Island of the Cats
[Photo by Sayoko Shimoyama/Creative Commons License]

It’s officially named ‘Ilha Furtada,’ but unofficially, it’s called ‘Ilha dos Gatos: Island of the Cats’. 

It’s an island that’s off Brazil’s southeastern coastline. It looks deserted, but it isn’t. Abandoned animals, hundreds of them, hide within the dense tree cover.  

As the coronavirus pandemic devastated Brazil, the number of cats on the island had exploded substantially. 

The coronavirus left thousands of pet owners unable to take care of their pets. In most wealthy nations, animal shelters have alleviated the surge in pet abandonment. 

Unfortunately, in developing countries like Brazil, where shelter systems for pets are usually overwhelmed, deserting animals is the most common recourse.

Shelter director Andrea Cafasso says people arrive with so many animals that she couldn’t accept them all. 

 “If you don’t take them, they’re going out to Island of the Cats.” is the threat she always gets. 

The island had become the last stop for unwanted cats, who either have to learn to survive or perish. 

The problem is, animal lovers, want to continue leaving food on the island. City officials want the practice stopped, saying it encourages people to leave their pets. 



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