I am sure that many of you are familiar with the typical ending to the price is right where Bob Barker implores people to spay and neuter their pets. Well Bob Barker, or someone like him needs to come to Spain and start that campaign, because there and tons of stray cats here.
Often they don't seem entirely like strays as several places people have set out food for the cats to eat. For example, in Madrid, the cats at the botanical gardens had a plate of food set out for them when we walked by. This was similar in Malaga where we walked by a construction zone and there was a cat eating off a paper plate. It quickly scurried away when we stopped.
I am not sure if there is a reason why there are so many cats here, as I mentioned before it could be to try and counter act more worrisome pests such as mice or rats, but it seems like there might be better ways to deal with it.
Below are the pictures of the cats we have seen during our travels. Almost all of them are included, along with some short explanations.
So we started noticing this in our first stop, the city of Madrid. While there were not a whole lot of cats in the streets or the main parts of the city, it did seem like there were smart enough to find safe places to stay, such as the Botanical gardens.
Here is the first cat we took a picture of. It is at the botanical gardens in Madrid, and it wouldn't be Eric's friend.
As I mentioned before the park was full of cats, and someone was also putting food out for them. This cat is sunning itself on the window of a building in the garden.
Since this was our first stop we figured that this might be an isolated event, especially since we only noticed this at the botanical gardens. However, this was not the case. At our next in Toledo we ran into the river cats. These cats, which seemed like mostly young cats, were playing with each other, chasing around and fighting near the river in Toledo. The city did not seem to have a lot of cats, but this may have been because the cats were too lazy to climb all the way up the hill.
The cats were pretty skinny but they seemed to be full of energy, at least they were chasing each other around.
Sevilla was probably too warm in general to house a large population of cats, although their certainly could have been some around the river. However, we did not see any. After our first trip to the river in which we saw lots of graffiti and not so scenic sights, we did not go back.
However, we did discover a fair amount of cats in the Alcazar gardens. It seems like this would be a great place for them. Not only is is shaded and cool and has lots of places to hide, but there are also a ton of birds for the cats to hunt.
The first cat we ran into seemed to feel like it controlled an entire pathway in the garden.
The second cat was hunting peacocks or ducks in the garden. It wasn't successful while we were watching, but you never know.
The other cat that we found in Sevilla could be described as more of a desert cat. In fact it was braving degrees over 100 Fahrenheit and didn't seem to be bothered by it at all. In fact it just found a shady spot and was napping when we ran across it. I offered it some water, but it seemed fine with it and wandered off to find some shady area that was undisturbed.
Malaga while, very temperate, did not seem to be home to a ton of cats. We did find this one that seemed to be enjoying the nice weather. It was also breathing from it's mouth, so hopefully it was ok. We saw some cats that were under some cars, but we couldn't really take pictures of them. You would think that cats would love Malaga since it is basically like one huge litter box with all the sand.
Granada was the city with by far the most cats, although we may have just not been looking in the right places. In general, you could split the cats into three groups:
The street cats: Slightly streetwise, seemed to be used to humans, found on the streets, they were generally pretty brave.
This street cat was staring down a car:
These kittens were fearless as they played in the streets. Their mom was less so, but she carefully watched them:
They have even taken to riding motorcycles:
The Canal cats: These cats were all found in the canal and seemed less comfortable with humans, but they seemed like a huge family. There were there both days we walked by.
A group of kittens huddled together for warmth:
A kitten that reminded me of sprinkles, only not as awesome or energetic:
Lots more cats under the bridge:
Some cats would even jump to rocks in the middle of the stream/canal and clean themselves.
They were also avid climbers and were able to take advantage of the canal wall.
The final group of cats was the palace cats, which seemed undisturbed by anything, almost with a sense of royalty ingrained.
Here they are sleeping in the shade:
This kitten looks regal/evil, like we shouldn't be taking it's picture.
In short, Bob Barker, Spain needs you to help control the stray cat population. I am sure there is an opening... and since you aren't doing the price is right anymore, you could start the Spanish one, El Precio Correcto. (I am sure that looks like I made it up, I swear that is the actual translation).
This post is dedicated to Sprinkles, who I hope is still being good. I have gotten reports that she is growing lazy!