Every summer, Deike Behringer travels from her home in Germany to Estepona in Southern Spain. It is a lovely resort town on the Costa del Sol, but Behringer is not there for the sun and fun.
Instead, she volunteers her time and remarkable photography skills to Estepona Cat Rescue, one of the few organizations fighting to save the area’s unwanted cats.
According to Behringer, Estepona’s cats are seen more as pests than cherished pets. The shelters are extremely primitive and the local Pererras – or “killing stations” – make little effort to promote adoption. The animals are euthanized within two weeks.
For the cats of Estepona, there is one glimmer of hope. Her name is Cleo Wrobel and she has devoted her life and her own home to save as many Spanish street cats as she possibly can. Over the years she has rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed more than 500 animals – mostly cats, but a few dogs here and there, too.
Wrobel houses the animals in her home and in a large cat house she built in her yard. She takes care of their food, supplies and veterinary care, and writes all of their adoption profiles.
Although it is hard, constant work marked with tragic, heartbreaking cases, Wrobel sticks to her mission and lives for the success stories. She gets the happy job of delivering the lucky ones to the airport to be flown to new lives in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
For her part, Deike Behringer assists Wrobel with the website and social media profiles. She also takes gorgeous photos of the adoptable kitties.
The images capture the animals’ imperfect beauty from notched ears to missing eyes and battle scars. Most are available for adoption, while others – the sickest and most emotionally scarred – will remain at the rescue for the rest of their lives.
The team at Estepona Cats is small but dedicated. If you would like to help them continue to rescue the street cats of Spain, please visit their website and consider making a donation.