Friday, November 14, 2008
Cats in Europe
I have often thought that in my next life it would be nice to be a cat. Specifically my mom's cat. That way I could laze around all day sitting on stylish leather chairs while being fed salami ends and fried up giblets extracted from the envelops inside whole supermarket chickens.
It turns out the Europeans take pretty good care of the cats too. While Parisians are notorious dog lovers they also hold a great fondness for cats. Just this afternoon I was sitting in a park listening to This American Life and a perfectly normal looking lady sits down next to me with a very chic siamese cat on a thin blue leash. The cat comes over to me and the lady says, "Don't worry, she wont bite. When I see the sun shining like this I just cannot resist taking her out for a little fresh air." Italians would agree. Please note the nice old man parked on a bench in Levanto, Italy with his cat in a bird cage enjoying the afternoon sun and the view of the port.
The Italians, however, take thislove affair with cats to the next level. They don't just love their own cats, they love all cats and for anyone who has spent some time in Italy you know there is a lot of cats to love. Rome is crawling with them. There is a ruin in the middle of the city called Largo Argentina that has been officially transformed in to a sanctuary for disabled felines. While hiking between the Cinque Terre villages this summer I ran across a cat encampment. Complete with a donation box, free food and tents. Yes, Italian cats are familiar with the Dolce Vita.