August 2018 - Traveling Cats - Travel Pictures of Cats

Cats from Fira {Santorini}

santorini best cliff overlooks

A little while back, my wife and I decided to go on a relatively short-notice trip to Santorini in the offseason. We were there in November, and many shops were closed, and there were very few tourists which may have contributed to this experience.

We decided to stay in the heart of Santorini, in Fira, on the cliffside. I knew that Fira was known for the amazing views over the volcanic bowl that was formed some estimated 3000 years ago. I also knew that it boasted some of the coolest cliffside town buildings in the world. What I did not know about Santorini or Greece in general, was that it had such a large population of “wild” outdoor cats.  I won’t call them feral or stray as we do in the United States. This is for a few reasons:

Despite the fact most had no specific owner, they are clearly in good health.
Many of them are very friendly and love being petted.
While they live outside, they mostly eat food and water supplied by humans.
The population of Greece loves and embraces their outdoor cat companions.

We arrived in the dark and went straight to our hotel, so we didn’t run into any cats the first evening. But the second morning, we took our first walk and ran into our first cat. Not to mention his buddy watching him partake in a delicious breakfast of dry cat food.

hungry cat eating

At first, I thought it was just a one-off. Perhaps an outdoor cat that got to wander. Little did I know that he was the first of many a cat sighting we were about to experience. As we continued on, we ran into cats large and small. We encountered this little guy a few steps down the road.

santorini kitten

Then even more of his pals on the way back from our first trip into town. There were feline friends all over the place. And this was just on our first trip out.

santorini cats

The next morning, we decided to hike from the town of Fira to the northern side of the island to watch the sunset in Oia. Not only was the sunset beautiful, but along the way, we managed to find a boatload of breathtaking views.  And with cats enjoying them to boot. These felines weren’t just looking out the window from their beds.

Despite the fact it was offseason, it happened to be a blazing hot day. The sun was out without a cloud in the sky. We stepped off the overlook path for a few moments to find a bottle of water and ran into this friendly little lady who wanted ear scratches forever; she did not want us to leave to say the least.

cat ear scratches

But we had a long hike ahead of us if we wanted to make it all the way to Oia before the sunset. So, on we traveled.  That is until we found this fine fellow looking like he might charge us a toll for taking in the view he had.

santorini best views

And just below him on the cliffs, he had a friend hiding in the bushes. This little calico lady (I’m guessing it is a lady based on statistic) was too shy to come out and see us, but she was gorgeous even from afar.

cats hiding in bushes

As we reached our destination of Oia, we quickly discovered that this little town was equally as interested in providing a friendly and healthy environment for their feline friends! We were immediately greeted by a Rent a Cat sign. And while I did actually inquire about whether or not you could rent a cat, I was told the sign was merely a joke given the number of cats that frequented the area. Quite a bummer if I do say so myself. I would have gone for an extra fluffy version with extra loud purring given the opportunity.

rent-a-cat

That being said, the sign was outside one of the most famous bookstores on the island. This fine looking lady was keeping an eye out for any potential thieves or intruders, but she seemed to have a pretty light day given the offseason traffic was at an all-time low.

santorini bookstore cat

Before we closed up shop for the evening and headed back to Fira, we decided we’d stop and get some lunch at a local restaurant. Despite being on, or maybe because we were on a rooftop, there were a healthy number of cats wandering the restaurant. It was obvious one was a frequent “patron,” you could say. He knew to pounce on the plates for food before the cleaning staff could make it to the table. He also knew to meow under the table where people had french fries, I’m thinking he just has good taste myself!

cats santorini

The hike we did took up about four hours for just one direction and after lunch, we wanted to stick around for dinner to watch the sun set into the horizon. We found a beautiful west-facing bar overlooking the water and took it easy and had a few drinks.  After watching the sunset, we decided to take a taxi back to Fira instead of attempting a hike in the dark in a place we weren’t familiar with.

The rest of our time on the island was filled with numerous cat encounters of all kinds. Young, old, fat, skinny, big, little. You name it, we saw it.  This fine feline graced the presence of a wall outside the hotel we were staying at and meowed a good morning to us.

good morning cat

But the last cat we saw as we went to get into our taxi and head to the airport was this fine black feline. Not only did this cat know the view was amazing, he also seemed to know his contrast with the largely white and colorful buildings around him made for a great picture.  He stayed still and let me shoot photo after photo just drinking it in.

santorini black cat

Santorini itself was beautiful, and I would love to go back during a busier season when more of the shops are open and the island is busier, but I think we got a rare treat going in the offseason. I’m not certain if we would have seen nearly as many cats, or if they would have been as out and about as they were given the limited number of people around.

If you’re looking to plan a vacation that's loaded with cats and has a scenic outdoorsy landscape, then I would highly recommend a visit to Santorini.  Even you don’t happen to experience the cats due to the busy season, you’ll have an amazing time with everything else available on the island.

About the Author 

Craig is the founder and author of the cat blog StuffCatsWant.com. StuffCatsWant is dedicated to providing high-quality product reviews about all sorts of cat products and providing advice on general cat care. Craig has owned numerous cats, fostered even more cats and is a long time volunteer at PAWS Chicago.

santorini cats

Cats from Sóller {Mallorca}

carrer de santa apollonia

There are two types of cats that live in Port de Sóller on the Balearic island of Mallorca.

The first type is feral and lives near the restaurants where they get enough food from tourists to go about their day. These cats are often very timid.

The second type consists of house cats that couldn't care less about the proximity of tourists.

The cats in the pictures below were napping in the Carrer de Santa Apollonia, a small and picturesque alley right behind the Port de Sóller.

soller cats
carrer de santa apollonia soller
black cat napping
black cat paw
cats port de soller
soller carrer de santa apollonia

P.S. If you can't find these cats, they are probably hanging out on the terrace of the restaurant So Caprichos.

christmas presents for cat lovers

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