Cats Around the World: From Morocco to Bali
It’s no surprise, I LOVE CATS! Wherever I travel to I always seem to encounter cats. Whether its kittens in the Roman Forum, or the scattering of cats I stumbled across wandering the streets of Athens, wherever I go cats find me. I still remember a friend I was travelling with over a decade ago wondering, “why the heck are you taking photos of those cats when there’s so much history around.” But cats of the world make a place come to life. I have two sweet cats at home, but I recently visited a Cat Café in Toronto! And while I may be obsessed with cats, I’m not the only one! These lovely ladies love cats of the world too!
Cats Around the World
Meteora, Greece – from me!
In the heart of Greece, land of the Gods, there lies one of the most magnificent places in Europe. Created over 600 million years ago, these giant sandstone rock pillars rise up from the earth towards the heavens and are adorned with monasteries. This is Meteora. And this is where I stumbled upon THE most photogenic cat!
As a solo traveler I opted for a 2 day group tour, taking us from Athens to Delphi, and finally Meteora. On the day we visited the monasteries of Meteora our tour bus made its way up the winding streets through the incredible pillars of Meteora, making occasional stops along our way to take in the awe-inspiring views.
At one such stop I met one of Greece’s many adorable felines. Perched atop a stone wall along the cliff side of the road she sat poised, as though all these visitors were here for her, taking her photo. Some seemed put off by the cat’s intrusion into their Instagram worthy photos. I was struck by her contrasting elegant beauty against the hard rock. To me, she was a part of this wondrous place.
Related Post: European Cats – From Portugal to Greece
Chefchaouen, Morocco – Kirsty from Kathmandu and Beyond
In addition to the scent of fragrant spices wafting through the air and the sound of the call to prayer floating across the rooftops, one other constant we noticed when travelling through Morocco was the abundance of cats. They roam Morocco’s walled medina cities, market squares and mosques and, as in many Muslim countries, cats are far more prevalent than dogs.
It’s especially hard to miss the cats on the streets of Chefchaouen. Whilst it’s the blue houses that attract most visitors to this hilltop town – streets, walls and buildings are washed in fifty shades of blue – the ‘Blue City’ is gaining quite a reputation for its feline residents. Cats and kittens are everywhere; sunning themselves in a sheltered spot or munching on fish heads thrown out onto the blue pavement by the local residents.
We often find ourselves photographing cats on our travels, but in Chefchaouen they appeared all the more photogenic against a sea of blue and we spent more time that we probably should have done trying to coax them into posing for the camera!
Bali, Indonesia – Carole from Travels with Carole
This skinny orange cat, along with many others, wandered around the expansive Taman Ayun Temple complex in Mengwi village in Bali, Indonesia. Though I enjoyed seeing the cats there, I never got very close to them. They didn’t come begging, though they did look like they might be hungry. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this temple has vast pools that were once sailed on by royalty but which are now fenced off to visitors, but you can see expansive garden landscapes with lotus and fish ponds. According to ancient texts, the complex represents Mount Mahameru in the “churning of the sea of milk,” or the cosmic formation of the world. It is a don’t-miss.
Xi’an, China – Meghan from The Traveling Teacher
Xi’an is home to the famous terracotta warriors, but that is not the only reason you should know about Xi’an! Xi’an has an incredible history in China. It was actually the capital for a few dynasties, is along the Silk Road, and is home to a large Muslim Chinese population. One part of town though is known for more than its history! There is a large number of cats and you may have seen it in the news last year (2016) when they tried to get rid of the cats living in tourist attractions. There was a huge online campaign that actually saved the cats! In the Muslim Quarter you will find the Grand Mosque which dates back to 1000 years ago. While we were there, it had just rained and all the animals were coming back out after the storm. We saw many cats lounging around as we toured the mosque. I caught this picture as we were walking through on this rainy day. It was definitely unique to see cats lounging in a mosque in China!
Taipei, Taiwan – Alison from Up & AtEm Travel
I stumbled across this calico cutie as he took an afternoon snooze on a painted electrical box in the posh Xinyi District of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. A majority of the electrical boxes in central Taipei are painted with serene countryside scenery that seems to infuse peacefulness into the busy city, which is extremely well connected by an immaculately clean metro system. (The stations and metro cars stay extraordinarily tidy because food and drink are not allowed.) Although Taipei has all of the comfort and convenience of a metropolis, many locals still like to make trips outside of the city to hike and soak in the natural hot springs.
My local friend once lamented that while his nephew felt home in Taipei city, the boy did not embrace the spirit of his country. He confided in me, “If you do not know the water along the coasts, you do not know Taiwan. And if you do not know its many mountains, you also do not know Taiwan.”
Marrakech, Morroco – LC Haughey from Birdgehls
There were plenty of cats located around Marrakech, Morocco, but none of them managed to look quite this dignified. I met this particular kitty whilst wandering through the local souq (marketplace), one particularly sunny January afternoon.
Souqs are busy places – full of colour, sound, movement and life. Tourists and locals wander around, examining the various goods and sellers sing out, doing their best to hawk their wares. It had been a couple of years since I’d been in such a place and I must admit, I was feeling quite overwhelmed.
The cat was oblivious to the activity around him. He was reclining in the warmth of the winter sun and eyed me lazily, as I stopped to take his picture. He allowed me to stroke him a couple of times on the head, before clearly losing interest and I respectfully moved on, to continue with my exploration of this corner of Marrakech.
Lima, Peru – Vicky from Buddy The Traveling Monkey
During our time in Lima, Peru we stumbled upon Kennedy Park in the Miraflores district. This park is home to over 100 cats! It’s believed that the original cats of the park were left there by priests over 20 years ago in the hopes of controlling a plague, but no one knows for sure. Since then, the population has grown. The cats are well cared for, though. There is a volunteer group that feeds the cats daily and periodically provides basic veterinary services. They also set up booths on the weekend to help with adoptions.
We were told by a local that there are many people in the area that aren’t allowed to have pets due to apartment restrictions, so they really enjoy coming to the park and spending time with the cats. It was obvious that the felines were used to people and we saw many curled up with and being petted by visitors to the park. So if you’re in Lima and love cats, we really recommend stopping by Kennedy Park!
Jerusalem, Israel – Margherita from The Crowded Planet
There are so many reasons to love Jerusalem – and one of them is CATS! As a massive cat lover it really upsets me to see skinny, badly treated stray cats on my travels. Yes, I’m the kind of person that heads to the shops and comes back with lots of food for them! Well, in Jerusalem I didn’t need to worry, as all throughout the Old City and in the suburb of Ein Karem we met lots of cute cats that seemed to be in great conditions, well fed and with nice, shiny coats. They weren’t afraid of people, and were happy to get some pats and scratches, which led me to believe residents feed them and treat them well. This was the best picture I got – it was taken on the Via Dolorosa, right into the center of the Old City. I mean, can you believe this cat is a stray? Doesn’t it look gorgeous?
Petra, Jordan – Gabriela from Here and There
Jordan and Petra especially are full of cats, and they are all extremely cute and cuddly. The best place in Petra to spot the cats is in front of the Treasury. On my last day there, I woke up early in the morning just to see the Treasury cats before the crowds. And as soon as I approached the area, all the cats came running! They all wanted to cuddle and play, and they were just so cute that I was hoping to adopt them all. What’s also funny about the cats, is that they are all very soft and this fact makes them so irresistible that it’s impossible to stop petting them. I’m not lying when I say that I have more pictures of the cats than of the Treasury itself!
Where have you stumbled upon cats on your travels?
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