God's Little People Cat Rescue is a no-kill, no cage cat sanctuary and adoption center located in a stunning setting in a nature preserved bay on the Greek island of Syros. The sanctuary was started in 2010 when founder Joan Bowell and her husband had just finished building an estate of four houses on a beautiful hillside.
Joan who’d already volunteered with cats in her native country of Denmark knew she wanted to do something to help Greek cats when they moved to Greece. Having witnessed the desperate plight of Greek cats from traveling around Greece for 35 years her heart and mind was made up. She just had no idea how quickly she’d be caught up in helping and rescuing Greek cats!
Only a few weeks after they’d arrived the first sickly kitten appeared in the garden - without intervention (although feral) he would have died according to the vet. From that moment on Joan started seeing sick and needy cats everywhere and within the first year she’d rescued 30 cats!
Their private home was fast turning into a refuge and sanctuary for the vast number of unwanted and sick cats. Joan photographed and documented each rescue which can still be found on her old blog and a few years later started a Facebook page to reach a broader audience and to reach out to supporters. It quickly became impossible to cover all the costs alone and GLPCR soon began to get help from supporters around the world. A sponsorship program was put in place in 2015 and we finally officially got charitable status in 2018.
Today we function as a no-kill sanctuary and adoption center rescuing sick and injured cats and orphaned or discarded kittens. We offer a life-time home for chronically ill and semi feral cats and do TNR for the stray cats. We offer veterinary care to all the cats - including a stray colony of 25 cats that we feed twice a day.
The philosophy behind the name God’s Little People
Many years ago Joan came across the teachings of a wise man. He spoke so reverently and respectfully about animals and referred to them as ‘God’s little people’ and humans ‘God’s big people’. He explained how humans have both a soul and a spirit and animals only have a soul. Therefore it is only through their interaction with humans that animals can feel or know about God.
So, if humans treat them kindly and with compassion and inclusion, then they will know God to be kind, compassionate and including of animals. But also, if humans treat animals cruelly, inhumane and with disregard - then that’s how animals will experience God to be.
Joan was so deeply touched by this philosophy that she knew she wanted to help spread this profound understanding. She simply couldn’t bear the thought of animals feeling God to be cruel at the hands of humans. Years later when she started a blog about kindness to animals she did it under the mantle “We share with animals the privilege of having a soul.” This quote by Pythagoras resonated perfectly with the understanding about God’s little people.
We as humans possess the power to be kind to animals - it’s a human choice and it is our individual responsibility how we conduct ourselves as humans.
Joan R. Bowell
Founder and CEO of God’s Little People Cat Rescue
Joan is driven by a wish to ease the immense suffering among cats that she’s witnessed over the last ten years living in Greece. Even before moving to Greece from Denmark, she knew she wanted to do something for cats here. After more than three decades of traveling around Greece and seeing unwanted, sick and mistreated cats everywhere she went - she resolved to create a change for them!
From the first sickly kitten she patiently nurtured back to health in 2010, she soon realized what an overwhelming task it was, and it grew from 1 to 30 rescued cats within the first year. After that, the numbers kept growing and today Joan’s privately owned sanctuary is home to 65+ cats.
It became a legally registered charity in 2018, and today it’s run by a small team of dedicated cat people! Apart from caring for and providing an adoption service to the many rescued cats and kittens, the sanctuary also cares for nearly 25 stray cats every day and does ongoing TNR work. The sanctuary is entirely privately funded and relies on the kindness of our sponsors who donate via monthly sponsorships and memberships.
Richard A Bowell
President of God’s Little People Cat Rescue
Richard has played an important role over the last ten years supporting Joan in her rescue work every step of the way. While he might have had more of a ‘background’ role, he’s always been ready to drive cats to the vet and have been involved in endless trips to the vet clinic.
He’s been ever ready with moral and emotional support during testing times, and as for the cats, he’s always embraced the weak and beaten up little souls we’ve rescued along the way. He speaks very proudly of Snowy (our sanctuary mascot) who’s Richard one rescue that he saved from sitting in the middle of the road when he was a tiny weak kitten.
Apart from helping Joan over the last ten years, Richard has been busy with his own work as an author. His latest book, “An Urgent Plea From the Future” (a companion book to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals), is a current bestseller at the UN bookstore. You can read more about Richard’s important work about becoming “Conscious World Citizens” on his webpage www.richardabowell.org
Richard's best selling book at the UN now includes chapters about the story of GLPCR and shows why it's a significant contribution in the way we treat the natural worlds of this planet. Buy it HERE.
Adoption manager at God’s Little People Cat Rescue
Passionate about cats since a very young age, Lila started to work with cats in 2019 by being a foster family in France. At the beginning of 2020, while starting a world trip, it was natural for her to volunteer in a cat shelter as part of the traveling experience. It was not planned however, to discover a real life goal in this activity.
Through a fortunate chain of events, two weeks of volunteering turned into a real job. God’s Little People Cat Rescue offered her the opportunity to work with all the many tasks involved such as TNR, caring for sick cats, socializing cats - and the most fulfilling part of it: bringing rescued cats to forever loving homes!
Through her brilliant skills for logistics, research and planning - and not least her calm demeanor it requires to travel with adopted cats, Lila is ready to see our many rescued cats to their new homes!
Caretaker at God’s Little People Cat Rescue
Greetings! My name is Quentin and I am thrilled to be part of the God’s Little People Cat Rescue team as caretaker. My job consists in making sure that our cats are well-fed and well looked after, but it doesn’t stop there! I am also in charge of bribing them with treats, breaking up the occasional scuffle, and of course giving them all the love and attention they deserve. In addition to caring for our feline residents, I am also concerned with the well-being of our guests staying at one of our villas and I will happily take them for a tour of the estate and the cat garden.
Caretaker at God’s Little People Cat Rescue
Hello everyone, Isabelle here. I proudly joined the GLPCR caretaker crew and am a trained vet nurse. My role at the sanctuary is to watch over the health of our furry companions. I have to come up with ways to give them their medication, take them on dreaded vet visits, and try my best to earn back their affection. I am also a graphic designer and I enjoy creating visual content for GLPCR during cat siesta time.
Gardener & Handyman
Coming to Greece from Albania 15 years ago, Get is a master stone builder, all-round gardener and handyman. He is a valued and integral part of the team and often makes suggestions in the garden for the benefit of the cats.
The sanctuary works in close association with “Syros Vets” and the local low cost spay/neuter clinic “We Live Together.” Joan owes a debt of gratitude to the vets for everything she’s learnt from them over the last ten years.