Look! They Grow Kitties In The Botanical Garden

Posted on 2/18/2012 45 comments

Just use your zoom and don't bother me further!

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 Valencia apparently 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?

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45 comments

  1. What a special place for these cute little fellows. They are well trained too in welcoming visitors.

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  2. You know what's strange about these cats too? Every time I visit, there's always one cat that let's me indulge on my petting urges (but never more than one). It's like they delegate one ambassador per visit. LOL

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  3. The first image, very well groomed!

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  4. Yes, even when they live in the middle of nature cats still don't give up on their cleaning habits :)

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  5. Thanks for you beautiful pics. Our cats are very good models ;)

    But now 53

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  6. How wonderful that they are so friendly - love this!

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  7. I can't claim to be a crazy cat lady, but I really did enjoy your post. Sweet pics and story.

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  8. @Ester
    This is great news! My number seems to be outdated as I checked with the guy at the ticket office a few months back. I hope the ones that are not in the garden anymore all moved to loving, warm houses.

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  9. @Andrea
    Cats can be the friendliest little creatures when they have something to gain from it ;)

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  10. @Cathy,
    That means a lot, especially coming from somebody who claims not to be a crazy cat lady. Thanks! :)

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  11. Laura,maybe has been a confusion, because many years ago the're around 50/60.
    Nice pictures!!!!!

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  12. Hello friend. I have to say a HUGE THANKYOU for the beautiful photos and coments about our cats from the Botanical Gardens Valencia. You seem to be a born traveller and also fond of cats. They are really sweet and we really love them a lot, everyone with its different temperament. Hope you are not angry if I tell you that there are a couple of points that are not exactly right. There are not 80 cats there, but 53 and we do not grow cats, we just take care of them. Most of the females have been neutered and the ones who are still on the waiting list are getting the antibaby pill. I send you the name of our Facewbook site, just in case you´d like to know the names of the cats or to follow us there: Gatos del Jardín Botánico de la Universidad de Valencia
    I´ll be glad to have you among our friends.
    Mercedes Andani (coord. of the group of volunteers)

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  13. Thank you Mercedes!
    I've added the link back to your FB page to the article (in case other people would like to see more photos of the cats). I've been following your FB page with my personal account for months now. You guys do a great job!

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  14. Answers: Yes! Yes! Those are some gorgeous cats.

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  15. @Donna,
    They are purrfect and they add color to the place ;)

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  16. Don Juan of the Cabbage Field has got to be my favorite. I love how cats are just so laid back. They make places like this garden even more relaxing and beautiful. Thank you for posting!

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  17. Don Juan of the Cabbage Field is Sinuhé. A very handsome cat. :-)

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  18. Wow, Ester, you really know your cats! :) Who is responsible for naming the cats? Is it a community thing?

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  19. Yes, I know very well all the cats, and we, the group of volunteers, name them.

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  20. What is it about botanical gardens and cats? The live in the botanical gardens in Buenos Aires too!

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  21. Lol :) I don't know Stephanie, maybe it's because gardens are places where people are usually relaxed, therefore the cats can easily catch their attention, be petted and fed. It must be part of the cat conspiracy to take over the world ;)

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  22. Raising a paw here. Had people laughing at all the cats I photographed in Egypt.

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  23. That's cute, Erica! The Egyptian cats never gave up on their fame. The Greek ones are pretty famous too. I'm looking forward to visiting both countries, and as strange as it might seem, one of the reasons is the cats ;)

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  24. I am cracking up at this post. YES! Crazy cat lady here too! Well, and dog lady, horses, turtles, bunnies...I usually end up with a few pics of animals from my jaunts. However, when we went to Turkey I ended up with maybe more cat and dog pics than of sites. There were so many and they all were so nice about obliging me and sitting still for photos. Now I want to go to Valencia and see all these that "grow" in the botanical gardens!

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  25. OK, Turkey's on my list too then! Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Spain... it looks like cats love the Mediterranean climate :)

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  26. I love that the Botanical Gardens are also a cat sanctuary - I'm one of those crazy cat ladies too and have 2 adopted cats from an Animal Shelter.

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  27. That's so sweet, Laurel! When I was little I rescued 2 stray kittens and they were the most adorable and grateful little creatures. Yes, cats seem to stick around gardens, but these ones from Valencia are particularly friendly. The Botanical Garden from Madrid has it's share of cats too, but they don't seem to be so fond of humans.

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  28. *Raises paw*
    Love this - and love cats! This reminds me of Torre Argentina, another cat sanctuary in the middle of busy Rome.

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  29. I missed Torre Argentina. One more reason to return to Rome :)

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  30. Precious. What a wonderful sanctuary for the cats. We love cats too so this post has a very big thumbs up from both of us:)

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  31. @Jade,
    They are very cute indeed and truth being told, a stroll through these gardens wouldn't be the same without the cats.

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  32. @Deb,
    It's wonderful to know there are so many cat lovers out there and thank you for the huge thumbs up ;)

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  33. These cat pics could almost make me a cat person. I love the City Kitty Love pic.

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  34. Christopher Allen,
    WOW, that means a lot to me! :)

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  35. I love Spain and Valencia but I did not make it here, which is okay because cats start to scare me when they are in groups.

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    1. These ones are well behaved cats, and each of them mind their own business. They are really cute, nothing scary about them.

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  36. I'm a crazy cat man, and am raising my paw...I'm having such great luck today, this is the second travel site featuring cats that I have seen in the last hour!

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    1. Lol :) That's lucky indeed ;) I know I'm always happy to stumble upon cat posts!

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  37. I love this post and all the pictures as I'm crazy about cat too.
    I really wish I could visit this place one day. I would spend whole day with those gorgeous cats.
    Thanks for sharing this Laura. I'm following your blog :)

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    1. Thanks DebbZ, the cats at the Botanical Garden in Valencia are gorgeous indeed. And lazy! But that's another story (no, really, I wrote another post about that!) ;)

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  38. Amazing post - just the right mix of puntastic and plain ole adorable! Travels of Adam posted about a cat sanctuary among ancient ruins in Rome, think you'd like that too, being the Crazy Cat Lady that you are!

    You should come here to Korea - we have cafes where you can have a coffee and snuggle with lots of different kitties!

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    1. Thanks, Tom! I've been to a cat cafe in Japan, great stuff! Oh, and the cat sanctuary from Rome seems to be endangered nowadays :( Hope the mean people won't have their way and cats will prevail :D

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