Traveling Cats - Travel Pictures of Cats

Cats from Mykonos Town {Mykonos}

mykonos shops

Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Much famed for its sandy beaches, hot summers, whitewashed buildings, and approximately 50,000 stray cats, this beautiful island is one of the gems of the Aegean Sea.


Mykonos

Most tourists only stay in Mykonos Town (also called Chora) when visiting the island, thus missing out on many other beautiful spots such as the gorgeous Monastary of Panagia Tourliani in the inland village of Ano Mera or the Armenistis Lighthouse. However, Mykonos Town truly deserves to be the island's hotspot.


Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town cat
mykonos alley cat

It's easy to lose oneself in the winding alleys filled with sleeping cats, local people chatting on their doorsteps, whitewashed houses, blue shutters, and colorful bougainvillea plants. The main tourist trail is also filled with picturesque shops and bars.


yin yang cats

mykonos blue shutters

white-washed houses

Mykonos plants

Many movies were filmed in Mykonos Town. It's the place where a couple of maniac killers leave a string of murders in their wake in Island of Death (1976), where Jason Bourne tracks down leading lady Marie in the end scenes of The Bourne Identity (2002), and where The Wog Boy inherits a beach in The Kings of Mykonos (2010). 


mykonos windmills cats

mykonos windmills

The old harbor of Mykonos is also a great area to walk around, especially at night when the many lights of the bars and restaurants illuminate the dark sky. From here, you can also catch the ferry to Delos island.


mykonos port cat

cat on car

Several of these cafés and restaurants even accept homeless cats inside, except when their customers don't welcome them.


maria's restaurant mykonos

traditional restaurant mykonos

angry cats
grumpy cats

The restaurant Kazarma has even given names to the regular felines.


mykonos cat

The handsome Turkish Van look-alike is called Freedom. He rarely seeks out vistors and doesn't even beg for food, but he loves to curl up inside where its cozy and warm.


freedom cat

cat freedom

There's also a chunky ginger that the employees of the restaurant call Garfield. He's out to prove that stray cats of Mykonos aren't exactly mal nourished.


Garfield
Garfield real cat

However, not all the stray cats of Mykonos Town are as lucky as Garfield.


mykonos sick cat

mykonos sick cats

While both locals and tourists will do their best to feed the strays, most of them are left to fend for themselves once the tourist season is over. In November and December, many hotels and restaurants close for the remaining of the winter. Cruise ships are no longer arriving in Mykonos Town. And since the cats of Mykonos outnumber the human inhabitants with more than 40,000 (!) there are hardly enough people left to help these poor animals.


poor cat

While there are now good organizations and volunteers in Mykonos that nourish and take care of Mykonos' ferals, their number and budget is not sufficient to provide medical treatment or to spay and neuter the animals.

lonely cat
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one-eyed cat
cat with one eye

Do you want to visit Myknos Town and meet the cats? 

The island of Mykonos has its own airport but is also easily reachable by ferry, departing from Athens.


art loving cat

stretching cat

I visited Mykonos in November and December, thus the empty streets. The only time I saw any tourists was when the last cruiseship of the year arrived, dropping off their passengers for a couple of hours. During tourist season, however, the streets of Mykonos Town can be crowded.


mykonos local cats

local cat mykonos

cats in mykonos

A minor point about visiting Mykonos during the winter months is the temperature. While the winters here are mild, they can also be chilly and wet. Most hotels, bars and restaurants will be closed, too. Yet the stray cats of Mykonos will gladly welcome each tourist that feeds them some kibble or leftovers during these colder months.


mykonos homeless cats

Mikonos cat

Mykonos stray cats

caesar's restaurant cat

Text and photos by Vanessa Morgan // Photos three and 18 by Eric Valette


mykonos cats book

Cat from Valletta {Malta}

The Maltese islands arouse thoughts of sun, sea, and beaches. Whilst enjoying the archipelago’s rich offerings in history, culture, and gastronomy, you cannot help but notice the feline members of the local population. 

You will find strays in most corners of the world. The only difference is in Malta and Gozo, the cats are not scraggy and musty. The opposite is true. They are well-fed and in peak condition, with glossy fur and bright eyes. This is thanks to a group of devoted carers who have taken upon themselves to be the guardians of the thousands of stray cats that inhabit the islands

The book Islands of Cats: The Humble Stray Cat Carers of the Maltese Islands by Alexander G. Johnson (author) and Gabriele Ruttloff-Bauer (photographer) is a collection of 232 photographs that capture the cat colonies and their carers in genuine, unfeigned situations. The book also features interesting facts about the localities and the work of the stray cat carers. 

Photo by Klaas Nijs

malta book


Cats from Venice {Italy}

Stray cat of Venice, Italy
Stray cat of Venice, Italy

As you stroll the back alleys of Venice, you wander through narrow passages, running endlessly like a labyrinth. The ground floors of the buildings often lack any signs of human habitation. The walls are decayed, the iron gratings over the windows loose and rusted. Even so, the brass bells by the doorways are wonderfully polished, and the upper floors are often festooned with clean laundry fluttering in the breeze, while lively music pours from windows.

These quiet neighborhoods are home to many cats. While conducting their lives behind the protective walls, Venetians still find time to care for the cats. My first friend in Venice, Luigina, had created a place known as "The Home for Stray Cats." In a small rented warehouse, she took in strays. She told me that she had spent ten years preparing meals and helping cats that had collapsed on the streets.

Stray cats of Venice, Italy
Windowsill cat of Venice, Italy

Normally, a place such as this might be viewed with distaste by its neighbors, but here, in contrast, it receives good-hearted support from many people. In our tour of her "home," Luigina happily introduced me to two toddling kittens, carefully watched by their mother, and said to me, "They are the first kittens born in my home." She was content with her cats, which were visited by countless neighbors dropping by to see the kittens playing in the mild spring sunshine.

Stray cats of Venice, Italy

Cats from Faliraki {Rhodes}


i love Faliraki

The seaside resort town Faliraki is a tourist hotspot on the east coast of the Greek island Rhodes. It's brimming with hotels, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, shops, and... cats. They serve as tableside companions, happy to dine on scraps, and as adorable photo accessories reclining on white stone walls.

faliraki beach
faliraki

Stray cats especially are a common feature on Rhodes, as on all the other Greek islands. That's because, unlike most of the western world, cats and dogs in Greece are rarely spayed and neutered and often run wild.
 
faliraki beach
cat on a hot tin roof

Many tourists offer food, water, and love to these cats. But once the tourist season is over, they are left to fend for themselves.

another cat

Luckily, there is a charity that takes care of the stray cats of Rhodes: Kalithea Cats (operating from the city of Kalithea). They mostly feed the cats that are brought to them from all over the island, but they also care for sick and abused animals and try to spay and neuter as many of them as possible. If you ever find a sick or injured animal on Rhodes, it's best to contact the organization or bring the animal directly to them.

do not disturb cat
seaside shop cat

The cats that are most at ease with humans go to Germany to be adopted. An organization called Flying Cats comes to Rhodes to collect animals twice a year. However, despite their efforts, the number of stray cats and dogs is still very high on the Greek islands.

faliraki cats

Photos by Eric Valette

cats of rhodes