The Cats of Miraflores
The drawing I started before I went overseas is taking a long time. Perhaps I will finish it next week. In the meantime I would like to show you a society of cats I met in Parque Kennedy. The location is a city park in Miraflores, an affluent district of Lima, Peru.
Censor’s warning: Do not read on if you can’t stand cats. It will only upset you!
I spent a couple of hours observing and photographing the Miraflores cats. Of course I could not resist stroking one or two and neither could other people. (Yes, I washed my hands afterwards.)
These cats are not exactly strays. Apparently two were put in the park by local authorities in the late 1990s to deal with a rat problem. Now there are about 120 cats. They are regularly fed and supplied with fresh water. I read that they are checked out by vets as well. Certainly they looked healthy and as well padded as your own domestic moggy. They liked affection and happily visited people who lingered in the park. There must be some sort of population control as I didn’t see any sick looking cats nor did I see kittens.
It is a rather perfect (purrfect) environment. The cats have trees to climb and lawns to bound across or sleep on. Cats fully utilize the flowerbeds and grass – while people (other than the gardeners) must stick to the paths. It never rains because Lima is situated in a desert and even in winter the temperature remains mild. As well as being fed pet-food, cats receive more than their fair share of people’s lunches and snacks. An American father with his two daughters bought Kentucky Fried Chicken to share with the cats. He happily reminisced to me about his cats back home while his daughters fussed over the felines.
A priest from the local cathedral wanted to get rid of the cats. Maybe he petitioned for their removal. In any case, his suggestion provoked a public outcry. The people insisted the cats of Miraflores must stay.
Perhaps there are big fights at night. I’m sure they have their secrets. But during the day I didn’t see a single sign of aggression amongst the cats. It looked like a civilized democratic group.
The bird population looked robust. I didn’t see any rats or mice though.
While I didn’t know what I would come across in Lima, I never expected to find a cat society. I’m sure I will draw a Miraflores cat or two some time in the near future.
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