There Are A Lot Of Cats In Malta

One of the reasons Rilla and I took to Malta quite quickly upon arrival is that it has a huge stray cat population. And, importantly, people treat the strays with a lot of care and love, so the cats aren’t as malnourished, maltreated, and generally “mal” as stray cats can be elsewhere. People leave cat food out everywhere for them, there are little “cat villages” with shelters and regular feeding times for the strays to hang out in, and it’s just great. That is what I wanted to say. Here are some cats…

There is the cat that lives around the corner from us on Triq San Gwann Bosco, who we are very attached to, and look for basically every day on our way to the grocer, the supermarket, or the university. She is quite little, but in pretty good health. She likes to sleep on car bonnets (I assume because they’re warm) or under cars or on a scooter that’s parked under shelter. She doesn’t like anyone touch her or reaching toward her and she has made me bleed.

There is the cat that lives in one of the local grocery stores and can usually be found sleeping on top of a stack of cleaning clothes (for sale), holding down the fort. For the longest time I was sure she was a female cat, but then when I asked the owner of the store for her name he said… “Mr. Joe.” So I guess it’s still up in the air. Mr. Joe is very big and solid and, even when fast asleep, will accept a chin scratch.

There is the cat that lives up the road that we call Round Eye because it has big, round, startled eyes. We’ve only seen it a couple of times, but it has taken its place in our mythology of the stray cats.

There is the very young mother cat with her growing kitten that live on the university campus and who are absurdly friendly and lovely to pat. When they’re together and you’re patting them they kind of sinew around each other back and forth, happy to be together and to be getting attention.

There is a tiny orange kitten that I saw stalking around one of the university driveways and that I worry about, but which also looked kind of rough and tumble and like it could take care of itself better than I can.

There are many more cats. Those are only a small, important few.

2 December 2013
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