Wherever we went in Essouira there were cats, young and old ones, well-fed ones and very skinny ones, some looked like well cared for house cats but most were stray cats. They walked the streets, enjoyed sunny places, brazenly occupied chairs of the many street cafés and restaurants. They sat in shop windows, slept between the produce, were stretched out on the shelfs. They were just everywhere! Which meant heaven on earth for us!
A lot of them looked quite healthy, many of them had the tip of one ear cut off. We wondered how this had happened, it looked too weird to be a sheer coincidence.
And then we met the people responsible for this ‘mutilation’. They were members of a team of the HSAM (Help the Street Animals of Morocco). Their aim is “to create a sustainable and healthy street cat and dog population in and around Essaouira, Morocco. By sterilising, treating and vaccinating against Rabies they not only give the animals a better quality of life, they offer peace of mind to a local community where the threat of Rabies is very real.” Once the animals are sterilised and vaccinated the vet takes off the tip of an ear. Thus everybody can see immediately that this animal was treated by the HSAM and is healthy.
They do an amazing job, helping the street animals and Essaouira's population at the same time. For this they heavily rely on volunteers. Maybe an idea for your next holiday?