A wat is a Buddhist temple. You may have heard of the famous Cambodian Angkor Wat. Wat Pho is known in Bangkok for housing the reclining Buddha–one of the largest Buddhas in the world. A tranquil temple seemed like a reasonable place to find a lot of tranquil cats.
Tag Archives: Stray Animals
Photo Credit: Andshewas
In my Top Ten Things post, I mentioned that it’s worth your time to visit the cats in Parque Carlos Thays in Palermo.
It’s surprising how tame the cats are. They are used to cat lovers who arrive daily to set out little dishes of food at set locations. They are also used to Argentines willing to sit on a park bench and pet them. Some of them used to be in loving homes, so it’s natural that they enjoy human company.
Despite my best intentions, I could not walk past the park on Friday night without petting one. Despite the large sign that says, “Do not pet the feral cats.” I admit to having a weakness–combined with bad cat allergies.
There is much Italian influence in the Buenos Aires. I’ve noticed that many portenos, or native Argentinans, have an Italian appearance. Also, when I hear the older men talk, I’m reminded of the cadence of the Sicilians in the Godfather. The wine is superb here. Unfortunately for us, they make really bad pizza.
As I walked through Carlos Thays Park in Palermo yesterday, the inevitable happened. After passing ten different cats in styles of repose on the lawn, he found me. A kitten. He was talking to a couple of young girls when I walked past. Once the girls decided to continue walking, what did I see stumbling after my feet? A little ball of dusty black fur and sky blue eyes.
I bent down as he pawed at my slippers. He mewed and cried at me. Narcissistically, I came to the conclusion that he wanted to be picked up and cuddled. After some dainty cooing and coddling, I came to the depressing realization that he was just plain hungry and saw me as as a reliant source of food. I had no choice but to put him down and purposefully stride away, hearing him mew in the distance.
As I left the park, I noticed caretakers setting out dishes of food and water near the entrance. I didn’t feel quite so bad. I’ll just keep repeating this mantra.
It’s been pouring today as it has on and off for the past three days. I actually enjoy the cool humidity it brings, but today E. and I got caught in the downpour while walking back from the Recoleta neighborhood. We walked through flash flood waters in what became cobblestone streams rather than streets. Recoleta is a distinguished upper-class enclave with a lot of European style houses. The cemetery where Evita Peron is entombed is also here. Our neighborhood, Palermo, is next to Recoleta.
We met some American friends-of-friends who live in the neighborhood and had lunch, stopping at the nearby mausoleum afterwards. One of the most fabulous attributes of Buenos Aires that I haven’t mentioned is the number of cats and dogs in the city. Some of you may be familiar with my affection for animals and young aspirations of veterinary work. The dogs are primarily the happy side to this story–they usually have loving homes. I see more dogs than children on the street. Our American friend confessed to seeing a dog walker holding the leashes of ten dogs with a beagle bundled in his arms like an infant.
Beagles seem to be the Buenos Aires mascot, followed closely to golden retrievers and miniature schnauzers.
The cats’ fates are a little more dismal. They proliferate in the cemeteries and city parks. I have not found literature on cats being spayed or neutered, which is regretful. The feral cats are, however, doted upon by locals who leave leftovers and cat tidbits throughout the parks. I had an entire audience of cats in Carlos Thays Park, but I declined petting due to their questionable (infested?) fur.