wasn’t anything they could do. So, I created the association, “Les Chats du Mercantour”. Since then we’ve had sterilized and /or placed around 600 cats and kittens and helped St Etienne de Tinée and many other mountain communities become more pleasant places to live for their inhabitants, cats and people alike.


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Non-Profit Association

Les Chats du Mercantour (N° 0062027452) is a non-profit association (loi 1901) registered at the Alpes Maritimes préfecture on 24th October 2006.