Cat in Ukraine

Ukraine: One Year into War and Animal Welfare Efforts Intensify

FOUR PAWS latest help focuses on protecting stray cats in five cities in Ukraine


Kyiv/Vienna, 23 February 2023 – A new project “Kishka” (Ukrainian for “female cat”) by FOUR PAWS was brought to life in five Ukrainian cities, Chernihiv, Sumy, Boryspil, Uman and Poltava to specifically take care of stray cats roaming the streets. The goal is to sterilise and vaccinate 10,000 stray cats by the end of 2023.

FOUR PAWS has been active in Ukraine since 2012. The teams are operating in multiple municipalities across the country. A mobile clinic, carrying out catch-neuter-vaccinate-return (CNVR) projects is a core element of the successful work of the global animal welfare organisation.

One year ago the Russian war on Ukraine has started with millions of people fleeing their homes, taking with them only what they could carry. Often pets were left behind with a heavy heart. Due to this state of emergency the number of stray animals in the embattled streets of Ukraine has risen significantly.

A focus on cats for the upcoming spring

“It is a known fact, that when stray dog populations decline, stray cat populations can increase dramatically. Spring is around the corner, which means mating time for cats. Unneutered cats can produce offspring up to three times a year. Therefore we started a long-term project, called Kishka, to assist local communities to stabilize their stray cat populations. The goal is to sterilize, vaccinate and medically treat 10,000 cats by December 2023. In order to achieve this goal we hired five new veterinarians in five different regions of Ukraine.”

Manuela Rowlings, Head of Stray Animal Care (SAC) in Europe at FOUR PAWS

War also creates a state of emergency in animal protection

Rowlings continues: “Our regular work usually focuses on improving the welfare of stray cats and dogs. The additional challenges that the war in Ukraine entails are manifold. People that needed help to safely cross the borders with children and pets, refugees that need psychological support, which we could provide with our Animal Assisted Interventions team and of course the emergency feeding of animals in the most affected cities by war and in countless shelters. We can see the positive effects of our work every day, but there are always too few hands to feed them all.”



The FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care (SAC) teams in Ukraine have been working in various cities in Ukraine since 2012. In total 30,000 stray dogs and cats in over 60 communities were successfully treated with vaccinations, sterilization and medical treatments. The roaming animals are caught, neutered, vaccinated and returned (CNVR method) to the communities: the only humane and sustainable way to reduce stray animal populations. The WHO estimates that there are 200 million stray dogs worldwide with many of them living in Eastern Europe.

Cat Kisa with Irina Kisileva, Kiev in Ukraine 2022

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Michael Kellner

Michael Kellner

PR International Officer

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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