There’s nothing like a cat to make me fall in love with a place.
So we just had to introduce a Coconut Lands cat calendar!
I’ve met some lovely people and pets on my travels, but it’s the cats that evoke the strongest emotional trigger in my heart. It’s always been the same, ever since childhood when we had a cat at home. I adore their personality, their independence, their cute traits and their unbridled enjoyment of just chilling out. It doesn’t matter whether they’re street cats or home cats.
I know that some people feel the same about dogs, and I get that. But dogs are different. Whoever it was that said dogs have masters, whereas cats have staff, hit the nail on the head! I’m very happy to be a staff member, whether to cats abroad or at home. So I always look out for cats when I’m wandering around a new place. They give me an instant sense of connection. I also feel they enhance the scene, somehow bringing out the very essence of the environment that they’re in.
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These days it’s increasingly common for resident cats to be brought into workplaces to help keep down the numbers of mice and other vermin. We had a Chief Mouser at my last place of work, a central government department in Whitehall, London.
The most famous of these is, of course, Larry, who is Chief Mouser at 10 Downing Street and often appears on camera and in the press. I remember another such cat who even had an official staff pass attached to his collar, with his photo, name and job title on it! Quite right too.
Many other workplaces, from embassies to railway stations to whisky distilleries, have cats among their employees. Some of them, like Larry, have their own social media channels.
When you’re on holiday, have you noticed that hotels often have a cat roaming around the grounds? They help to keep unwelcome creatures away, but they also charm the guests! And they’re often family pets, belonging to the hotel owners. Here are some cats who did a great job of representing their businesses when I visited.
The photo below shows the 3 cuties that used to wander around the grounds of the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Malta*, where my late father and I stayed during our travels together. They were very friendly and enjoyed being fussed over by guests. (Spoiler alert: they’re featuring as January 2024).
I’ve met lots of lovely cats around New Zealand. Here are two from the South Island – in Nelson and Golden Bay respectively. The first was the resident cat at Swansdown Cottage near Blenheim, where we stayed during a visit to the Marlborough Wine Festival. We had a great time at the festival and really enjoyed the company of this fluffy black cat – sadly I didn’t get to know its name.
The second cat was a lovely tabby, resident at the fabulous Adrift in Golden Bay* resort near Takaka – one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I’ve ever stayed at. If you’d enjoy getting away from it all and staying at a simple but top quality bach, steps away from a deserted beach, this is the place for you.
We loved it so much that it made number 7 in my Top 18 unforgettable bucket list hotels for 2021. And their pet made it into our cat calendar, naturally.
My then flatmate Susanna and I spotted this tabby taking a siesta (and ruining the tidy display!) in an optician’s shop window during a stroll around the Bairro Alto in Lisbon one day. It was a hot afternoon and after making the steep climb up to the Bairro, we rather felt like doing the same thing ourselves! So we had a good chuckle.
You can read more about my Lisbon trip in my post on language holidays.
During another of my language holidays, this time in Granada, we met a friendly smoky grey cat while visiting the former family home of Spanish poet García Lorca at the Huerta de San Vicente. Here he is, pictured in the arms of my classmate Rachelle.
The COCONUT LANDS cat calendar 2023
Shameless plug time. Our Cats Abroad calendars for 2023 are now available! Some photos are our own, and some are by other photographers. We tried to select pictures not only for the adorable cats in them, but also for the glimpse of life in that particular country.
For 2023 we’ve partnered with our friends at Aroha Nui Gifts, who are also New Zealand-based but who, like us, mainly serve the US market. We’ve developed the product together and Aroha Nui are hosting it on their store. Given the size of the calendars, we’re only shipping them to US customers at present, as the high costs would make the price unviable for sending overseas.
Our calendars are large, at 9.5 x 17.5″ size and is printed on high quality paper. They make the perfect gift for a cat-loving traveller, and you can save 20% on the price by joining our mailing list! For more details, see our store pages about the calendars or check out our social media channels.
Meanwhile, here’s a selection of photos to give you an idea of what’s inside, featuring cats in China, Italy and Morocco respectively.
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