Canary Island Cats
One thing that quickly becomes apparent when you visit The Canary Islands is that there are a lot of stray cats. We usually try not to get involved with such cats, but we were given very little choice. On our first visit we were taken off guard by a large group of kittens gathering outside one of the windows. We opened the shutters to let the sunlight in and they were just sat there, staring up at us meowing. Then a brave ginger one made a leap and the rest followed. Before we knew it we had dozens of cats running around the bungalow and had to guide them back out. I think the previous resident had been feeding them or something because they seemed to hang around where we were staying. I couldn’t sit on the patio without having them attempt to jump up onto my knee. They were very entertaining however; On this one night they were playing on this lilo, jumping onto it from a greater height and bouncing off. Although the lilo looked deflated the next day so I wouldn’t recommend leaving them out.
For animal lovers it can be upsetting to see a lot of strays around and I’ve heard of a few accounts of ones that didn’t look healthy, but luckily I haven’t experienced that myself and hopefully it’s an issue that’s improving. They have a few cat charities on the islands – such as 9 Lives Lanzarote – that attempt to control the population by neutering them – these are the ones that have clipped ears. Some also give them health checks so that illnesses don’t get spread around the population, and there are cat cafes to discourage people from feeding them; Otherwise you end up with incidents like the kitten one we had, but not everybody feels as comfortable dealing with cats as us. There are a couple of cafes around the complex where we like to stay and all of the cats we’ve seen seem to be fairly healthy and friendly.
Somehow the cats have become a part of my holiday experience to these islands. I enjoy watching and photographing them and it’s difficult not to form the odd attachment to one, particularly if they’re a regular visitor to where you’re staying – If I could give them a home and take them with me I probably would. As a crazy cat person myself, it’s bizarre how I haven’t yet made many contributions to the mass of online feline related content, so I figured it’d be cool to share some of my photos while also raising awareness of these Canary Island cats.
We always remember this cat as being the one that ruined the cookies. We were reading on the patio and so didn’t see her approach. She jumped right onto the table where our cookies were and stuck her head into the packet. She also had a tendency to stalk us through the complex at night.
This one literally stretched out to fill a sunbed. We’re the kind of silly people that will not risk upsetting a cat to move it, so we had no choice but to try and squeeze onto the one remaining sunbed. She would frequently attempt to sit on my knee too. My partner always jokes about how cats seem to make a beeline for me specifically as if I’m putting out some signal of gullibility – or maybe I just smell like catnip.
We’ve seen this cat the past couple of times we’ve been. Most of the cats are fairly slim – probably how a cat is suppose to look – but this one knows how to work the restaurant area. He’s a bit of a favourite and always gets a lot of fuss and attention from the staff as well as the people eating there. We took to referring to him as the podgy one. At one point I made the mistake of putting fish on my plate and it was like dealing with a real life version of Puss In Boots; His eyes were so wide I had to look away so as not to succumb to them.
This little black kitten however, not so well practised. They sat staring at us for the entire meal and I was eating a margherita pizza. It’s actually a little disconcerting trying to eat when you have a little face staring up at you the entire time.
A variety of cats seen while walking around.
- Catster – Lanzerote is an Island Paradise, But Not For its Feral Cats
- Catnip Camera – Feline & Other Photography