Nairobi is full of stray animals, just like many other cities and towns in the world. People avoid and ignore most of these strays as they are so desensitized and used to having these animals roaming around, looking for scraps to eat or a place to sleep.
Strays are considered to be dangerous and this is partially true. With an uncontrolled stray population (whether they are cats or dogs), there can be an exponential growth of the amount of animals in one area. This will lead to competition in territory, food and water, shelter and mating rights.
Just to give you a bit of an idea, here are some statistics. Assuming zero mortality in 5 years:
- 1 female dog and her offspring can produce over 2,900 dogs
- 1 female cat and her offspring can produce over 20,000 cats!
Because of the overpopulation, the amount of dog and cat bites to humans also increases, which in itself increases the risk of rabies infection.
Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease. It is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal, usually through a bite.
In Kenya, it is estimated that up to 2,000 human deaths occur annually due to rabies. Domestic dogs are responsible for transmission of over 98% of all human rabies cases in Kenya, with Nairobi City Council reported 4,000 dog bites in 2015.
Below is the story of just one drop in a big bucket of water. Cats that are roaming around this mall are not “safe cats”, meaning they are not vaccinated against rabies. This boy comes to the mall several time each week. He brings with him packets of cat food and frequently convinces his dad to give him the pot of milk that gets served with his coffee. This little guy loves these cats, plays with them and feeds them to the best of his ability, but at the same time this animal-loving child is at risk of contracting rabies.
TNR Trust have tried to organize with the locals to trap, neuter and release them (and even cover the actual cost of it), but so far to no avail yet. We hope that eventually we will be able to sort them out. This way, the mall would have great rat and mice killers, snake deterrents and the kids, who are often drawn to pups and kitties, will be safe from the horrible disease that is rabies.
Therefore, if you come across any stray dog or cat, ensure that you keep safety a priority, but at the same time don’t just ignore, kick them or throw stones after them. Treat them with respect.
For more information on Rabies in Kenya, click HERE