Recently, Salou’s local council made a donation to animal associations in the town. Mayor Pere Granados commented that “in these times of pandemic and economic crisis, we want to help people who act for animalwelfare”. Undoubtedly, this contribution of 500 kilos of dried food will be well received by the many street cats in Salou this summer.
With this increased motivation to help our four-legged friends, the city council should now help find a space to improve the conditions of street cats in Salou. The idea from the animal welfare associations would be to create a city park where the cat colonies could call home. Currently, the luckiest cats live in colonies close to the beach or in urban parks. However, others live in more dangerous areas. It is estimated that in Salou there are about a hundred feline colonies, controlled by animalists and visitors.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Gandhi
An area where locals and visitors can meet the cats in a natural environment could become a new tourist attraction for Salou. A very common attraction in other tourist destinations around the world but still non-existent in our country. England, Holland, Argentina, Malaysia, Turkey and the United States all have innovative tourist attractions with cats.
The Botanical Gardens Salou, a new home for street cats?
Of all the municipal parks and gardens, the one that would house the cats best would be the Botanical Gardens Salou. A large well-designed space that is currently unused and closed to the public. Opened in 2009, it closed a few years later due to the economic crisis and the high cost of maintenance. After a decade of silence on the future of the Botanical Gardens, making it a home for the street cats in Salou would be a great way to regenerate the space.
The Botanic Garden has hundreds of plant species, ornamental fountains and artistic sculptures, over 1.7 hectares of land. It would be an ideal home for felines and a must-visit for all animal lovers. In addition, regenerating this park would attract tourists to visit the northern part of the town. This would also promote the historic Vila Romana de Barenys that is closeby. Diversifying visitor attractions throughout the city will help to lengthen the tourist season and help fill the streets with life.
A self-managed and economically profitable park
The animal associations of the town would be best to manage the cats in the Botanical Gardens. Laura Lozano of SOS GAT SALOU views it as an excellent opportunity. She points out that a controlled environment “would be an ideal place to process more adoptions, as people could interact with cats”. The associations have demonstrated their ability to ensure the health of animals and to create a powerful network of volunteers. They selflessly collaborate with resources, food, time and promotion on social media.
And finally, it is necessary to address the economic impact of reopening the Botanical Gardens. Taking other cat sanctuaries around the world as an example, this space could be completely self-sufficient through the contributions and donations of visitors and associates. In fact, welcoming cats appears to be the only way to charge some sort of entrance fee for this abandoned space. It could be the leading cat shelter of the area and would make Salou an animal-friendly tourist destination.
Salou could have the best cat sanctuary throughout the entire Costa Daurada by reviving the botanical garden. Sign the change.org petition and share this article to help this project become a reality. MORE INFORMATION: Associació SOS GAT SALOU