Beware, cat photos overload!
Many years ago, when I first visited one of many Greek islands (now I sound like I am 4748 years old), I was surprised with the number of cats hanging there. Back then I was like…hmm…ok…maybe they are hanging out just here, but after many years and many Greek islands I realised that they are everywhere. Literally there are legions of cats roaming the streets or napping on the sun, mostly near the archeological sites or loitering around taverns in port, patiently waiting for a chip of food from the generous tourists.
For some people this is a charming and lovely experience. Usually they take it as a part of Greek holidays and their culture. For the others is, however, rather unpleasant. Being approached by stray animal, rubbing its tiny body at your leg, begging for food or petting is stressful. The cats are unhealthy, abandoned and dirty, even if Greeks are telling you that they are perfectly fine. Usually if you are eating a nice meal in that perfect Greek looking restaurant, overlooking the sunset over the sea, waiter will tell you not to feed them. Most of the tourists also think that after the summer is over, they just poison them or something like that to reduce the population and get rid of them.
Well, however, I have to say, that I only had good experiences with abandoned cats (and dogs). A lot of times those cats are not neglected, abused or unwanted. There are people who are feeding them every single day. In some islands you can find shelters and even adopt that one cat that stole your heart. For example, I know that in the island of Lesbos, they have some kind of foundation that helps cats. Volunteers feed them every single day, summer and winter. I know one women, that owns a small shop in the port of Molyvos. Every single day at 8 am, cats start to gather in front of her shop and wait for her. When she arrives, she unlocks her shop and enters to put her stuff down. Cats follow her and they stop right outside the door, then she brings out one big bowl of cat food and feeds them. I heard that once a month she goes to the local foundation, there she picks up free food and distributes it every single day to the street cats.
Even I rescued one little white cat this summer. I found her on the main road, running back and forth across the lanes. I stopped the car at the side of the road to pick her up and take her to the town before someone runs her over. The kitty was so frightened that I was there for more than one hour, chasing and persuading her at the side of the road, before she let me grab her. I took her to the shelter for a check up, the kitty was ok thought. They kept her there for a few days because she was so tiny. After a month I went back to ask about the kitty and luckily she was adopted, by one warm and friendly old lady that lives in England and already had one cat at home! They even showed me photos of that little kitty, that the new owner sent 🙂 .
Well if you want your own cat for a week, you can find “cat hotels” in Greece. There you book your room and you can also book your cat for a week, the cat food is included in the price of the cat 😉 . During winter your cat is sending you monthly emails with pictures and what is she up to. If you decide to come back next year, you can get your cat back or choose another one. Another crazier idea is…you can rent your cat, for a day…for 5 EUR 😀 .