One of my favorite places in Valencia is the Botanical Garden. And one of the best things about the Botanical Garden are... the kitty cats! The place offers sanctuary to about 80 53 cats that come in all colors, sizes and breeds.
King of the bench
So yesterday, as the crazy cat lady that I am, I went for a photo shooting session, hoping to get my kitty fix. As I was setting the camera, I sat down on the first bench just by the entrance, but before I knew it, I had a cat in my lap! She immediately found her comfy spot, got her pink nose under my coat and there I was, unable to make any move, or Grace (I found out her name later from the Botanical Garden's FB page where they have photos with the cats) would meow annoyed at me. I guess I was nothing but a warm pillow to her, and pillows are not supposed to move, you know? I never felt so good about being used in my entire life!
After a few minutes, another cat showed up and I became disputed territory. The negotiations in meow didn't go very well, and after hissing at each other and exchanging harsh looks, Grace jumped off my lap and I thought this would be the right moment to get up and start taking some photos.
Below you can see the victorious intruder clearly unhappy about the end of the story. I don't think he took into consideration that I might get up and leave. After all, I was supposed to be just a warm pillow for his furry paws.
Clearly unhappy when things didn't go as planned
As I walked through the garden, a few other cats rubbed their furry coats against my legs, and I felt so welcomed. Then I met this cute black and white little fellow. I don't know what he saw in me, but as soon as he laid his beautiful green eyes on me, he started running towards me like crazy. It's amazing how much happiness these little creatures can spread.
I think he mistook my for food or I can't explain the looks in his eyes
I like to believe these cats are happy, enjoying their freedom in the middle of nature, playing with the leaves and each other and climbing the trees. They get plenty of cat food and they are well taken care of, as volunteer crazy cat ladies, of whom Valenciaapparently has no shortage, come and visit them weekly. Plus, they kind of have VIP status in the garden, and if you ever decide to buy some postcards from here, you won't find any with the plants nor the trees, but with the kittens!
On the way to the food trays
Cat lovers throughout the city donate money, for the Botanical Garden to be able to buy plenty of food for the kitties. And the injured one are taken to the vet by the crazy cat ladies, and some of them never return. Because the crazy cat ladies fall in love with the kitty cats and take them home! There is actually a big sign at the entrance of the garden encouraging you to adopt a cat, so these ladies are doing nothing illegal.
City kitty love
Don't be fooled by this sweet couple. Though the two cute kitties seem to love each other, or at least to work together in order to achieve higher body temperatures, the sad truth is that a lot of hissing is going on between the cats here. Some of them are new and need to win their rights, others need to protect their territory, and the disputes sometimes end up in epic battles. It's not uncommon to spot wounded kitties and some of them even have an amputated tail or leg or are missing an ear. Some of them suffered an accident before they wore brought to the Botanical Garden by a good human soul.
This one wouldn't even look at me, but she had a beautiful back, nevertheless. She was embodying 'The Thinker'. I wonder what cats think about. They seem the purrfect zen masters.
Turn your back to the past and look the future in the eye!
This other one was such a Don Juan, gallantly walking through the cabbage fields and all, while smelling each leave he passed by... you know, cat stuff!
Don Juan of the Cabbage Fields...
... though he might not be the only one...
Oh, yeah, I loved this one, king of the cats he was from the top of his bench. He wouldn't have moved from his spot for anything in the world. Not until he saw a birdy, anyways...
Spanish cats love benches
What strikes me most about the behavior of these cats are their eating habits. They have quite a few trays of cat food and water at the back of the garden, but they always cue. I have never ever seen two cats eating at the same time. There might be as many as three cats waiting in line, but never invade each other's territory.
And here comes my princess again! I have no idea how she managed to find me half way across the garden and three quarters of an hour later, just as I sat on a bench again. She had an implacable timing and she never hesitated. She acquired her target aka me, got out of the bushes and jumped her furry butt in my lap again. She was soft, had the thickest fur imaginable and lots of body fat. How could she be so cold? Oh well, let's just say she loved ME, but from her sharp looks whenever I tried to stretch my legs, I'm just kidding myself. Oh, and did I mention I had cat hair in my camera when I got back home?
Look at those crossed eyes Grace made after she jumped off my lap the second time,
as I desperately needed to stretch my legs
Bird watching is a great pastime when you are a cat...
If you are a crazy cat lady too, raise your paw!
Do you like taking photos of stray pets when you travel?