Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Cats of Cyprus

One of the first things that you notice when you arrive in Cyprus is the abundance of cats. They are *everywhere*. The myth says that Cleopatra of Egypt introduced cats in Cyprus to clear out the snakes so that people could live here, but a little bit of internet research shows that the Cypriots has had cats long before the Egyptians brought them here. Apparently, the oldest known domesticated cat was found here, dating 7500 BC.

Anyway, when we arrived at the house we're staying in, we found many cats. Most of them are strays. One belonged to Alexia's cousin; the oldest one which was 9. The others were about 1-2 years. Alexia's Aunt and cousins would feed the strays leftovers. A problem with the neighborhood is that people like to joy ride in their cars so the cats tend to get run over which is very sad. Other problems are presented with this as well as the neighborhood children cannot play in the street at all either. You'll also find them at every single restaurant looking for handouts.

A couple of days ago, Alexia's cousin Maria brought home this tiny little kitten that must have been 4 weeks old. She found it (not sure of the gender yet) sitting in the middle of the road by their house without its mother looking very pitiful and sad so she brought him home. He was so incredibly skinny and they were trying to feed him cold milk from a small coffee cup but he wasn't eating anything. We took the milk and warmed it a bit and put it on a saucer and he made a go at it. Then they started feeding him halloumi (a common Cypriot goat's milk cheese) and he would eat that but it wasn't very good for him. We decided that it was time to take matters into our own hands and just went to the store and bought some kitten food which he practically inhaled. He's now doing much better and will be going up into the mountains this weekend to live with Joanna's godfather.

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