Palauans are animal lovers and have a deep respect for nature and the environment. This is reflected in many of the stories and legends told to us by our elders, including the story of the Cat and The Sea Snake. This tale of unlikely siblings, reminds us to be kind to animals – when animals are treated well, they will be loyal.
The Palau Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Palau Conservation Society (PCS) have teamed up to remind the community of the best ways to be kind to cats and protect biodiversity at the same time.
First and foremost, the campaign emphasizes the importance of spaying and neutering cats (selkosk el katuu). A spayed/neutered cat helps reduce the population of homeless cats in the community and reduces roaming, fighting, and the marking of territory with urine. Non-spayed/neutered cats have the potential of becoming feral or free-range and given the opportunity to reproduce, one non-spayed cat can produce 36 cats in just 16 months. Cats are superb hunters and have the ability to catch all sorts of prey, including birds. Many of Palau’s birds are endemic and even endangered. The more cats we have roaming our forests, the greater the threat to Palau’s birds and reptiles. A recent study suggests that cats are the principle threat to almost 8% of critically endangered birds, mammals, and reptiles, with island birds particularly at risk.
PAWS is a non-profit organization that can help members of the community spay and neuter their cats. For more information, visit the PAWS website www.pawspalau.org or call 775-PAWS (7297). You can also contact Yalap Yalap at PCS to learn more – 488-3993 or firstname.lastname@example.org .