The Story Behind the Cats of the Alhambra
The Alhambra is full of history, but there is something else that attracts millions of tourist to this monument each year: the cats of the Alhambra.
The Alhambra is one of the most emblematic monuments in Spain. It’s centuries old, and the cradle of Arab culture. It’s full of history, due to the fact that the Moors, who fought against Christians as they tried to recover their territories, once hid there. However, besides that, there’s something else that the tourists who visit can’t help but notice too: the cats of the Alhambra.
As soon as you walk through the door, you’ll notice hundreds of cats roaming inside this Arab castle. But how do tourists and workers view these creatures?
The cats of the Alhambra, respected and cared for
You could say that pets may lack many things while living in a monument. That would be the case here, too, if the Alhambra were a normal monument. However, it’s not– it’s an open-air castle full of fountains, gardens, trees, and even small rivers. For cats, it’s a paradise!
For these cats, the Alhambra is their home. They roam freely without asking anyone for permission. Best of all, no one disturbs them. We interviewed an employee at the castle to ask why the cats live there, and what is done to protect and care for them. This is what he said:
“Believe it or not, these cats haven’t been here for that long. One day, a kitten just appeared, and no one knew where it had come from. Although the Alhambra is huge, we realized that different employees had seen her every day– she had begun to live here!
Later on, a cat appeared. Perhaps he was in love with the kitten– who knows? Before we knew it, we had a pregnant cat. Since that day, kittens have not stopped popping up everywhere. However, not all were born here, since some that showed up that were already adults.”
Caring for the cats
“At first, we had someone in charge of feeding them and giving them water. But later, we realized that most of the tourists loved them, and they were always feeding them. With that food, plus the water from the hundreds of fountains around, the cats have more than enough nourishment.
All the employees know about the cats. They’ve received orders to notify someone if they see a sick cat, so that he can get proper veterinary care, paid for by the company.
When there are kittens, we make sure they don’t lack shelter and a comfortable place to be with their mothers. We have very cold winters here, so we understand that they need help during that season. We’re more than happy to give it to them!
On the other hand, the entire enclosure is full of cameras that are always being monitored by security guards. If someone tries to bother one of the cats, or worse still, harm him, the guards will reprimand him. Depending on the severity, the perpetrator may be punished.”
The wonderful cats of the Alhambra
We were surprised and very pleased to know that there are people who care for animals in this way. They are an example of true humanity and kindness that we should all imitate.
The cats of the Alhambra have now become another tourist attraction. They are great at attracting the public’s attention! Without a doubt, if this beautiful monument was already worth seeing, today it’s even better– it’s a true cat haven. We love it!
If you are ever in Granada, Spain, be sure to visit this monument. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1984. At the same time, you can enjoy seeing some well-cared-for and well-loved cats.
Main image source: www.elbolardo.com