About Us

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.

The Team

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.



Since an early age, Gaëlle has been obsessed with animals - especially cats - she grew up in a home that always had animals.

This early passion for animals grew into a life of volunteering and she spent one year volunteering several times a week at the SPCA in Vancouver, Canada as a cat companion helping socializing feral, stray and shy/scared cats.

She also spent 3 months volunteering at the Jutta Shelter in Crete, Greece taking care of dogs and cats. As part of that experience she took care of 15 newborns kittens for two months - day and night - all by herself. That all consuming experience prepared her for volunteering at GLP where she signed up to volunteer for two months last summer.

Together with Melinda, she spent her days taking care of the nearly 90 cats that are under the care of GLP and she fell in love with all the special characters.

Since volunteering at GLP she has been an intern at the Vervet Monkey Foundation in South Africa for 5 months where she cared for 26 baby orphans around the clock.

She helped nursing them back to health, rehabilitate them, pair them with a foster mom and integrate them in a troop.

After this experience she's now returning to GLP to take on the caretaker role. Gaëlle has a special passion for socializing cats and she's especially fond of the strays. This summer she hopes to help find them good homes and give them all the affection and care they need and deserve.

She is delighted to take on the caretaker role this summer at GLP and will once again be working with Melinda and will also train up volunteers.

Melinda Rundström


Melinda is a licensed veterinary nurse of nearly 10 years, a cat rescue volunteer of 20 years and has been in love with cats for most of her life.

In Stockholm, Sweden, she runs a cats-only, home-visiting business offering nail clipping, fur trimming, blood work, behavioural counselling and more.

All the years of rescue work do come in handy as some of the clients are themselves former strays and not always easily treated. With her years of experience and medical knowledge she is well qualified to care for and oversee the health of our resident cats, rescues and the stray cats under our care.

After being a full time caretaker the summer of 2022 and several visits since, she has also become a cherished and trusted friend to the people and cats of the sanctuary alike.

If you visit our Cat Cuddling Café (and we recommend that you do!), chances are Melinda will also be there to greet you, making sure your experience is unforgettable.

Our Partners

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.