For every meowbox sold, meowbox donates a can of cat food, or monetary equivalent to a shelter or rescue. This month, we donated to the Gattolandia O.N.L.U.S. in Monza, Italy.
Currently, Italy is one of the countries most affected by COVID-19, with a total of 59,138 confirmed cases as of Monday, March 23rd. To help slow the spread of the virus, the Italian government has ordered all non-essential services and offices to close.
For animal shelter and rescue organizations, this means shutting down to the public as well as postponing any upcoming fundraising events—which many nonprofits heavily rely on for funding.
We chatted with Gattolandia, a cat shelter and feline welfare organization located in a city just northeast of Milan, about how their operations have been affected so far by the pandemic, and how North Americans can help.
Tell us more about Gattolandia and the work you do.
Gattolandia is a nonprofit organization for cats’ safety and protection established in 2006, dedicated to improving the lives of cats in Monza Brianza and Milan metropolitan areas. Some of our initiatives include our cat shelter Gattoparco; sterilization, care and maintenance programs; educational and rehabilitative initiatives with children and people with disabilities; media awareness campaigns on sterilization and infectious diseases; recovery and socialization program for wild cats that cannot be returned to their territory; our Olimpo project, devoted to the recovery of farm animals; and an assistance program for FeLV+ cats, disabled cats and elderly cats.
Gattolandia does not receive any financial support from the state or the municipality. It’s totally volunteer-based, including maintenance work.
What is life like right now for your animals and volunteers, with the high rates of COVID-19 cases in Italy?*
* As of date of interview, 03/20/2020
Well, COVID-19 is drastically changing daily life in every single aspect because everything is affected—or better, infected—by the virus, including the way we operate our shelter.
This is not so evident if we put ourselves in the shoes of our kitties, so we do our best to ensure the same level of care they deserve and are used to receiving.
We got permission from authorities to go to the shelter twice a day (morning and evening) limiting the number of volunteers to five people plus the coordinator, and we have a lot of additional bureaucracy to deal with. The shelter is closed to guests, which means not only have adoptions been suspended, but also any funding initiatives. Unfortunately abandonments are not on hold and, combined with the spring season, newborn kittens are soon due to arrive.
Notwithstanding current contingencies, we are not losing our high spirit and our cats are the reason why we are strongly convinced that everything will be fine.
How can folks based in the US and Canada help?
There are so many ways to support Gattolandia; no doubt, you will find the way that suits you most!
You can donate money [via PayPal: email@example.com], your free time and useful stuff, or you can support us by buying our gadgets (t-shirts, sweatshirts, cups, covers…) If you want to run the extra mile, you can become a supporting member or sponsor a cat through our long-distance adoption program! Choose your favourite cat among the guests at Gattoparco or among the cats of our colonies. With a contribution of 15 euro a month [about $24 CAD or $16 USD] you will help them live healthy lives and you will receive a nice certificate of adoption! Please visit firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.