When you walk along the beach of Conil de la Frontera, you'll find things you would not expect. One of these things is Cat Village or City of Cats: a refuge for strays. It's a secret place, close to the tourist bustle yet hidden. Every year, thousands of tourists walk by, but hardly anyone ever notices. In fact, if you want to see the cats, you have to go inside the bamboo forest.
“At the start of the beach promenade, I saw an Englishwoman named Julie regularly disappearing behind the bamboo, but I never knew where she was going. Now I know that she went to the cats' little hiding place,” says Claudia Mannes from the travel blog Kleinplanet 311. “Together with a group of volunteers, she built several miniature houses made out of cardboard boxes and rendered watertight with plastic sheeting. All have warm blankets inside. With the help of a local veterinary, the cats are spayed/neutered and sick ones are being treated.”
“Unfortunately, the locals aren't very committed. There are many street cats in Conil and many people just drop their excess kittens here,” says Julie. “Last year, forty felines were brought to the City of Cats and the year before sixty. While all these beach cats are being cared for, the aim is to find a home for these sweethearts. Anyone interested in adopting, can contact Julie Lloyd Wyatt via Beach Cats Conil de la Frontera.
Cat pictures by Claudia Mannes