Kotor Kitties – Kotor Kitties Bi-lingual Website
Kotor Kitties works to help tens of thousands of stray animals in Montenegro through a program of spaying and neutering. The simple surgery means healthier lives for the individual animals, and a reduced population of unwanted animals by a humane means. As the first and only on-going sterilization program in the country, Kotor Kitties began spaying and neutering while simultaneously doing the ground work for the program: public education, outreach, finding or creating resources and materials, translation. Even the equipment to trap cats for a basic Trap-Neuter-Release program was a challenge to import.
Most important, though, is connecting with the people who care for the animals there, developing personal relationships, trust, and a shared vision of what is possible. Basic community organizing and leadership development are underway, so that local leaders become the face and voice for the community cat movement in Montenegro.
We have been fortunate that many animal caregivers in Montenegro are connected through Facebook. It has been a valuable tool in our first year — a quick way to share information. But most of the posts are published by our English speakers, and many rely on the on-line translators to read it in Serbian. It is not a satisfactory way to work. There are also drawbacks to using Facebook in place of a website: many people are NOT connected to Facebook for personal or political reasons; it is difficult to organize information by subject, and not always intuitive where you will find information on a page.
The grant from The Pollination Project will help create a bi-lingual website in Serbian and English. This will help share our work and message with more people in the Serbian-language-based world (Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Serbia) as well as interested tourists and donors worldwide. It is important to us that the Serbian “side” of our website be an equal voice for the project, not a poorly translated afterthought, which the Facebook page tends to be.
Many of our group first came to Montenegro as tourists in Kotor. We were haunted by the suffering of the cats we saw on the streets, and the struggles of the people trying to care for them with so few resources themselves. Knowing the wonderful effect that a strong sterilization program can have in a community, we wanted to donate to one. When we discovered there was none in the entire country, we realized we had received a life-changing “souvenir” from the trip: the determination to help the people of Montenegro create a program of prevention of the suffering and horror, through high volume spaying and neutering.