People have abandoned hundreds of cats on a deserted Brazilian island. Officials aren’t sure how to save them.
Category: Pets & AnimalsVia: hallux • 2 weeks ago • 7 comments
ILHA FURTADA, Brazil — Eduardo Mayhe Ferreira has heard the stories for years. There was an island off Brazil’s southeastern coastline that looked deserted but wasn’t. Hidden within the dense tree cover were hundreds of abandoned animals.
Officially named Ilha Furtada, it was known to almost everyone as Ilha dos Gatos: Island of the Cats.
It was rumored to be dangerous to visit. The cats had grown to the size of dogs and gone feral, people said. They would attack outsiders. One Brazilian reporter, writing of the “mysterious” island , claimed 750 “wild” cats roamed its jungle; others said more. The number seemed to climb with every telling.
Now Mayhe, a municipal veterinarian in nearby Mangaratiba, was motorboating across translucent waters to see for himself. Before this city-backed expedition, he had never stepped onto the island but knew enough to understand there was a problem. One rumor was true: Over the past year, as the coronavirus pandemic devastated Brazil, the number of cats on the island had grown substantially. Two distinct colonies had formed. The cats were hundreds strong. Each day seemed to bring more —