There’s nothing like a cat to make me fall in love with a place.
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.
Cats can be valued employees
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.
Here’s a quick tour around the world with some of my feline buddies.
The feature pic at the top of this post 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.
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.
My 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 Unlocked Box ‘Cats Abroad’ calendar 2021
Shameless plug time. At Unlocked Box we are preparing our Cats Abroad wall calendar for 2021, which will include gorgeous pictures of cats in 14 different countries. Some photos are our own, and some are by other photographers. We’re seeking feedback on what should go on the front cover, with 4 different options. There’s also a chance to win a copy if you join our mailing list! For more details, see our store page about the calendar or check out our social media channels.
Due to the prohibitive costs of international shipping, we plan to offer the calendar to US customers only at this stage (shout if you disagree!) but the winner can be from anywhere. Here’s a selection of photos to give you a sneak preview.
For you dog lovers out there, I’m very open to the idea of producing a Dogs Abroad version of the calendar. If you like this idea do let me know. Any other feedback welcome.
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